College scholarships: He’s got an app for that

By Susan Snyder

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Distributed by MCT Information Services

                Christopher Gray couldn’t even afford college application fees, let alone tuition. His single mother was out of work, and there were two siblings to think about, then ages 2 and 3.

               But with a passion for entrepreneurship, the Birmingham, Ala., student dreamed of attending a college in the Northeast so he could be close to New York City and other major business centers.

              “So the onus was really on me. I had to deal with it myself,” recalled Gray, now 21 and a rising junior at Drexel University.

               For three months, he holed up in the local library _ he didn’t have a computer at home _ and searched out and applied for more than 70 college scholarships. Gray, an A-B student in high school who had served in leadership roles and started his own nonprofit company, had astounding success.

               He received 34 scholarships worth $1.3 million _ enough to get his bachelor’s, his master’s, and his doctorate, plus cover his living expenses with some left over to invest.

              Now, Gray – since dubbed “the Million Dollar Scholar” – has found a way to help other teens find scholarship money. He and two associates have developed a mobile app called Scholly – shorthand for “scholarships” – for both the iPhone and Android. The app has been available for only about a month, but several thousand downloads have sold. Gray and his colleagues decided to keep the price at 99 cents because their intent is more public service than profit.

             All proceeds at this point are going back into the company, said Nick Pirollo, 23, one of Gray’s partners. He is a computer and electrical engineering major from New Jersey who graduated this month. He updates the app and manages the website Myscholly.com.

             As a student at a magnet high school in Birmingham, Gray distinguished himself early on. He graduated with a 3.9 GPA while leading the local Bible club and running his nonprofit, Genesis, which organized volunteer opportunities for students. He wanted to apply to Harvard and other top schools, but could not afford the application fees.

             His guidance counselor suggested he apply for six scholarships. He got all of them, but knew he needed more. He scanned hundreds of websites, poring through criteria. Many scholarships had narrowly defined qualifications that he didn’t meet: “It was frustrating.”

            But many looked for top-notch academics combined with leadership and community service. Gray had all three.

            “I had 600 volunteer hours,” he said. “And because I started a nonprofit, that made me stand out.”

            Gray’s biggest coup was the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which covers tuition and room and board from a bachelor’s to a doctorate. A $20,000 scholarship from Coca-Cola followed, and fortuitously put him in touch with Bryson Alef, a rising senior at Amherst College, his other partner on the Scholly app. He also received a $20,000 Horatio Alger Scholarship and the $10,000 Axa Achievement Scholarship.

            Smaller awards came from Wal-Mart and Lowe’s. And they just kept coming.

            “My mom was elated. I did a little jumping around,” Gray said.

            Gray, an entrepreneurship major at Drexel, has used the money for tuition, room and board, supplies at the Apple store, travel for interviews, clothing and other needs.

            He has appeared at national conferences and in the media, including U.S. News & World Report. As a result, hundreds of students and parents have emailed and called for advice. Working with Mayor Michael Nutter’s office on education, he has also advised students at Philadelphia public high schools.

            “That’s what inspired me to make the app,” he said. “It was taking hours of my day trying to help. It just became too much.”

            Gray has uploaded 500 scholarships on the app and continues to add more. They are sorted by eight areas: state, race, GPA, gender, need/merit, grade (high school or college), major and miscellaneous. Students can find suitable scholarships and create a spreadsheet. Gray also has uploaded several of his winning scholarship essays.

          The app is geared to both high school and college students, who can qualify even though they are already in school, Gray said.

          After graduation, Pirollo will continue working with Gray and also start a job with Vistaprint, a business card company.

         Gray, who has two more years at Drexel, wants to make it easier for his siblings than it was for him.

         “I’m trying to save up to put them in a better environment,” he said, aiming to get them into a private school by fifth grade.

          As for his career plans, he has the goal of a true entrepreneur: “Ideally not to have to get a job when I graduate.”

___ (c)2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at http://www.philly.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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Christopher Gray holding a phone displaying his app Scholly, which is available in the iPhone and Android App Stores.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

 

Gov. Christie : “had no knowledge or involvement …”

By VANESSA DWYER

Staff Writer

Two lanes on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge were closed for a week leaving a major commuting route jammed. It was said there was no giving warning and that it was a political retribution against Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee for not supporting Chris Christie’s re-election.

