[Video] 2017 ECAF Scholars

Twenty-nine New Jersey high school graduates who overcame tremendous personal obstacles were awarded ETS Community Action Fund (ECAF) Scholarships, during a recent ceremony on the ETS Princeton campus.

ECAF Scholarships are 100 percent funded by donations from ETS employees for local students who, despite facing considerable personal challenges, overcame and achieved academic excellence. Since ETS started the ECAF program in 2007, $1 million in scholarships have been awarded.

“Being on a team has taught me there’s always someone watching, seeing how you carry yourself,” said Brittney Delgado, an ECAF Scholarship winner. “You have to be reliable, and if you’re gonna do something, you do it.”

Delgado will be continuing her athletic career as a cross-country athlete at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Del.

Like Delgado, other scholarship winners expressed how the challenges they took on outside of the classroom helped them develop a sense of purpose and motivation to succeed in the classroom.

Emanuel Manaiya, who will be studying psychology and neuroscience at Union County College in Cranford, N.J., started two medical science clubs while in high school. Manaiya wanted to create opportunities for his fellow classmates to share their passion for the sciences.

“Making a major difference in somebody else’s life, it’s rewarding to me,” Manaiya said. “Seeing that satisfaction, seeing them be happy, it makes me happy.”

The determination, grit and willingness to take challenges head-on are what made these 29 students stand out among the 1,100 applications the scholarship committee reviewed.

“We are so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished,” said Lenora Green to the scholarship winners. “We know that you will soar to even greater accomplishments. We believe in you.”

Green, the Executive Director of ETS’s Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy, manages ETS’s scholarship fundraising and programming.