Julian Nunez, a senior at Democracy Prep Charter High School (DPCHS), has been selected to receive the Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship for the next four years while he attends Brown University. The scholarship is highly selective and awards up to $40,000 each year.
Only 40 high school seniors nationwide receive the scholarship. Finalists must have an exceptional academic record, an evident commitment to community service, and have been accepted into a prestigious four-year university or college.
Julian credits his mother with giving him the strength to pursue a rigorous academic course load and to attend college.
“I was born premature at one pound,” Julian said. “My mom always tells me, ‘You already survived the hardest day of your life, and there is nothing that should be stopping you.’ I connect her words to being a scholar at Democracy Prep,” he added. “The reason why I have a personal connection to the school is for its values of work hard, go to college, change the world. The fact that we have those values at our school is incredible. Not many public schools can say, ‘This is what we live by.’”
Part of Democracy Prep’s mission is to prepare students for a life of active citizenship. As a senior, Julian created armbands for his soccer team to memorialize their former teammate Winston Perez-Ventura, who tragically died before he was set to start his freshman year at Cornell University. Julian previously wrote a blogpost about the initiative to honor Winston which you can read here.
Currently, Julian is continuing his service to the community by working with a fellow senior on her Change the World project on gentrification in Harlem. The seniors are applying for a grant to organize information sessions for citizens. Funds from the grant will be used to bring in speakers who will share their views on why gentrification is a problem and how it can be fixed.
When Julian leaves home to attend Brown University in the fall, he won’t be there to always talk to his brother about the importance of college and community service, but he says he is glad to know his little brother will continue to be exposed to a curriculum and ideals that prepare him for success after high school.
“My little brother goes to a Democracy Prep elementary school, and they have the same motto as us,” Julian said. “That’s what makes it personal. I am extremely grateful that from the beginning, Democracy Prep is teaching children the importance of college. Not many schools push the importance of college or hard work in the same way Democracy Prep does.”