BU Today


BU president and Boston mayor honor 40 scholarship winners

Boston Scholars Program passes $114 million mark

The Boston High School Scholars gather before departing to New Hampshire for an 'outward bound' orientation. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


On Monday, June 19, 40 Boston public high school seniors, representing 12 of the city’s 30 high schools, came onstage at the School of Management auditorium to receive four-year, full-tuition scholarships to Boston University, presented by BU President Robert Brown and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (Hon.’01). Established in 1973, BU’s Boston High School Scholarship Program is the largest and longest-running scholarship program for urban public high school graduates in the country; this year, the program passed the $114 million mark.

Speaking to an audience that included members of the scholars’ families as well as proud high school teachers and administrators, Brown described the program as an important continuation of the University’s commitment to Boston and praised Menino’s commitment to education.

Jessica So, born in the United States of Chinese parents, was valedictorian of her class at Josiah Quincy Upper School, as well as senior class president and captain of the basketball team. Josiah Quincy Upper School was founded in 1999 with the mission of helping students succeed responsibly in a pluralistic and global society. “My school is really new, so I haven’t really had many upper classmen as role models,” said So, whose parents are both taxi drivers. “My family has been my motivation.” She said that her brother, who is studying business management at Northeastern, has been her “study buddy.”

Gilbert Kiyingi came to this country just four years ago, from Uganda, but he still managed to become class valedictorian as well as president of the pre-engineering and physics club. He was also a member of the school’s FIRST robotics team, which had six weeks to build a soccer-playing robot; the goal of the multinational nonprofit FIRST organization, founded by Dean Kamen (Hon.’06), is to interest young people in science and technology. Kiyingi hopes to study aerospace engineering. “Ever since I was young,” he said, “I’ve been fascinated by flight.” He hopes someday to build a prototype that may one day become a plane.

Awardee Edwin Pimentel, a native of the Dominican Republic and valedictorian of his class at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, said it was good to see his hard work pay off. “My parents are very proud,” he said.

The first recipient of the award from his high school in at least 10 years, Pimentel will pursue a career in electrical engineering. “The transition from high school to college is going to be interesting,” he said. “I’m excited and nervous. I think the biggest challenge will be getting used to the bigger class sizes, but I’m confident I can handle it.”

Boston High School Scholars are nominated by their school’s headmaster or guidance counselor and chosen by a three-member committee of representatives from the mayor’s office, the University’s Office of Admission, and the Boston public school system. This year’s scholars have a combined SAT 1 score of 1,310 for reading-math and 640 for writing and a GPA of 3.7 and were ranked overall in the top 6 percent of their class.

For a complete list of scholarship recipients, click here.