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The Road to College: Clara Barton and Paul Robeson Send Proud Graduates

Maurice Pahalan, Coordinator of the Gateway Program at Clara Barton High School, beams like a proud Poppa as he talks about his students. This year, three graduates – Kimberly Solages, Shavagne Scott and Patricia Daniel – have been accepted into Cornell. Except for a nominal contribution of $1 – 2,000, all expenses are paid. Pahalan says Clara Barton regularly sends graduates to Cornell. “I have so many kids in Cornell, I can start a mini- Clara Barton alumni association there.”
Solanges, Scott, and Daniel are just three of the 200 students that participate in Clara Barton’s Gateway Institute for Pre- College Education Program. Gateway Institute preparees low income and minority NYC public high school students for college and the persuit of health and science-related careers.
This year, another Clara Barton graduate, Schnaude Dorizan is one of 2 NYC students to receive a Meyerhoff Scholarship at the University of Maryland. The Meyerhoff Scholarship provides support for African-American male undergraduate students committed to obtaining PhD degrees in math, science, and engineering. Pahalan states this translates into a half million dollars in financial support through acquisition of the PhD for each student. Last year, another Clara Barton student, Ayobami Ariwodola, was the only NYC student recipient of the Meyerhoff scholarship.
According to Dr. Furman, principal, students are “screened” into Clara Barton HS has six health related programs: Dental Assisting, Dental Laboratory Assisting, Nurse Assisting, Medical Assisting, Practical Nursing, and Vision Technology. For other students, Clara Barton was their first choice school. The eclectic mix of students come from all 5 boroughs; 80% are female; quite a few are first and second generation immigrants. Of Clara Barton’s more than 400 graduates, 85% are going to college; the rest are going into the military or have employment.
“We have a whole month of award ceremonies leading up to graduation,” said Dr. Furman.  An example is Ayobami Fapade, who received the Myself Third scholarship for  community-based environmental research. Fapade’s award includes a one year scholarship at CUNY, where he plans to major in engineering.
For Kervenn Rebistre, the Intergenerational Program at Clara Barton was what he “liked the most,” especially his 300 hours of service at a senior citizen home. Rebistre plans to attend City Tech, majoring in Civil engineering, because “I liked the idea of building things – bridges, roads.”
An eclectic group of  Paul Robeson High School students are on their way to college armed with scholarships. Valedictorian Tina Reyes, salutatorian  Shanhai Jarret, and Tyshaun Whitaker are three of ten Robeson recipients of  Citi scholarships. Shanhai will be attending Michigan State University. Tina, who is going to the University of Bridgeport, also received the Albert Shanker Scholarship and the Brooklyn Girl Friends Scholarship. Clarke/ Atlanta University will receive Tyshaun, who is also a recipient of the Guardian Achievement Scholarship form the NYPD.
Paul Robeson  has a wide variety of academic programs geared to prepare students for college and professional careers via internships or career-based experiences. The 20-year  Robeson/Citi partnership with Citi (originally with Solomon Brothers) includes a mentor/ mentee program, state-of-the-art technology, scholarships, college trips, support with Career/College Day, and internships for students. An op-ed school focused on business and technology, Robeson is home to 2 Virtual Enterprises, an international program that trains students to run a business. Robeson’s student-run businesses are Generation Design, a web design company, and Extravaganza Planning, an event planning company. Two of Robeson’s four Academies or Small Learning Communities are part of the National Academy Foundation: the Academy of Finance and the Academy of Information Technology offer advanced curriculum in Virtual enterprise and Cisco Networking Certification, with students taking part in college classes and participate in enrichment activities like Toast Masters.
Rochelle Wannamaker, an outstanding poet, won second place in the prestigious Random House creative Writing Scholarship Competition. Attending Mercy College in the fall, Rochelle also received the Brooklyn Old Timers Scholarship, the Ismay Harris Larrier Memorial Scholarship and the Luther Johnson Scholarship.
Robeson sports enthusiasts are also on their way to college. Showan Issacs, an outstanding member of the Robeson Track Team, is attending the University of Akron, which he researched and traveled to, by bus, on his own. David Sandiford, another accomplished participant in Robeson track, will be attending the University of Pittsburgh.
“My four years at Paul Robeson were not always the best, but with the support of the teachers and staff I managed to make the best of it, “ said Tina Reyes, Valedictorian. “High school was the place I transitioned from a young girl to a young lady and as you know along with that change came a lot of learning experiences. Learning experiences that could not have taken place in any classroom; learning experiences that are more about the social side of life but they are just as valuable as the academic side and the Robeson community supported me through them.”

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