Jaydin Martinez, a junior at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, spoke on behalf of students who benefit from the Inner-City Scholarship Fund to the nearly 400 guests at the fund’s 41st annual awards dinner at the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan Dec. 4.
“The scholarship is a great opportunity, and I am grateful for it,” Martinez told CNY. “Without the program, I would not have gone to Mount St. Michael, learned as much as I had, made the friends I have and grown as a person intellectually as I have.”
Established in 1971 by Cardinal Terence Cooke and a group of executives from many religious backgrounds, the Inner-City Scholarship Fund assists more than 8,000 Catholic school students annually in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Ninety-eight percent of inner-city Catholic high school seniors graduate and 95 percent pursue post-secondary education.
The dinner, which raised $1.9 million, also celebrated the successful completion of the $125 million “Kids Are Our Capital’’ endowment campaign, which received a record-setting gift of $40 million from Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman in 2015 and a $40 million commitment from the archdiocese.
David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, received the 2017 James B. Lee Jr. LifeLink Award.
“CBS Sunday Morning’’ correspondent Mo Rocca served as master of ceremonies. Rebirth Brass Band, a New Orleans brass and Grammy-Award winning band founded in 1983, performed to conclude the evening.
“I’m beyond grateful for the supporters in the room who have affected the lives of countless students through their commitment and support of Catholic schools,” said Susan George, executive director of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
Martinez, the son of Derek Martinez and Chazley Gonzalez, attended public school before having the opportunity to attend St. Lucy’s School in the Bronx in the third grade.
“When I went to Catholic school, it was such a change, and it helped me grow due to the work ethic and what they instill in me. They want to help you learn and provide you with tools to succeed,” said Martinez, who is a member of the Marist Youth and Film/Philosophy clubs at Mount St. Michael.
Martinez just visited his first college, Seton Hall University in New Jersey, as he begins his search for a college. “I’m planning to become a lawyer and practice within New York,” he said.