And the Winners Are…

The 2014 Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund Discover Your Passion competition winners.

The 2014 Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund Discover Your Passion competition winners.

PALNYC is thrilled to be a part of the third annual Discover Your Passion Competition, in partnership with The School Choice Group (SCG). The competition is targeted toward New York City students from 2nd through 8th grade who show exceptional promise and passion for an individual interest, such as academic fields, sports, music, the arts, community service, entrepreneurship, or technology. The focus on individual passion and the story behind the funds are what make this scholarship unique.

Michael Perelstein was a man who learned late in life the importance of passion and of doing what he loved. His untimely death at age 56, taught the ultimate lesson––the value of living your dreams––to his widow, Elizabeth Perelstein and his children, Sarah and Daniel Perelstein. The opportunity to foster this value led to the creation of this memorial scholarship award program.

Each entrant was required to submit a sample or demonstration of their endeavor, nomination letters, and a description of how the award monies will be used to further their unique passion.

Join us March 12, 2016 at the NYC G&T Symposium & Benefit as we introduce the winners of the 2015 Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund Discover Your Passion award winners:

Ashley Chiu, the grand prize winner is a 6th grade student at The Quad Prep School.  Her passion is sewing- especially historically-inspired work. Ashley’s love of sewing began with a sewing class at her local fabric store. She started thinking about historical costumes after seeing a “Colonial Girl Dress Up” game on Google. Ashley plans to use her $5,000.00 award money in three ways: (1) a better sewing machine (2) more materials such as fabric, thread, boning, etc., (3) classes offered by other historical costume designers.

Leo Lorge is a 7th grade student at The Computer School, who has a passion for interviewing bands and other interesting people. He became interested in interviewing because his parents hosted a show called Kidrockers.  Leo is inspired by the interview style of Jimmy Kimmel, who he says “just talks to people in a normal way and is very funny”.  Leo intends to use the $3,500.00 award money to pay for interview expenses, including filming and editing. He will attend classes and private coaching sessions to build his skills, and buy a camera.

Rowan Walter is a 6th grade student at The Speyer Legacy School with a passion for drawing, cartooning and animating.  Rowan likes to make people happy and to make them think – he believes the world needs more humor and that comics make people happy, helps them think in a different way and creates positive conversations.  Rowan will use his $3,500.00 award to pay for formal training to advance to the next level, which includes a comic book club and animation workshops.

Emma Yang, a 7th grade student at the Brearley School, has a strong passion for computer science, programming and using technology to solve problems, especially healthcare. Emma created a prototype for an app called ConcussionChecker, which can quickly and easily evaluate a concussion by looking for certain symptoms and performing a variety of tests. Her ultimate goal is to create an iPhone iOS app that helps patients with Alzheimer’s live their daily lives better. With her $3,500.00 award, Emma will be taking classes such as Introduction to Software Engineering and iOS Mobile Development, which will provide her with a good foundation for computer programming and training for mobile development for iOS devices, such as iPhone and iPad. The funding will also be used to purchase a one year subscription to tools (e.g. graphics tools, user interface and photo libraries) and services (e.g. app hosting and analytics) which will help her develop a professional grade app.

Declan Keegan is a 6th grade student at The Computer School, with a passion for playing piano.  He inherited his great-grandmothers’ upright piano when he was 7 and began taking lessons at the age of 9. Declan says he that he tried the guitar and trumpet, but chose the piano because it “spoke to him”. Declan will use his $1,500.00 award money to purchase a new piano and music lessons.

Alexander Kempe is a 3rd grade student at Success Academy Union Square and his passion is chess.  He has been playing chess since the age of 4 and competing in tournaments at 5.  A few of Alexander’s goals are to become a chess champion like Bobby Fischer, a great chess teacher like Bruce Pandolfini and to teach blind people how to play chess.  He will use his $1,500.00  award to pay for chess lessons.

Azriel and Azelia McCall are a brother and sister from Brooklyn, who attend PS 11, and are in grades 5 and 3, respectively.  Both have a passion for the violin.  They started playing violin 14 months ago at the Noel Pointer Foundation summer camp and fell in love with the instrument.  According to Azriel, the quote “Music is the universal language of mankind”, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, represents his and his sister’s passion.  Azriel and Azelia will use their $1,500.00 award money for music books, private lessons, and violin rentals.

For information on the scholarship see


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