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Four Seniors Selected as QuestBridge Scholars Receive Full Scholarships to University

Name:‌‌ ‌Day’Mon‌ ‌Wimberley‌ ‌
First‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Enrolled‌ ‌at‌ ‌FCS:‌‌ ‌Grade‌ ‌9‌ ‌
College‌ ‌Attending‌ ‌in‌ ‌Fall‌ ‌2022:‌‌ ‌Columbia‌ ‌University‌ ‌
Intended‌ ‌Major/Field‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study:‌ ‌‌Civil‌ ‌Engineering‌ ‌or‌ ‌Physics‌ ‌
Dream‌ ‌job:‌ ‌‌Working‌ ‌for‌ ‌NASA‌ ‌

Name:‌‌ ‌Rafeeul‌ ‌Jaman‌ ‌
First‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Enrolled‌ ‌at‌ ‌FCS:‌‌ ‌Grade‌ ‌7‌ ‌
College‌ ‌Attending‌ ‌in‌ ‌Fall‌ ‌2022:‌‌ ‌Swarthmore‌ ‌
Intended‌ ‌Major/Field‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study:‌ ‌‌Chemistry‌ ‌or‌ ‌Biology‌ ‌
Dream‌ ‌job:‌ ‌‌Orthopedic‌ ‌Surgeon‌

Name: Theresa Moloy
First‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Enrolled‌ ‌at‌ ‌FCS:‌‌ ‌Grade‌ ‌9‌ ‌
College‌ ‌Attending‌ ‌in‌ ‌Fall‌ ‌2022:‌‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Pennsylvania‌ ‌
Intended‌ ‌Major/Field‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study:‌ ‌‌Neuroscience‌ ‌
Dream‌ ‌job:‌ ‌‌Neurologist‌ ‌ 

Name:‌‌ ‌Alliyah‌ ‌Banks‌‌
First‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Enrolled‌ ‌at‌ ‌FCS:‌‌ ‌Grade‌ ‌9‌ ‌
College‌ ‌Attending‌ ‌in‌ ‌Fall‌ ‌2022:‌‌ ‌Tufts‌ ‌
Intended‌ ‌Major/Field‌ ‌of‌ ‌Study:‌ ‌‌Mechanical‌ ‌Engineering‌ ‌


Four members of Friends’ Central’s Class of 2022 are the recipients of full scholarships to a four-year university through the QuestBridge program, an incredible accomplishment for one class year. The seniors, Alliyah Banks, Rafeeul Jaman, Theresa Moloy, and Day’Mon Wimberley, were admitted early through a program called the National College Match. They were among 1,674 selected from a pool of 16,500 applicants nationally. The rigorous QuestBridge application process included teacher recommendations and a personal essay.

QuestBridge, a nonprofit founded in 1994, facilitates a college admission and scholarship process by connecting high-achieving, low-income students with their QuestBridge college partners. The 48 college partners include institutions such as Columbia University, Swarthmore College, Tufts University, and the University of Pennsylvania. As stated on the Questbridge website, “Every year, there are over 30,000 outstanding high school students from low-income backgrounds who are academically qualified to attend the nation’s top colleges. Over 80% of them do not apply to even ONE selective college, and they remain highly under-represented on leading college campuses.” QuestBridge sets out to change that statistic by helping match students who excel academically with such institutions.

“During the [QuestBridge] application process we help be their cheerleaders,” said FCS College Counselor Andrea Pien. “Something that’s unique at a Quaker School is a culture of humility. Students are very hesitant to do what feels like bragging to them. The way we frame it is that we’re celebrating them. This is the time to celebrate and own all of the things you’ve been able to accomplish during your high school career.” 

“QuestBridge frames it that the students are lucky to be able to go to these institutions with full rides, and I agree,” Andrea said, “But they're also lucky to have these students! Congratulations to these institutions!”

We interviewed the four seniors to discuss their experience with the QuestBridge process, their time at Friends’ Central, and their plans for their college careers. 

 

How did you hear about the QuestBridge Scholarship?

TM: I found out about QuestBridge my sophomore year in Mr. Darling’s Algebra II class I had with Day’Mon. I already had it in my mind that it was something I wanted to do when I applied for the junior year application process. 

RJ: Both of my older brothers did QuestBridge during their college process, so I also knew about it when I was younger. I applied during my junior year as well. 

AB: I heard about it from Day’mon and Theresa. They were talking about it a lot in junior year, and then my senior year, they said you should apply, and I thought “Why not!”

 

What types of extracurriculars do you participate in on and off campus?

DW: I lead two clubs - Black Student Forum and Daroff Tutoring. 

TM: I’m more on the sportsy side. I’m the captain of the FCS squash team, and I’m also the captain on my team for SquashSmarts outside of FCS. I’ve been playing for five years now. I also helped mentor some other QuestBridge kids this year. 

RJ: Like Theresa, I’m on the sports side of things. I did cross country and outdoor track all four years at FCS. Outside of FCS, my sophomore summer, I did a program called Lenox Hill Brainterns. It’s a two-month seminar where you learn about the life of a neurosurgeon and different procedures and diseases. 

AB: Mine are like Theresa, too. I play squash at FCS, and I’m also part of SquashSmarts. I’ve been playing squash since the end of sixth grade. I was also captain of the cheer team. If I’m not playing sports, I’m at church. I usher and sing for the choir. I always like to try something new, see where life takes you.

