The 2016/17 Perelstein Scholars



Meet the 2016 Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund Discover Your Passion Scholars:

Grand Prize Elementary SchoolJackson Furlong, grade 2 – P.S. 89Q

$5,000 for a program or programs to support profoundly gifted children.

Jackson is a second grader with a passion and curiosity for complex science.  This award will enable him to participate in programs developed specifically to support profoundly gifted children.

In his own words:

“Isaac Newton and I have a lot in common. He didn’t have a lot of friends or like to eat dinner instead he studied things… I can’t learn what I want to…at school. We don’t have a science lab. We get science once a week….My science teacher was teaching about properties of matter, but she didn’t want to discuss plasma, or dark matter.”

Grand Prize Middle SchoolTia Poquette, grade 8 – The Computer School

$5,000 for a trip to Denmark to meet designers, artists and engineer who have made careers “playing with LEGOS”, and to visit the LEGO factory.

Tia’s sustained interest has developed a 3 year old game into an intense passion as an 8th grader.  She finds inspiration in the buildings of New York and designs and builds cities, buildings and other architectural structures with LEGOS, tears them down and builds them all over again.  After she lost her father suddenly a year ago, immersing herself in the creativity she finds with LEGOS has given her an outlet to express her emotions.

Grand Prize High SchoolNeel Nagarajangrade 12 – Trinity School

$5,000 to further develop his non-profit organization called Perfect Unison, bringing together classical music composers and performers which enable aspiring composers to have their works performed by trained musicians.

Neel had the good fortune to receive musical training starting at age four.  Over the years he had opportunities to study voice, piano, composing in all kinds of organizations, and found himself drawn into a musical community where he has met many of his closest friends.

Neel identified a void in the music world where many aspiring composers do not have opportunities to find musicians to perform their work and are stymied in their progress.  He started Perfect Unison with his earnings from musical performances and believes it can be scaled to help more musicians by developing a website, identifying advertising and fundraising strategies, paying for studio quality recordings for composer/performer creations, and taking online courses in running non-profit organizations.

Neel hopes that through Perfect Unison, young people will have more interest in writing more classical music and to renew interest in classical music among youth.

Sydney AdamsGrade 7 – The Computer School

$3,000, towards purchase of art supplies and art classes and/or art camp.

Sydney has always been an artist at heart, drawing, doodling and sketching in her free time.  Although she has artists in her immediate family, and has beautiful art in her home, she has never taken an art class outside school.  Sydney has experimented with different materials, styles and art forms and these have taken her to study the cultures and countries that these originate in.  At present her major interest is the Anime or Manga style of art from Japan.

Sydney would like to buy higher quality and more supplies, which would free her to draw more without fear of running out of supplies.  And she would love to have the opportunity to study with mentors and be exposed to other artists.  Her art has helped her express the emotions associated with the terminal illness and loss of her baby brother less than a year ago.

Madelynn and Gwendolyn OhGrade 7 – Hunters Point Community Middle School

$2,500 to attend NY Math Circle throughout the school year, and Summer Technology Camp –ID Tech.

Gwendolyn has a profound interest in anything from electronics to robotics, and Madelynn loves chemistry, using random things around the house to make things that can help people.  These programs will provide the girls with opportunities to extend their study of math and science beyond what they are able to learn in school to more clearly identify and pursue their passions.

Chloe ParekhGrade 2 – International School of Brooklyn

$2,000 for private painting lessons and art camp at Rhode Island School of Design.

Chloe is a very sophisticated artist for her age, with a passion that compels her to draw from the moment she wakes up, during every free moment until she goes to bed.  She looks forward to school holidays when she can draw all day.

A children’s book illustrator came to her class when Chloe was in first grade and she was very taken with the presentation. Chloe says that she would like to be an illustrator when she grows up.  Her current pictures indeed look like children’s book illustrations already.

Sarah SotomayerGrade 12 – St. Ann’s School

$1,500 for equipment and/or instruments to further her ability to study, and compose music.

Sarah joined the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at age 9 as a way to sing more and learn to sing better.  She also sang in her church choir.  Sarah took advantage of every chance to study music, including composition that she got at St. Ann’s, which she attends on full scholarship.  She has learned as much as she can from resources and equipment available to her.  With electronic equipment she believes she can begin composing at home and be prepared for a composing major at college.

Jeremy KimGrade 9 – Hunter College High School 

Justin Kim – Grade 12 – Bronx High School of Science

Together awarded $1,500 for a joint project: a feasibility study and to create a prototype of an inflatable suit for jumping from high places in emergency situations.

Jeremy and Jason are interested in using science, math and robotics to solve world problems and help people.  They have jointly developed a number of other devices along these lines for many years.  The impetus for this inflatable suit was the World Trade Center disaster but it might be used for evacuation from high buildings or planes or in other emergency situations.  The suit could be filled with helium and would allow one to fall slowly after jumping to avoid injury.

With their award the young men propose to do initial research about the feasibility of this idea from a scientific (physics, chemistry, materials science etc.) perspective and try to find an advisor or mentor to help them, such as a teacher or a college professor, and a place with lab space that they can use to develop their prototype.

The winners will receive their scholarships on December 31, 2016.  A presentation of work and celebration of our winners – including recipients from the previous years of awards, will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, NY, from 9:00 am -12:00n.  More details to follow.

The School Choice Group, is the leading global education consulting firm, specializing in school placement for private, public, specialized and international schools, from preschool through college. With over 140 experienced consultants, including Special Educators in 77 locations globally, the SCG works to help find the right schools for children, anywhere in the world. An industry leader, The School Choice Group Founder and Chair, Elizabeth Perelstein, co-founded the British International School of New York. Its business division, School Choice International, also conducts research, provides survey data and policy analysis for corporations, schools and governments setting or re-evaluating education policy. School Choice International innovated the only web-based resource to compare education across the globe, Global Education Explorer.  Its consumer division, School Search Solutions, developed the first school-child matching tool, LEAP that considers both subjective and objective criteria between the child and school. For more information see

Parents of Accelerated Learners, NYC [PALNYC] & The P.A.L. Workshops support NYC-based parents and their children by offering educational workshops, talent development-based resources and programs, mentorships and a discovery platform for web and app-based learning tools for kids. PALNYC connects experts with parents to support the cognitive, social and emotional needs of their children. PALNYC is passionate about closing the education gap in NYC by providing access to events at low or no cost to make sure that every parent who wants to pursue quality education for their child has that opportunity. PALNYC is a founding sponsor of the NYC Gifted and Talented Symposium, a one day event to support high potential youth. For more information or sponsorship see

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