The YWCA Darien/Norwalk will honor six local women who have made significant contributions to our community at the fourth Annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards & Luncheon on Thursday, May 16 at Woodway Country Club in Darien. The Women of Distinction Award is bestowed in recognition of the outstanding achievements of a select group of women who demonstrate the spirit of the YWCA’s brand vision to empower women. This year’s honorees are: Louise Parker Berry, Katie Farren (Young Woman of Distinction), Rita Ferri, Novelette Peterkin, Sueann Schorr, Ciara Thurlow and Babs White (distinguished service award).
Brandi Rogers – 10th grader at Brien McMahon High School
Duke University is a private college located in Durham, North Carolina and is quite welcoming with its magnificent court yards surrounded by beautiful brick buildings that give the feel of European castles. The stunning chapel rivals many more famous cathedrals that are known for being picture-perfect. I imagine that many have visited just to capture a photo, while many may even dream of having their wedding in this chapel. Everyone was so excited to explore the carefully crafted courtyards as a handful from the group hurriedly made their way to the stadium. The look on their faces as they enter an empty stadium tells me that they never believed that they would one day set foot on the home court of the Blue Devils-Coach K Court. The giggles and echoes came from both staff and students. Mr. Benson pointed to the jerseys of past players like Grant Hill and Shane Battier.
With much to offer, this humongous school has a 7:1 student to faculty ratio in core majors and over 15,000 students are enrolled. Around the school many students are able to express themselves with free drawing/writing. As we stroll to the student center the walkway was populated with the different organizations recruiting students as well as giving out information to their upcoming events. Currently, Duke is building more structures for its students. There are over 50 different organizations and extracurricular activities such as marketing club, yearbook, chronicles (newspaper), club sports, sororities/fraternities, and many more. Duke sports are not to be messed with. Its Division 1 Blue Devils are certain to throw down a good fight. But when talking about sports with these Blue Devils fans one needs to be careful not to mention University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC). UNC and Duke are rival schools that get very competitive when it comes to basketball and other competitions. Both Duke and UNC have a hall of fame to showcase their most memorable and storied moments. The glass cases showcase the different championship trophies and the players who made it happen. Taking a peak of the hallway which bears the NCAA banners made me even more curious. We dashed through the hallway with fear of being escorted out, but we were able to admire its beauty without any interruption.
To top off this magnificent experience we ran into three current Duke Players – sophomore #2 Quinn Cook, junior #15 Josh Hairston and freshman#13 Amile Jefferson, who graciously posed for pictures. Our group was late arriving to the chartered bus because everyone was texting and sharing their photos with family and friends back in Norwalk.
Gaining admission to Duke will require a much focused effort. A student needs an essay, a letter of recommendation, transcript, and test scores. Duke is a beautiful school and its Blue Devils fans share a level of warmth and comfort when they welcome prospective students like me.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gloria Jean Baptiste – 9th grader at Brien McMahon High School
I have always had a fondness for the institution that once groomed Michael Jordan into a phenomenal basket ball player and a smart business person. Long after he has retired from basketball his sneakers and clothing line are still a favorite among my peers. University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill is clearly a top choice for many high school juniors and seniors.
When we arrived at the admission center we were hustled off to the performing arts arena in order to accommodate the large group of other students and parents gathering there. The admission director quickly determined that the majority of the students in the room were juniors through an icebreaker exercise. We were quite restless and surprisingly the majority of the students were from the New England area – Connecticut and Massachusetts.
UNC at Chapel Hill was founded in 1789 and was the first state public university in nation. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is considered one of the best universities in the world. Chapel Hill ranks 10th among Money magazine’s top 100 “Best Places to Live in America,” based on a survey of cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. North Carolina is home to the state’s Research Triangle, which has one of the highest numbers of Ph.D.s per capita in the U.S. UNC has 40% of its students coming from out of state and 10% coming from out of the country. The campus is home to 10,000 students. The Greek life (sorority and fraternity) is alive on campus and students can participate in the more than 700 organizations.
Admission to UNC is through a holistic approach. They require two essays, transcripts, along with participation in community based activities, strong SAT or ACT test scores, strong recommendations and a rigorous schedule including advanced placement classes. It is clear that much weight is placed on the strengths that a student will bring to the institution. Each year they receive more than 50,000 applications from all over the world.
There is no surprise that athletics is a big part of the school culture. The famous ‘tar heels’ are well liked by so many of my fellow school mates. The excitement and joy that we all displayed as we toured the recreational facility says it all: “there is much love for UNC.” The school’s historical moments were well captured and are well displayed in its state-of-the art facility. I just got goose bumps walking through and visualizing the way it was so many years ago. I have dreamed of gaining admission to UNC and now after touring UNC I am determined to do my part to make this dream a reality.
North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
Camila Vellejo and Simone Sapp – 10th graders at Brien McMahon High School
The noise from the two lawnmowers forced us to listen attentively to our petite tour guide at the beginning of our tour of North Carolina Central University. The manicured lawn is certainly a statement of pride. Our student guide’s enthusiasm for the school was evident to us. She shared with us that North Carolina Central University was founded in 1909 by Dr. James E. Shepard as a private institution and opened its doors to students on July 5, 1910. In a short period of time we realized that NCCU is a very interesting and diverse college that offers various majors, sports, and extra-curricular activities. NCCU is widely known for studies in criminal justice, nursing, and business. As a matter of fact it is the #1 law school for women in the nation. This wonderful university allows students with many different capabilities to pursue an education.
The admission criteria include a 2.7 GPA, a 900 on the SAT’S. On the other hand the requirement for the honors program is a GPA of 3.5 and 1500 on the SAT’S. The University is focusing efforts on retention and graduation for its students. NCCU has a bio-manufacturing and a biomedical research institute and is now emerging as a leader in the study of health disparities. Students are involved in hands-on laboratory experience in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies based in Durham, North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park and elsewhere across the state of North Carolina.
The University is filled with pride. Besides everything the university offers, what stood out most for us is how united its student body is. One special event is the “10:40 break” every Tuesday and Thursday. Students are encouraged to join their community of students to enjoy performances from their sororities and fraternities, DJ’S and other performing arts clubs. NCCU’s motto is Truth and Service. NCCU was the first of North Carolina’s state-supported universities to require community service for graduation. Last year, NCCU students performed nearly 200,000 hours of service valued at $2.7 million to the Durham and regional economy. NCCU’s award-winning marching band, the Marching Sound Machine, was selected to perform on New Year’s Day 2011 in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California and NCCU recently joined NCAA Division I athletic competition as a returning member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
NCCU has a great campus that offers its students a great education and social life.