For the second year, South Bronx United has awarded college scholarships to a group of graduates from the SBU Class of 2013. The scholarships were announced at the annual Graduates vs. Alumni Soccer Match at Macombs Dam Field in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. In total $4,000 were awarded to four outstanding scholar athletes for their dedication in the classroom and their communities and their embodiment of the South Bronx United mission.
The 2013 scholarship finalists were Julian Atanga and Henry Adjei Kwarteng, who each receive $1,500 towards college tuition or related expenses. Semifinals Elizabeth Cipriano and Kafoumba Doumbia received $500 to apply towards their college expenses.
Julian moved to the Bronx from Accra, Ghana when he was 7 years old along with his three younger siblings. He recently graduated from Mount Saint Michael Academy carrying a 89 average, and he will be attending the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo, where he intends to study Biology. He competed for two years on the SBU 95 Blue Devils, primarily as a defensive midfielder. “[South Bronx United] has taught me brotherhood, hard work, and dedication,” he says. “The club has become a second parent to me because through all the wins and losses together with my brothers, I have learned how to a loss can become a motivation for me to work twice as hard, the value of education, and also not to be self-centered.”
Despite moving just two years ago from Kumasi, Ghana where he lived with his older brother, Henry graduated this June from Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. Soon after moving he joined South Bronx United, playing for the SBU 94 Spartans and SBU 93 Sonics as a reliable defender and midfielder. Having considered acceptances from several colleges in New York and Pennsylvania, he decided to attend the Sage College of Albany. Of South Bronx United, Henry says, “[SBU] has impacted my life in so many ways. They did not only give me the ability to play soccer but helped me understand more about the college going process, learn about different careers, provide me with extra education help, and help me improve my SAT scores… Aside from the soccer and education, the most important thing SBU has taught me is leadership, discipline and team commitment. Since I became a member of SBU, I’ve learned to work alongside people from different corners of the world, different religions and cultures. It has showed me that if we put all our differences aside, we can really work together to achieve something, whether in school, soccer or in work.”
Elizabeth will be the first person in her family to attend college. Over the last four years, Elizabeth maintained a steady A average while attending the Bronx High School of Law, Government, and Justice. She aspires to go into nursing and will be pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. She has been involved with South Bronx United for three years. She was among the first players on the first South Bronx girls team, the SBU Rising Stars, playing as a defender and forward. SBU has given her “the opportunity to play with girls my age” without worrying about the costs.
Kafoumba has stood out on and off the field since moving to the Bronx from the Ivory Coast in 2010. Despite difficulties at home and an uncertain school situation which caused him to transfer from John F. Kennedy High School to the Marble Hill School of International Studies, Kafoumba graduated on time with an A average. He will be attending the University of Maine at Farmington where he received a partial academic scholarship. He hopes to pursue a degree in Computer Science. Kafoumba joined the SBU 93 Sonics soon after moving to the country and has starred as a midfielder and forward. Of South Bronx United, he says, “It has helped me improve both my writing and speaking of English as I didn’t speak a single English word when I first came…. SBU is like a family for me; it turned me from being a boy to a responsible and disciplined young man.”
South Bronx United would like to provide special thanks to the Scholarship Committee members and to SBU recreational coach Ankur Patel, and his friends Akash Patel, Gurdeep Nagi, and Melissa Rivera who used the Rutgers Half Marathon as a platform to raise the bulk of the scholarship funds. The committee included Akash and Ankur as well as coaches, alumni, and board members: George Nantwi, Stephen Burnstin, Jamie Canton, a 2012 scholarship recipient Kebba Sanneh, and Hanan Thabet.
South Bronx United also congratulates each of these young men and women and all twenty-four of the 2013 graduates from the SBU Youth Development program. South Bronx United hopes to be able to continue the college scholarship program in 2014, but can only do so with your help. If you would like to support the SBU College Scholarship Fund, please make a donation here. You may request that the donation be applied towards the scholarship fund. To learn more about South Bronx United, please visit http://www.southbronxunited.org.