At the Eagle Academy Foundation schools, nearly 100 percent of young men of color across the five boroughs of New York City graduate from high school and are accepted to college. For the class of 2020, these numbers continue to hold true.
Neo Fleurimond a young scholar from Brownsville and a student at the Eagle Academy at Ocean Hill, recently was awarded the Gates Millenium Scholarship. The scholarship intends to increase diversity in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies, while providing students of color like Fleurimond a full ride to college.
“When I first attended the Eagle Academy, I was skeptical of the institution, because it was a high school in Brownsville and I was not sure of the environment,” Fleurimond said. “But then, in the ninth grade, the assistant principal reassured me that if I essentially work hard, I would get into a college I dreamed of going to, on a full ride.”
After attending the Eagle Academy for the last four years, Fleurimond is grateful for giving the institution a chance. The school’s mission to aid young men of color in their intellectual journey is what he credits for his recent successes.
For the past 20 years, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program has selected the best and brightest students to become Scholars. As inequalities in education are now rapidly widening due to COVID-19 the scholarship has proven to be not just a showcase of hard work, but an incredible aid to the increasing prices of college.
“I was incredibly unsure that I would win the scholarship because there has been a lot of attempts to get the scholarship in my school,” said Fleurimond. “Not many people have been successful because the process is competitive. I opened the applicant portal, and my heart was going crazy because this is something I worked incredibly hard for.”
And while many colleges nationwide struggle to reopen through the pandemic, his university has offered Fleurimond the choice to attend his first year of college in-person. With his scholarship supporting him with a full-ride and with a laptop and coverage for book fees, he is sure to have more than enough resources to succeed and have a full college experience amid COVID.
“I’m really looking forward to it, the fact that I still get to go to Wesleyan and experience the college experience has left me pretty satisfied,” Fleurimond said. “I know a lot of other students are not in the same situation.”
Fleurimond’s story exists as a narrative of dedication, determination and overcoming the odds as he proceeds to Wesleyan University in the fall majoring in music and government.
“It’s uplifting. I feel like I have done something empowering for my community to let them know that no matter where you come from as long as you work hard, you can reach your dreams.”