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April 6, 2011

Blazers receive National Carson Scholars Fund

by Sarah Harper, Online News Editor
Last month, freshman Shaun Datta and sophomore Hannah Weintraub were awarded the Carson Scholars Fund, an incentive program for students who have demonstrated exceptional academic and humanitarian work. Twenty-three MCPS students were granted the award, and the eight first-time recipients will receive a $1,000 college scholarship during a banquet on Sunday, April 10 at Martin's West from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, created the Carson Scholars Fund in 1996.

Courtesy of Washingtonpost.com
Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, created the Carson Scholars Fund in 1996.
Students from 4th to 11th grade who maintain a grade point average above 3.75 and demonstrate an interest in improving the community are eligible for the award. Previously, repeat winners could collect the scholarship money again, but the Carson Scholars Fund has since restricted the money to first-time winners, due to limited economic resources.

Datta and Weintraub are repeat winners and both intend to reapply in the future. Weintraub, who received the award for the second time, has taken part in several ongoing service projects. She tutors two children with special needs, heads Blair's Women's Advocacy Club, runs her own summer camp and works for Wider Circle, a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating poverty. She also organized an Autism Awareness event through Blair's Students for Global Responsibility last year.

Datta, who had been given the scholarship twice before, is currently the Assistant Vice President of Public Relations for the Washington, D.C., Branch of Operation Fly, a student-led and operated organization dedicated to helping the homeless. He was also the Co-President for the Takoma Park chapter of Junior Civitan International and a member on the Board of Directors for Difference Makers, a nonprofit centered on youth well-being.

For Weintraub, the award has reaffirmed her passion to take part in community service projects, a passion that she hopes to extend to her career. "This scholarship is offered to a really diverse group of students, which I think is important," she said. "It's [also] inspiring to have my work recognized on this level; it makes me want to keep working for the things I believe in."

According to Datta, the award has reminded him to continue participating in various service organizations and events. "The scholarship is a good method with which to motivate students to perform in school and be an active community member," he said. "Each year when I reapply I am asked to describe my community involvement, so each year I try to do something different and original, in terms of community service."


Carson Scholars Fund Winners
An asterisk indicates a first-time winner

Sahra Akbari, Grade 9, Paint Branch High School
Sophia Alapati, Grade 12, Damascus High School
Valerie Bakly, Grade 8, Redland Middle School*
Anchal Bhargava, Grade 12, Watkins Mill High School
Abigail Broadhurst, Grade 9, Rockville High School
Alfredo Colina, Grade 10, Gaithersburg High School
Shaun Datta, Grade 9, Montgomery Blair High School
Azevedo Evantanto, Grade 8, Roberto Clemente Middle School
Maxwell Frankel, Grade 12, Northwest High School
Naqiya Ghulamali, Grade 7, Kingsview Middle School
Madeline Harlow, Grade 8, A. Mario Loiederman Middle School*
Yoonshik Hong, Grade 10, Clarksburg High School*
Paige Leckie, Grade 7, Julius West Middle School
Howard Nicholson III, Grade 7, Roberto Clemente Middle School
Samuel Oshinsky, Grade 12, Walt Whitman High School
Serena Patel, Grade 12, Quince Orchard High School
Alana Richards, Grade 7, Takoma Park Middle School
Rachel Ruffin, Grade 5, Bannockburn Elementary School*
Joshua Seigel, Grade 5, College Gardens Elementary School*
Caroline Stokes, Grade 11, Watkins Mill High School*
Hannah Weintraub, Grade 10, Montgomery Blair High School
Jingjing Xu, Grade 8, Takoma Park Middle School*
Hal Zeitlin, Grade 11, Winston Churchill High School*



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