 

What was your favorite class and teacher at FCS?

AB: I’m pretty well-rounded with classes, but I like my math teachers the most. And this may be biased, but Mr. Darling is the best teacher ever. 

DW: My favorite classes are Integrated Physics with Mr. Gruber and Constitutional Identity with Mr. Fogel. Picking a favorite teacher is hard, because there are so many teachers that I have formed a connection with. This year, my favorite has been Anna Schall. She’s my homeroom teacher, and I also have her for Physics II. She’s one of the most understanding teachers I’ve ever had. She prioritizes you as a person before you as a student. 

RJ: I’m with Alliyah - my favorite class was Algebra II with Mr. Darling. He’s a very straightforward teacher. I would also say Mr. Rosengarten. I never had him in class, but he was my homeroom teacher in tenth grade, and he guided me throughout Upper School. He helped me pick the right courses to take. He really helped me in my early years of Upper School.

TM: I’m going the route people typically don’t go, but my favorite classes were Chem I and Chem II. They were by far the hardest classes, but I loved the classes and the environment. Dr. Hanson and Mr. Guides were still lively, even when everything was virtual. My favorite teacher is Plunky [Ms. Plunkett]. She has been the most understanding teacher I’ve had. She worked with me and prioritized my mental health. She let me know that even when things were hard, that didn’t determine who I am as a student. I’d also say Mr. Kennedy. His grading was hard, and he really makes you sit with the work and read what you wrote and understand that you can do better.

 

Is there anyone else that has had an impact on you?

All: [Laughing] Maryclaire [Upper School Administrative Assistant]! 

AB: She’s a real thrill. Even though she’s not a teacher, I think she understands everyone. She’s so honest. If you’re stressed, you can just go to Maryclaire’s office. She provides a very safe space. 

DW: I’d also like to shout out Erica Snowden [Director of Equity, Belonging & Inclusion]. She’s been great her last two years. I’m glad I got to experience her. 

TM: Also, my favorite person on campus by far is Ms. Tomes [Middle & Upper School Counselor]. You can’t talk about Friends’ Central without talking about Ms. Tomes. She is one of the people that makes the campus the campus. She is always there for me. Without her, I don’t think I’d be where I am.

RJ: I also want to add Mr. Guides. I never had him as a teacher, but just walking down the halls and seeing him, we’ve had great conversations. 

 

What are you most proud of about your time at FCS?

DW: Getting into college and getting an A in Chemistry.

AB: I’d also say college, but there was also one time I got three A’s back-to-back in calc and I was like, “Okay! I’m real proud of this!”

RJ: When I heard all four of us got matched through QuestBridge, I knew that was really rare. I was so happy. 

TM: Hearing all four of us were matched was the happiest moment. Also, finding out I was chosen to speak at graduation. I didn’t expect people to vote for me so I was really surprised. 

 

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to FCS students coming after you?

TM: Don’t let academics, sports, and extra curriculars take up all of your time. Time is really crucial, and when high schoolers are so engulfed in extracurriculars and academics, we don’t spend enough time with our families. 

DW: Cherish your four years. A lot of people in our Upper School group were stripped away of two years of school due to COVID-19. Being a ninth grader you think, “I have three more years to do all of the things I want to do,” but if I could go back I would have done more sooner. Cherish your moments with your friends, reach out to people you wouldn’t normally reach out to, and try new things because no ones going to remember the awkward thing you did. I missed out on opportunities I may have liked because I was worried what other people might think.

RJ: Try not to compare yourself to other students. I was doing that a lot in my early years and during the college process. You’re always comparing yourself to the person next to you, but that’s hard to do when we all have different backgrounds and stories. Try to transfer that feeling into motivation. I turned that competitiveness into hope.

AB: It’s okay to focus on yourself. During the COVID years it was hard to prioritize mental health. Find your happiness, and make sure you put yourself before everything else. 

 

What goals do you have for the next four years of college?

DW: My goal is to find my niche. I want to find out what I’m passionate about. I want to find something that I can talk about for hours and enjoy.

TM: I hope I find out who I truly am and what makes me happy. Besides family, I don’t know what makes me happy and gives me that extreme joy. I also hope I take the time to travel.

RJ: Mine is a mixture of Day’Mon and Theresa. I’d like to travel even though my school isn’t far away. Hopefully, I’ll go overseas and take a course there. I’d also like to find my comfort zone between academics and social life.

AB: I’d also like to travel. I kind of know what I want to do with my life. I have some direction, so I’d love to land a job or an internship I can be proud of. My goal is to find something I’m not only passionate about but that I can be proud of.

 

What is your favorite memory from your senior year?

DW: Being in school.

All: [Nodding in agreement].

AB: After prom. It was the most comfortable I felt with everyone.

DW: I also felt the same way on the last day of classes.

TM: I agree. The last day of classes was my favorite day.

RJ: My favorite memory was just chilling in the Oval on a nice day. 

 

Any last thoughts?

AB: Tell the juniors, and the seniors, apply to QuestBridge! Counselors may say it’s rare and selective, but here we are, four people that matched when acceptance rates were only 10%.

TM: Believe in yourself. At the end of the day, only you know how capable you are. 

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