Three Newark Public High School Students Honored with National Awards for Excellence

Fatimoh Lawal, Pedro Geraldes and Aminah Mack Recognized by Pathways to College

Pathways to College has named three Newark (New Jersey) comprehensive public high school students as winners of the after-school program’s annual national honors. The awards were announced to program participants (known as Scholars) during end-of-year ceremonies with prizes including a medal, book and cash.

The Ophelia J. Berry Excellence Award honored Fatimoh Lawal as winner, with honorable mention granted to Pedro Geraldes.

Aminah Mack was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Writing for her poem, “What the Eye Sees.”

“Fatimoh, Pedro and Aminah embody outstanding leadership that inspires Scholars and staff as well as their entire communities,” said Judith Berry Griffin, founder and president of Pathways to College. “Their achievements underscore the need to believe fervently in the potential of children of color and to ensure a safe place to be smart for students in communities often generationally neglected due to race and poverty.”

The Ophelia J. Berry Excellence Award recognizes the graduating Scholar who best demonstrates the following values:

  • Determination, tenacity and creative action in the face of obstacles
  • Empathy and active concern and caring for others
  • Commitment to excellence and willingness to work hard to meet and exceed high standards
  • Willingness to teach
  • Willingness to lead
  • Love of learning
  • Generous spirit

The President’s Award for Excellence in Writing recognizes the Scholar who best displays excellence in and strives to improve their writing craft, constantly expanding their vocabulary and using those words in writing and speaking, and actively supporting peers in their efforts to improve their writing and vocabulary skills.

Teachers from the Pathways to College School-Based Scholars Program and National Scholars Program nominate Scholars for awards based on their dedication and accomplishments. Submissions are reviewed by a national jury. The values supporting the awards are an ongoing part of the program’s curriculum.

Pathways to College helps Scholars develop the critical thinking skills and habits of mind that research indicates are necessary for academic and career success. Hallmarks of the proven, research-based after-school program include a focus on African American and other high school students of color; a caring, family environment; a 100% college acceptance rate for graduating Scholars; and program selection based on potential, not necessarily prior performance

Applications are now available for high school students of color in grades 9-11 to apply to Pathways to College.

Donations to put additional Scholars on the pathway to college are currently doubled through a matching program from the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.

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Contact: Alyssa Alston, Director of Communications | | 202-924-1691

Pathways to College is an after-school program providing information, guidance and support to help African American and other students of color become the best high school students, college applicants and college students they can be to prepare for lifelong success. Although we welcome all students of color, we focus on under-served African American high school students, whose potential has been marginalized for generations.