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. The foundation’s scholarship from this charitable, donor advised fund memorializes New Milford High School graduate Darren Drake. The New Milford resident died in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017.
The Fund awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior of New Milford High School. The student pursues training in the trade or technical professions. Arakelian plans to attend Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack, New Jersey.
During high school, she also attended the New Milford High School Academies. Students attend this intensive program beyond their regular school day. The Academies’ mission helps students think critically and rationally. They also enjoy the learning process in a cohort and are exposed to life experiences to help prepare them for events beyond high school. Each quarter, students receive 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 also changed her perspective about school and provided her with a better understanding of many activities. Ultimately, she 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.
Darren Drake’s Legacy Continues
Drake served on the New Milford Board of Education. As a school board member, he also identified the need to meet a shortage of skilled labor. In particular, he found a need for trained workers in the trade and technical professions. He recognized preparing high school students interested in pursuing vocational careers fills this need.
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. Furthermore, Darren’s parents advise the Fund. The public also continues 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. Send a check made out to ‘The Northern NJ Community Foundation’. Enter ‘Darren Drake Memorial Fund’ in the memo line. Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-568-5608.