(Bergen County, New Jersey; August 6, 2020) — The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s (NNJCF) Darren Drake Memorial Fund names New Milford High School graduate Meg Arakelian the third recipient of a $2,000 scholarship award. This NNJCF charitable, donor advised fund memorializes New Milford High School graduate Darren Drake, who died in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017. The NNJCF is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey.
The Fund awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior of New Milford High School to pursue training in the trade or technical professions. Arakelian plans to attend Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack, New Jersey.
During high school, she attended the New Milford High School Academies, an intensive program students undertook outside of their regular school day. The Academies’ mission is to help students think critically and rationally, to enjoy the learning process in a cohort, and to be exposed to life experiences that may help to better prepare an individual for events beyond high school. Each quarter students are given a project to research, act on, show what they learned, and draw connections from learning to real life.
According to Arakelian, participating in the Academies’ program changed her perspective about school and provided her with a better understanding of many activities and ultimately, created a new learning experience. One of her biggest achievements was studying public speaking with Mrs. Urbaez.
“This class was absolutely life changing. I was able to learn how to speak properly in a long essay format, while keeping contact with the audience and still get my point across,” she explained. As a result, she spoke at the June 2019 Ted Talk, an all-day student run event broadcasted live from New Milford High School.
Continue Darren Drake’s Legacy
Drake, who served on the New Milford Board of Education, identified the need to meet a shortage of skilled labor in the trade and technical professions by preparing high school students interested in pursuing vocational careers. In remembrance of Drake, and as a lasting tribute to his lifelong love of and commitment to education, Moody’s Foundation provided the principal gift to establish the fund, which is advised by his parents. The public can continue Darren Drake’s commitment to education and his legacy through donations made in his memory.
Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law, and may be made online at https://www.nnjcf.org/cause-
Founded in 1998, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, public health, the environment, philanthropy, and the arts. The NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life. The Foundation’s partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other and sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.
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