September 2013, orders given to close the lanes of George Washington Bridge, which is a major commute route, exercised a major act no one was sure about. There were messages speculating on the decision months before it happened but everyone’s concerns are why.

Experts of messages from UTSanDiego shows on:

Aug. 13: Bridget Ann Kelly, Governor Christie’s top aide messages to David Wildstein: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” Wildstein replies: “Got It” Sept. 13: Wildstein email to Kelly, apparently after a Port Authority executive from New York discovered the lane closures and halted them: “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.” Kelly replies: “What?” Wildstein replies: “Yes, unreal. Fixed now.”

Sept. 17: Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee message to Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Boroni a week after lane closures: “We should talk. Someone needs to tell me that the recent traffic debacle was not punitive in nature. The last four reporters that contacted me suggested that the people they are speaking with absolutely believe it to be punishment. Try as I am to dispel these rumors I am having a tough time. A private face to face would be important to me. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the errors of my ways. Let me know if you’ll give me 10 minutes.”

For over a month, Governor Christie being victimized by press about top aides and appointees’ calling for lane closure was just getting ready for the re-election of Governor again November last year. Of course, what was done was disturbing and inexcusable of those involved because there were school buses full of children and those commuting back and forth to work affected by this act according to CNN news. David Wildstein, Port Authority, being one to blame assumed Christie’s had knowledge of everything, considering it was so close to home. Christie responds back during a press interview, Christie states,

“I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by the member of my staff but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without any knowledge. One thing is clear this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

In later press, the Governor announced all staff involved in the incident had been fired. Bridget Ann Kelly for planning the closure, Bill Stephen for withholding details, David Wildstein for making it happen and a few other members of his staff for their dishonesty then gave his apology:

“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. Ultimately I am responsible for what happens on my watch, the good and the bad and when mistakes are made, I have to own up to them and take the actions that I believe is necessary to remediate them.”

Wildstein filed a lawsuit prior to his unemployment with Port Authorities insisting he would not answer any questions about his role in the lane closures. It would be prosecuted as a violation of the Fifth Amendment and Wildstein will be charged a misdemeanor violation if considered. Wildstein attorney in his defense says, “his client cooperated by providing text messages and emails” in hopes that could have been enough.

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Gov. Chris Christie works with Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly.

OBOC presents “inspired recollections” in April

By RACHEL MEYERS

Staff Writer

 

Recollection is one of the most powerful forms of story telling, especially in the case of American history.

An even more powerful effect is achieved when the story becomes visual, engaging more of our senses and leaving behind an impression of some sort. It is the goal of Psychology/Anthropology professor and OBOC committee participant, Karrol Jordan, to bring to life the story and historical concept of Carlotta Walls Lanier’s memoir, “A Mighty Long Way.”

It is a collaborative effort between the Committee, Jordan, and her AN 103 students, that will bring the theme of Lanier’s book to life. “Structurally, what we want to show is someone’s recollection. This is where the students become actors, with a great deal of makeup and verve, a lot of verve,” Jordan explained about her project.

Students will help recreate scenes of historical significance from the era in which the book was written. Parallel sketches will be given as the events recalled by personas from that era are reenacted by Jordan’s class, “what’s happening is they’re remembering and then someone else from the class will act it out. They will be that person in that setting 50+ years ago.”

Not only does Jordan want to represent the stories and the theme of Lanier’s book but, in the spirit of diversity, she is also determined to represent other issues of the time period. America was intended to be a great “melting pot,” providing a home for many ethnicities and social groups yet, although it still is a stew of many belief systems and races, we seem to be categorized and isolated within certain mindsets and labels.

In an effort to go back to our original historical roots, Jordan is including the entire demographics of her classes in this production, as well as many different aspects of the time period; “…we are diverging, at least to some extent, from the specifics. In general, it’s still very much that era and the whole idea of claiming your right as an American, the right to education, the right to vote, the right to public accommodation.”

