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Ossining Student Becomes First In Her Family To Go To College

Bedford's Kevin Tejada is one of two Westchester students who have won scholarships from the Ossining-based Latino U College Access. Photo Credit: Courtesy Latino U College Access
Ossining's Angela Leis also won a scholarship from Latino U College Access and will be the first in her family to attend college. Photo Credit: Courtesy Latino U College Access

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Bedford's Kevin Tejada and Ossining's Angela Leis will not only be the first members of their families to attend college, but they'll also be going with scholarships.

Ossining-based Latino U College Access, a nonprofit group aimed at providing opportunities for Latino students to attend college, recently announced Tejada and Leis as the students chosen as the first "College Bound Scholars" award winners, according to a press release. Leis is an Ossining High School graduate heading to SUNY New Paltz and Kevin Tejada is a Fox Lane High School graduate who will attend Bates College this fall.

Tejada and Leis "have demonstrated outstanding academic success, initiative, involvement in school and community life, and a strong desire to rise above challenging circumstances to become the first in their families to attend college," according to the release.  "The program seeks to insure that students such as Angela and Kevin successfully transition to college life by providing them with an experienced adult mentor for the summer prior to departure and throughout freshman year," representatives said in the release. "In addition College Bound Scholars will receive a $1,000 financial award to help cover necessary dorm and school supplies including a laptop and help with books and travel expenses."

Latino U also provides assistance with college planning, application, SAT/ACT prep, essay writing and financial aid.  Amy Peck, a Katonah resident and business owner, and Doreen Gadigan, a Somers special education teacher, are the coordinators of the College Bound Scholars program, according to the release.

"They were inspired to create this award and mentor program after realizing how much time, effort, money, and moral support was required to get their own children successfully through their freshman year of college, and how woefully unprepared many first generation college students are," said founder Shirley Acevedo Buontempo in a release. "Throughout this summer and all next year, Angela and Kevin will speak with their mentors on a regular basis about topics such as what to bring to set up a dorm room, how to handles finances,  how to get along with a roommate, picking college courses, extracurricular involvement and all the other challenging aspects of life away from home."

Buontempo, a Somers resident who has worked in community nonprofits for more than 12  years, founded Latino U College Access in 2012 to address the "inequity and lack of access to college preparatory resources that many Latino students face," according to the release.

To find out more about the group, residents are asked to visit the Latino U College Access website .

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