By Mary Lynch
Six top performing students from the Class of 2021 at Benjamin Franklin High School in Highland Park will head off to college this month with a strong tailwind to propel them on their way.
The six are the finalists and semi-finalists for the 2021 Tenner-Wright scholarships, the highest award from the Franklin High School Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides college financial aid to Franklin graduates.
The 2021 Tenner-Wright finalists, who will each receive $9,600 over four years, are: Stefan Mykytyn, who plans to major in computer science at Mercer University in Georgia; Leslie Rodriguez, who plans to major in computer science at the University of Southern California; and Ryan Wong, who plans to major in cybersecurity engineering at George Mason University in Virginia.
The Tenner-Wright semi-finalists, who will receive $3,200 over two years, are: Alejandra Castaneda, who plans to major in computer science at Stanford; Martin Ledesma, who plans to major in statistics at UCLA; and Claire Lee, who plans to major in economics at UC San Diego.
The Tenner-Wright scholarships are named for Mort Tenner, the principal at Franklin from 1967 to 1984, and Jack Wright, the college counsellor at Franklin from 1971 to 1992. Both men were instrumental in establishing the Franklin High School Educational Foundation, which started as an informal effort in 1962 to raise scholarship money for Franklin graduates and was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1993. Tenner died in 2020. Wright remains active as a board member of the foundation.
In addition to scholarships for the Tenner-Wright finalists and semi-finalists, the Franklin Education Foundation gave $143,600 to 157 college-bound seniors in the Class of 2021, about $900 per student.
Awards from the foundation are considered “lifetime no-interest loans,” that is, students do not need to pay the money back, rather, they are encouraged to ‘pay it forward’ over the course of their careers by helping future Franklin grads to pay for college.
Financial hardship is the reason that many students do not complete college. The Franklin High School Education Foundation steps in to help fill the financial gaps. Since 1962, alumni, staff and friends of Franklin have provided some $2.3 million to more than 4,000 students.
Click here to donate to the Franklin High School Education Foundation.
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