Meet This Year's Blackstone/Franklin Book Scholarship Winners

Four South End students received $1,500 to help cover the cost of books as they enter college.

Congratulations to the 2012 recipients of the Blackstone/Frankline Square Neighborhood Association book scholarship winners. South End students Jack Tan, Lexie Salters, Daniel Lang andBriana Hooks each received $1,500 to help cover the cost of books as they enter college. Book costs have become a significant cost for the families of collegiate students, which is why the association has earmarked their scholarship to help defray the expense.

The association has provided the following write-ups for each winner. Congratulations to all four of them:

Jack Tan

With less than seven hours of sleep one morning after working a long shift serving meals at a banquet five years ago, Jack Tan’s father imparted a message on his son that has motivated the recent Boston Latin School graduate ever since.

“’He said ‘You must do well in school so you can live a better life than I am living right now,” Tan wrote in his essay. “He stepped out in the balcony to smoke a cigarette and walked out the door still tired from the previous night.

“As an immigrant from China, his limited knowledge left him with no choice but to work in backbreaking jobs. Since that day, his worlds have inspired me to do well in school and no matter what obstacles I may face during my journey, I must fight it and stay strong in order to make it to college.”

The Castle Square resident graduated from Latin with a 3.79 GPA this spring and will attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in the fall.

While at Boston Latin, Tan also helped found the BLS Food Uniting School Everywhere Club, which brings students from different cultures together through food. He also worked on the school newspaper and volunteered for the Chinatown Main Streets.

“What separates Mr. Tan from other students is that he’s not afraid to ask for help and clarification,” Tan’s English teacher, Blake Barich, wrote in a letter of recommendation. “He truly advocates for his learning.”

Lexis Salters

While her friends have experienced or witnessed violence while living in Dorchester, Lexis Salters has had a relatively peaceful time living the Methunion Manor on Columbus Avenue.

“Being in an area where you see others respecting one another is something that can be rare in Boston,” the Cathedral High graduate who will attend the University of New Haven wrote in her scholarship application. “I love living in the South End because my community has taught me to be a respectful individual who treats others equally.

“I have been privileged to be able to walk to and from school in the dark without being afraid of what is around the corner. The peaceful mindset that the South End has given me something to is disappearing from Boston. Others told me how dangerous it can be. But I told them to take time and experience the South End.”

A three-sport athlete at Cathedral High, Salters graduated with a 4.0 GPA. The soccer, basketball and softball player was also the president of her school’s National Honors Society chapter.

Salters was also captain of the soccer, basketball and softball teams.

“Her quiet, yet strong leadership is acknowledged by her peers and teachers, but also by her coaches, both at Cathedral and in the conference,” Salters’ English teacher Michael Csorba wrote in a reference letter.


Daniel Liang

Most high school seniors might not think it’s a good idea to list video games as an interest in a scholarship application.

Not Daniel Liang, who also listed hanging out with friends and surfing the web among his interests.

“Honesty is the best policy,” Liang said during an interview for the scholarship.

That’s because the recent Boston Latin School graduate instituted a self-imposed video game playing ban on himself during the school week. The discipline paid off as the Castle Square resident graduated with a 3.08 GPA and will attend Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in the fall.

“As a pharmacist, I can provide assistance to people who are sick or in need of help in a scientific field I am interested in,” Liang wrote in his application. “Another thing I hope to get out of college are everlasting relationships with the student body as making friends is one of the most enjoyable thing in life …”

The Castle Square resident is also interested in Chinese lion dancing and weight training. He also spent time on the Boston Latin wrestling team.

“Daniel is an active young man who is always on the go and he has spent the past two years participating in traditional Chinese Lion Dance,” Liang’s guidance counselor Elaine Sylvester wrote in a letter of recommendation. “He spends every Saturday and Sunday dancing to the sounds of cymbals and drugs and group performances and he has enjoyed sharing this tradition with others.” 

Briana Hooks

After moving to the South End from Worcester four years ago, it didn’t take Briana Hooks long to get acclimated at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School.

Joining the softball, basketball and volleyball teams helped her get acclimated and make friends. The outgoing senior recently graduated with a 3.4 GPA and will attend UMass Boston in the fall. 

“I think this scholarship is a great way of getting kids in my community to realize their dreams of furthering their education,” she wrote in her application. “I hope that this opportunity makes others and myself to reach success easier. Having this scholarship will eliminate one financial cost that is being place on South End kids.”

Hooks’ guidance counselor, Ronald Inniss said she has served as a leader both on and off the athletic fields.

“Briana is a wonderful young woman who has enjoyed a high degree of success academically while enriching our school community,” Inniss wrote in a reference letter. “She is a true role model who has positively influenced our school culture and enhanced our Burke community.”


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