The College Park City Council recognized 10 children and teenagers who won scholarships to attend summer camps at the University of Maryland Tuesday.
Each winner attended a university camp in summer 2016 and submitted essays about their experiences to the council’s Education Advisory Committee. The students will receive partial scholarships to cover the cost of attendance for the upcoming year.
Carolyn Bernache, Education Advisory Committee chair, said city scholarships provide local children with an opportunity they might not otherwise have — to be exposed to campus experiences in a direct way. Since the beginning of the scholarship program in 2013, more than 250 K-12 students have been awarded scholarships.
“This program has become a tremendously successful program and is embraced by youth participants and their parents,” Bernache said.
Bernache added the committee was “just charmed” by the essays it received.
Three students, second-grader Noah Brown, fifth-grader Christian Pacheco and ninth-grader Marcos Silver, were selected to read their works during the meeting.
“I have a learning disability so I sometimes need extra help,” said Silver, who is from College Park. “But at the camp, the counselors always make sure I understood and that I was having fun.”
The 15 year old attended a camp with a focus on basketball, after initially hearing about the opportunity through a city family services counselor. The camp was the first time he had been away from home overnight.
“When I saw my mom leaving the stadium, I started to tear up a little,” he admitted. Silver joked that he told himself to pull it together and really did end up enjoying his time at the camp.
Alexandra Fisher, Silver’s mother, said it was a good experience “for [Silver] to go and spend the night at a dorm,” adding that her son may be interested in returning as a counselor, once he ages out of the summer camp after graduating high school.
Bernache said the program has been growing and could expand depending on the education committee’s budget.
“Each year, we have more people applying,” she said.