H.S. 520 Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies senior Stephanie Jaquez received the surprise of a lifetime when she was named a Posse Scholarship winner this winter.
Awarded both a four-year academic scholarship, as well as a comprehensive support system, Jaquez said it was her vested involvement with Rocking the Boat, an organization that uses traditional wooden boatbuilding and on-water education to allow high school age youth to develop into empowered and responsible adults, that put her on the path to success.
“It teaches you how to be a leader while also teaching you teambuilding skills,” the High Bridge resident said about her three-year RTB involvement where she began as a student volunteer, before transitioning into her current position as a job skills advocate.
Her hard work and dedication received well-deserved recognition when one of Jaquez’s teachers nominated her for the prestigious Posse Scholarship.
The award is from The Posse Foundation, Inc., an organization that identifies, recruits and trains student leaders to succeed academically while promoting cross-cultural communication on their college campus.
Rocking the Boat executive director Adam Green said the Highbridge resident is perfect for the role. “She’s a phenomenal young woman and she’s a fantastic leader,” he said.
After enduring a grueling four-month application process, Jaquez was one of only 10 students nationwide to be accepted as a Posse winner at Wisconsin’s Lawrence University.
“It’s completely opposite of New York so it’s going to be a complete turnaround, but that’s what I’ve been looking for,” Jaquez said, recalling her spring visit to the Midwest.
Though it’ll be difficult for Jaquez to adjust to Wisconsin’s cool temperatures and laid back pace, she’ll have all the academic support she needs from her Midwest Posse.
The Posse Foundation functions on the core belief that a small, diverse group of well-rounded students can help both inspire development in their personal and communal lives.
To prepare for the big move, Jaquez meets with her New York Posse for three hours each week for college prep courses. “It’s great, but it’s a lot of time,” she explained.
In the fall, Jaquez said she plans on majoring in Spanish with a pre-med focus. Upon her expected 2012 graduation date, she said she intends to make her way back east and enroll in medical school.
Rocking the Boat job skills advocate director Anita Antonetty said she expects the best from Jaquez. “She’s always proven to be very successful, a great leader,” she explained. “She’s very focused and very determined. I expect she’ll be president someday.”