2 students from Bethlehem traveled to Moravian University Tuition Free

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Genesis Hernandez, a senior at Liberty High School, has dreamed of becoming an orthodontist since the age of 5. Freedom High School senior Shayaan Farhad loves biology and helping others so much that he hopes to become a doctor.

The dreams of these two Bethlehem Area School District students received a major financial boost last month when they learned they were the recipients of the 2022 BASD Superintendent’s Scholarship, which covers four years of schooling at Moravian University.

This is the seventh year that Moravian has awarded scholarships to two district seniors. The 2022-2023 Bethlehem University tuition fee is set at $48,569. The students were surprised by the news last month and later recognized at ceremonies at their respective high schools.

“We are proud that they have persevered through the events of the past two years to stay on track and excel academically,” said Moravian President Bryon Grigsby. “As past BASD scholarship recipients have shown, this opportunity opens doors for students who might not otherwise have the chance to attend a school like Moravian, and we expect great things from them. of them.”

Superintendent Joseph Roy said the scholarship is given to high achieving students who have overcome life’s challenges. Applicants must be accepted into Moravian University, write an essay on the barriers they faced, and demonstrate financial need.

Each year, the top five applicants from both high schools are selected by their guidance counselors and administrators for Roy and a Moravian official to review. The pool is then narrowed down to two finalists from each school who are interviewed in the final round.

Farhad and Hernandez share more than career dreams. They are both motivated students who come from immigrant families. Moravian offers strong academics while allowing students to stay close to home, the two said. The stock market removes major financial stressors for them.

Farhad, who earned a 4.35 GPA at Liberty, plans to live at home with his mother, younger brother and grandmother, whom he helps care for. Her mother emigrated from Afghanistan when she was 12 years old.

“It means a lot to know that I can help my family financially, which I really wanted to do,” Farhad said. “I can already start giving back to them without them having to worry about making such a big investment.”

Farhad’s guidance counselor lured him to Liberty’s main office, telling him he was attending an Advanced Placement class focus group.

“At first I was the only person to come,” recalls Farhad, 18, from Bethlehem. “I was a bit confused. I saw Principal (Harrison) Bailey there and thought it must have been a pretty big discussion group. Then I saw Dr. Roy there.

Roy was impressed by Farhad’s drive and commitment to his family.

Earlier in the day, the captain of Liberty’s tennis team had begun to despair over not getting the scholarship, so it was a welcome surprise.

“We went through tough times when I was younger,” Farhad said. “It was my motivation to find a way out of the tough times and achieve a bigger goal. When I constantly think about the past, it motivates me to keep striving for success so that I can be the best and give the best. best to the people I love.

Hernandez came to the United States from Nicaragua when she was 13 years old. Her dream of becoming a dentist was inspired by her stepfather, who is a dentist in his native country.

“I was born and raised in another country,” said Hernandez, 18, from Bethlehem Township. “Coming here looking for a better opportunity, a better education and the chance to go to a private school?! It is the result of the hard work I put in during all these years that I have been here.

Hernandez earned a 3.92 GPA at Freedom despite some difficulties at home that led her to move into her own apartment. Since her mother frequently travels back and forth between Nicaragua, her brother is her legal guardian. Things got tough when he divorced about two years ago and his grades started to drop, she recalls. But she worked with her teachers and finished the year with straight Aces.

“It’s very hard,” she admitted. “I get out of school and go straight to work.”

Hernandez supports herself by working at Kirkland Village in Bethlehem, which she plans to continue while studying biology at Moravian. Anything Hernandez manages to juggle is impressive, Roy said.

Knowing that she will have to pay for dental school in the future means so much to be able to complete her undergraduate degree debt-free, Hernandez said.

“I was shocked,” she said when she learned she had won. “I was very happy too because it’s something I hoped for and prayed for. It means a lot. I see it as another opportunity to change people’s lives.

Hernandez planned to attend Moravian no matter what, but without the BASD scholarship, she would have had to pay about half of her tuition with loans. (Moravian had already awarded him the university’s presidential scholarship.) Farhad wondered if he should go to Penn State University because it’s cheaper, but he also wanted to play tennis for Moravian.

As captain of the Liberty tennis team, Farhad won both an East Penn Conference and District XI title. He is also a member of the debate team, a volunteer with the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley, and a volunteer to teach conversational Persian and Arabic.

Hernandez is a member of the National Honor Society, sings in the Freedom Choir and participates in the district’s school-to-work transition program.

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Sara K. Satullo can be contacted at [email protected].

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