Special Job Posting: Rutgers Future Scholars Program Coordinator
Rahway School District Joins Rutgers Future Scholars Program
Roy Vagelos, former Merck CEO, gives $1.75M to bring program to his hometown
Rutgers Future Scholars, a pioneer program that for the last eight years has inspired and prepared students to attend college, has been extended to include Rahway School District students. (watch the Rutgers Future Scholars video)
A $1.75 million gift from P. Roy and Diana Vagelos will allow fifteen Rahway students to participate in the program annually for at least the next six years.
Dr. Vagelos, a physician and biochemist who served as the chief executive officer of pharmaceutical giant Merck, graduated from the Rahway High School in 1947. "I had wonderful teachers at Rahway High School who helped me to reach for the top by working harder,” Vagelos says. “I believe this program will similarly challenge Rahway students to go for it – entry into a great university. I liked being challenged and they will too."
The program will begin taking applications from seventh grade students this spring for enrollment beginning this summer. Once selected for the Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) Program, students will receive mentoring, tutoring, and college-preparatory courses, including summer sessions at Rutgers University throughout their high school years. In turn, when a Rutgers Future Scholar from Rahway earns admission to Rutgers, the student will attend Rutgers tuition free.
Rahway School District administrators and Rutgers Future Scholars representatives asked Dr. Vagelos and Mrs. Vagelos to consider funding the Rutgers Future Scholars program for Rahway students. Dr. and Mrs. Vagelos had several meetings with both the Rahway team (Dr. Trisha Camp, Superintendent of Schools; Mr. John Farinella, Rahway High School Principal; and Mr. Alan Johnson, Rahway 7th and 8th Grade Academy Principal) and the RFS team (Mr. Courtney McAnuff, Rutgers VP for Enrollment Management; Mr. Aramis Gutierrez, RFS Program Director; and Dr. Elena Ragusa, RFS Research Project Manager), resulting in this generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Vagelos.
“Roy Vagelos is a down-to-earth and thoughtful man,” says Rahway High school Principal, John Farinella. “He’s a caring person who is giving back and helping people get a start in the world. He has never lost touch with his roots.”
For Rahway students who are admitted, the Rutgers Future Scholars program will amplify their college aspirations from an unsettled possibility to a dominant reality. Rahway 7th and 8th Grade Academy principal, Mr. Alan Johnson explains that the "The Rutgers Future Scholars program bridges the gap between grit, determination, and opportunity. Removing the financial burden of education clears the path for deserving students who would otherwise be discouraged or worse."
Students in the Rahway Public Schools already have many opportunities and successes. For example, Rahway High School offers sixteen Advanced Placement courses and has been designated as a Model School in the Arts by the NJ Department of Education. In addition to Dr. Vagelos, Rahway also boasts other famous graduates, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman (1928) and astronomer Carl Sagan (1951). Shanice Williams – who starred in the recent NBC production The Wiz Live! – graduated from the District in 2014.
The RFS opportunities will benefit more than the fifteen students accepted into the program each year. The entire student body enrolled in each grade level where Rutgers Future Scholars receive services can participate in the RFS events offered in the District. According to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Trisha Camp, “The Rutgers Future Scholars program will have a direct impact on the culture of the District – we are making the statement that these students ARE capable of being successful in college.”
The Rutgers Future Scholars program has a solid track record since its inception in in 2008. Ninety-eight percent of the active scholars have graduated from high school and eighty percent of the high school graduates have stayed in college, according to RFS Program Director, Mr. Aramis Gutierrez.
Undoubtedly, getting the endorsement of Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey reflects positively on the quality of the educational services that the Rahway District provides for its students and, in turn, validates that Rahway School District graduates are ready to succeed at a highly- competitive Big Ten University.