LIFE Founder & President, Lois Pope Presents Scholarships To 4 Dedicated Medical Students
Three students New York City and one from Long Island have been named recipients of the esteemed Lois Pope Annual LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarship Award. All four students are aspiring doctors and/or medical researchers, who excel both academically and through their volunteer community work.
Christopher Bandera of Manhattan, Akia Caine of Staten Island, Jason Grant of Brooklyn, and Sheena Dorvil of Long Island, all incoming freshman at City College's Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, were presented with $25,000 scholarships by Lois Pope, a Florida-based philanthropist and President of Leaders in Furthering Education (LIFE) at a ceremony on Thursday, September 14, 2006, at City College (CCNY) in Manhattan.
Over the past nine years, Mrs. Pope has presented scholarships to 36 incoming freshman attending the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education who demonstrate academic excellence and selfless community work. The late Sophie Davis co-founded Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company with her husband Leonard. The Davis' were residents of Palm Beach and both graduated from CCNY. The LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarship program is aimed at increasing access to medical and health training for inner city youth from the City's communities and schools. Eight-five percent of entering Sophie Davis students actually complete medical school, compared with a 50 percent attrition rate among freshman entering premedical programs at four-year colleges and universities.
"I am always deeply honored to present the Annual LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarships," said Mrs. Pope. "The recipients of these unsung hero scholarships are beginning a journey where they will make a difference in the lives of so many in their community and this country. None to them come from famous families or from positions of great wealth or power. But where they come from is not as import as what they come with ---they came to CCNY with a commitment to succeed, a willingness to help those in need' and they came to develop their minds and share the compassion in their hearts," said Lois Pope. "They embody the true meaning of an 'Unsung Hero," added Mrs. Pope.
Mr. Bandera is a National Merit scholar and graduate of Regis High School on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where he was named to the school's Order of Owl, reserved for those students with the highest academic records. He first became interested in medicine when his mother successfully overcame a serious health problem. He also volunteered as patient escort in the pediatric division of Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital. In addition, he was a mentor in a program that paired volunteers with economically disadvantaged youth. He was also a member of his high school baseball team and the Regis Medical Science Club, and wrote for the school newspaper.
Ms. Caine, an honors graduate of Stuyvesant High School on Staten Island, possesses an array of talents. In addition to her academic achievements, she acted in both musicals and drama in high school, and was vocal director for "A Chorus Line" and choral director for her junior class "Sing" show. She has also participated in the Model UN program, sang in the Chamber Chorus, was president of the acappella singing group, and was a member of the Seekers Club.
Mr. Grant, an honors graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, has received awards for projects submitted to the New York City Science and Engineering Fair and from placements in the New York City Olympics of the Mind Competition. As a participant in the Center for Excellence in Youth Education Program, he spent two summers working in the microbiology laboratory at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He was also a member of his high school chess team and the school's poetry club. He is also active in his church's youth program.
Ms. Dorvil, a National Honor Society graduate of Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, Long Island, has spent three summers volunteering as a patient aide at Mercy Medical Center and Franklin General Medical Center. In addition, she volunteers as an advocate for the New York Coalition for Hunger, writing letters to government officials on both local and state levels. She was also a member of her high school cross country and winter track and field teams.
October 27, 2006
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The LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarship program is an extension of Lois Pope's vision for rewarding and encouraging young people who put extraordinary effort into helping others. LIFE is a non-profit organization guided by the firm belief that young people are our most valuable resource, and that learning from hands-on community service opportunities is an important and lasting way to educate, motivate and improve community life. One of her inspirations for creating the LIFE Foundation was an article she read in a Florida newspaper about a young man who had amassed over 2,000 pairs of shoes for needy kids.