JUNE 6, 2017 The Karl Gabriel Scholarship, named for our beloved “Treasurer for Life,” bestowed annually through the Community Chest of the Commonwealth Club, was awarded to Samantha Rego and Nathan Farrell, seniors at Montclair High. Samantha is going to attend Georgetown University, while Nathan is staying closer to home and going to Columbia.

Here are some excerpts from interviews I conducted via email with both award winners:

Samantha: Living in Montclair has taught me the value of diversity and being exposed to people from different backgrounds with different beliefs. There is a lot you can learn by surrounding yourself with people who have different perspectives from you. I learned to question, not blindly accept and thereby be limited by the views of my political party, family, religion, or community. I have had to identify and advocate for my own values in times of disagreement, which has helped me grow and learn more about myself.

I chose Georgetown because people there share many of the same values that I do. Georgetown encourages their students to use their education to serve others, especially the most disadvantaged members of a community. The education they provide serves a greater purpose than aiding in getting a job that will make you a lot of money. They also value diversity, encouraging students to study a variety of subjects outside of their comfort zone and bringing together students from many different backgrounds. I plan on majoring in biology so their position as a top research institution also influenced my decision. I am considering pursuing a career in research following graduation since there is still so much we do not know about biology, possibly in the healthcare field to hopefully improve the quality of life for people suffering from debilitating diseases around the world. 

I play field hockey and softball. I like to read in my free time, mostly fiction books. I like watching Yankees games and I grew up listening to the Beatles.

Nathan: My experience with Montclair has made me someone who has been exposed to a lot of different backgrounds, and this has made me more empathetic toward people of different walks of life. Being from a highly developed suburb with such close proximity to New York has also allowed me to receive an in depth education from true experts, as well as an understanding of the privilege I have had in growing up and developing here. I like to sing and play saxophone.

I decided on Columbia because as someone who is extremely dedicated to growing as a musician and scientist, I needed to find a place that could offer great opportunities in both areas. The music scene in New York is unmatched anywhere else in the world and the opportunities available for musicians and science majors at Columbia are also very appealing. 

My major is tentatively chemistry but I intend on studying music and political science as well. I’m not sure what specifically I plan to after college but I know I will always be involved in music in addition to potentially pursuing medical school or chemical research.

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