Although much excitement and planning is going into this performance, as with any show, much anticipation and cramming is also involved as deadlines approach quickly. Snow days have, no doubt, been a source of great contention for everyone this semester, creating backups and delays everywhere.

Not only will this be a first time experience for Jordan, but also for her students who are getting a crash-course in acting for this special event. Though canceled school days have shortened the amount of preparation time for everyone, Jordan is confident in the abilities of everyone involved in the production, from the students, to committee members, as well as faculty members who will be donating their time and talent to this historical performance.

The one-time event will take place on April 9, 2014, during student activity time, 2:00-3:22p.m., in the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre. The event will be free and open to college students as well as the community.

 

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The Little Rock Nine

 

Photos Courtesy of google images

Exciting, eclectic activities for CCC students

By ANDREW LEHMAN

Staff Writer

 

Cumberland County College of Vineland, New Jersey offers a lot of clubs and organizations for every individual who is enrolled in Cumberland County College. There are events happening mostly every month or even more than that. From Fall film festival, to bake sales to Poetry Sales to Art Trading. Student activates oversees all of the clubs and organizations at CCC. It is a great way to get involved more with students on campus. Have many opportunities to make new friendships, learn more about yourself and to most importantly, HAVE FUN! Their mission statement is extremely powerful “The mission of Student Activities is to create an environment in which all students and student clubs and organizations are encouraged and aided in the development of positive social, cultural, intellectual, recreational and leadership programs and activities. Student Activities promotes learning, personal growth, self-governance, social responsibility and understanding.”

Here are some of the many clubs at CCC you can become involved in:

Art and Design Club

Business/Finance Club

Business/HR Club

CCC Media Communication Club

Club Mud (Ceramic)

Criminal Justice Society

Drama Club

Entrepreneur Club

Faith Fellowship Club

Fencing Club

GLOW (Gay Lesbian Or Whatever)Club

H.O.S.A. (Heath Occupation Students of America)

Latin American Club (LAC)

Multicultural Club

Music Club

Paintball Club

Radiography Club

Rotaract Club

Student Nursing Organization (SNO)

If you do not see a club that interests you at this time, feel free to contact the Student Activities office to find out how to start a new one. They are located in the Student & Enrollment Services Center. Phone 856-691-8600 ext. 454 for more information.

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Photos Courtesy of Google Images

 

Dear Daphne…

Staff Writers

Dear Daphne, I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of five years. I am so thrilled, but I would be even more excited if my family knew. They do not really approve of my fiancé and haven’t since we started dating. It feels like I have been in a constant battle with them. I don’t want to tell them because I know how they will react, but I do want my family to be a part of this experience with me. What should I do? Signed, In love & confused

Dear In love & confused, Your family is your support system. In whatever they decide to do they will be there to support you. It is important to keep your family involved in your life. In the future they may be all you have. Imagine if your family found out from a source that is not you that you are engaged? It would not only crush them, but it could also put a greater tear on your relationship. Regardless of your family’s reaction, you should tell them of your engagement to your fiancé. Become more involved in family activities with your fiancé so your family can see the side of him that you fell in love with. At the end of the day family is so important and it is important to make efforts to keep them involved in your life. Good luck and congratulations on your engagement!

Dear Daphne, I have been best friends with the same girl for over 10 years. Growing up, we did everything together – school, ballet, music lessons – we were practically inseparable. However, lately she has been ditching me to hang out with her new boyfriend. I understand that they need time together, but it seems like she has no time for our friendship. I’m truly happy for her and her boyfriend, but I just miss the time we spent together. I would hate for us to drift apart because one of us is in a relationship. Problem is, I have no idea how to bring this up to her. She’s always so happy to spend time with him, and I’m worried as to how she will react to what I have to say. How should I handle this? Signed, Ditched & Distressed

Dear Ditched & Distressed, Friendships will go through all sorts of trials, especially when one friend enters a relationship. However, the longer you wait to talk, the more difficult it will be. Simply be honest with her. Tell her how you feel about getting ditched all the time. Just like relationships – friendships are a two-way street. Both parties have to make an effort to take time for one another. Express your happiness for her and her new boyfriend, but also explain that you don’t want your friendship to lack because of it. Have a heart to heart talk and it should open her eyes to the situation. And don’t be afraid of how she reacts – you’re coming to her with a concern – and a true friend will understand!

