On March 11, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy student Becca Ayala received a letter she had been waiting months for – an acceptance to New York University. And that wasn’t all; the letter also stated that Ayala had also been selected for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program, an honor that includes an annual $30,000 scholarship. Scholars are selected based on academic merit as well as a commitment to community service. (Once in the program, participants must maintain a 3.5 GPA, perform community service and attend special programming.)
No stranger to giving back to the community, Ayala can often be found in the library at Santa Teresita, a Catholic elementary school (K – 8) that serves the underprivileged communities in Santa Teresita Parish, Boyle Heights and the surrounding communities. Last year, Ayala created a book club for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades at Santa Teresita, which meets biweekly. Ayala helps select the books (with input from the students), raises the funds for the books, purchases them for the students and leads the discussion or writing activity during the meeting. Some of the previous book club choices include, “Soul Surfer” by Bethany Hamilton, “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd and “Among the Hidden” by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
For Ayala, the creation of the book club was born out of love.
“I was in a book club in junior high and really enjoyed it. I wanted to add to the school and share my love of reading,” she explained.
As for the NYU offer, Ayala experienced the Scholars Program firsthand during the weekend of April 11. NYU paid all the expenses for a trip for those chosen for the program to bunk up with current scholars and learn more about this unique opportunity. Ayala hasn’t made a final decision about where she’ll be in the fall, but she’s definitely excited about the possibility of NYU.
“I have lived in L.A. all my life so moving to somewhere like NYC will be so educational and interesting,” she said. “I think NYC is the most interesting place to experience college because it is so diverse.”
Submitted by FSHA