Duke’s Women’s Basketball soars to playoffs

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By KYLE BENNETT & VANESSA DWYER

Staff Writer

The Cumberland County Lady Dukes basketball team has been electric this season. As of February 24, the Lady Dukes have posted a record of 25-2. The team has reached the Region 19 Final Four in the Garden State Athletic Conference tournament and will take on Camden County College in the semi-final round on February 27. With the loss of All-American Alicia Cox to transfer, the team was not sure how the season would start off.

With all the incoming young talent, the Dukes silenced critics and started off the season with 13 straight wins.

Standout freshman Artaeja Loatman has averaged an outstanding 17.2 PPG and 9.8 RPG. Loatman was asked what it is like to balance her star play on the court, as well as maintaining her grades, “It’s hard to balance both because you have practice, games and then you have school work and tests to study for. Self-motivation is something I have used to succeed in the classroom and on the court.”

Loatman also stated that it is important to know that when you are a student athlete, student comes first.

Cumberland Freshman Guard Iesha Watson has contributed off the bench to lead the Lady Dukes to their dominance this season. “Being on your game on and off the court is key. Once you know your grades are where they should be, then that translates to success on the court.” Watson also said she’s about team first, “When the ball is in my hands, personally, I’m just thinking of how I can set us up to score, it’s never been about me.”

The Lady Dukes’ success has brought them together and they see each other as a family. Being together for practices day in and day out and the success during the games this year has made this one of the more unique teams at CCC.

Loatman has been named player of the week in the Garden State Athletic Conference multiple times this season and the team has rallied around one another to create the success they have shared this season. Continue following dukesathletics.com to keep up with the Lady Dukes run for a District 19 title.

 

Students inspire CCC’s first Poetry Slam

By BRITTANY KILPATRICK

Staff Writer

 

Throughout the semester there are numerous activities, in which a student can participate. Those who are interested in poetry and performing may find events such as L’Esprit, the college’s literary and illustrative magazine, and the Poetry Slam to be enjoyable. Anyone at the college can get involved. Both events will be held at Cumberland County College, in the Fine and Performing Arts Center on May 7. L’Esprit’s artwork will be displayed, and the poets and writers will be reading their work around 2 pm in the gallery. The Poetry Slam will occur after L’Esprit in the theatre at 7pm. What is the purpose of L’Esprit? According to Professor Renee Post, “The purpose of L’Esprit is to showcase the students’ writing talent and also the art students are able to submit their work…whether it is fine art or photography.” She then went on to list the types of submissions that are accepted, which include, short stories, poetry, photography, and art work. Furthermore, expanding on the night’s festivities, there will be a Poetry Slam. L’Esprit features poets reading their poetry; a poetry slam is the performance of poetry. According to Post, the idea for the poetry slam came from students. Post would later establish that a student can perform his own poetry and if he cites his sources correctly, can also perform the work of someone else. Post hopes that this event will become “annual.” Two students in particular are already onboard to participate in the first Poetry Slam held at the college. Daniel Carter, a Graphic Arts major, has been writing poetry for years, but has yet to perform in an actual poetry slam. He shared “probably the most important part of the poetry slam is really the diversity.” He believes that even if the people involved at the slam have faced similar problems, there is always a unique viewpoint to be heard. Kara Donnelly, who studies Humanities, has previously been involved in poetry slams in high school. She stated “I enjoy putting myself into someone else’s shoes. I like getting out of my own head into my poem and performing it so other people can understand it. I love learning the different literature and background of a poem, because I believe there are so many poets out there that aren’t recognized.” In order to submit poetry, and short stories you must email your entries to lesprit2014@gmail.com. However, to submit computer generated artwork the submissions must be sent to sshapiro@cccnj.edu. Any art in the form of paintings and sketches must be submitted in a jpeg or PDF format. All entries must be received by March 21, 2014. If you are interested in the Poetry Slam then you can get involved by attending the upcoming meetings held in F6 on Wednesdays at 2pm. The tentative dates are as follows: February 26, March 26, and April 30.