Third Meriden Resident Joins Prestigious Alma Exley Scholarship Family
Hartford, Conn., May 4, 2016 – Orlando Valentin, Jr., of Meriden, a student at the University of Connecticut, has become the third Meriden resident to be honored by the Alma Exley Scholarship Program, which promotes greater diversity in the teaching profession.
Valentin was introduced to educators, previous recipients and supporters of the program at a reception on Wednesday, May 4, at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford.
Previous Exley Scholarship recipients from Meriden were Dr. Miguel Cardona, assistant superintendent of Meriden Public Schools, who was honored in 1998, and Nadine Rosa, a special education teacher at the city’s Platt High School, who received the Exley Scholarship in 2004.
A graduate of Wilcox Technical High School, Valentin is a student in the Neag School of Education at UConn. He received a bachelor of science in elementary education with a concentration in science in May 2014 and slated to receive a master of science in curriculum and instruction on May 7.
Valentin has an outstanding record of academic achievement, public service and campus leadership. He has been a martial arts practitioner and instructor for 15 years. While pursuing a variety of extra-curricular activities at UConn, he has achieved a strong academic record and has won praise from the faculty for outstanding performance in his student teaching assignments.
Valentin joins 26 others previously honored in the program established in memory of Alma Exley of West Hartford, who died in March 1995 from breast cancer. Until her death, she was leading the effort at the State Department of Education to bring more people of color into the teaching profession in Connecticut.
Previous scholarship recipients are serving as educators in Hartford, Hamden, Manchester, Meriden, New Haven and Westport, Conn., and in public schools across the United States. Meet them at www.almaexleyscholarship.org
The Alma Exley Scholarship Program is intended to honor future teachers who mirror the diversity of the student population, understand students’ diverse cultural backgrounds, serve as positive role models for minority and non-minority students, and provide a classroom environment that respects and celebrates a diversity of cultures.
Alma Exley envisioned the program as a way to recognize and support outstanding persons of color who are preparing for careers in education. She believed that students of all ethnic backgrounds would benefit from greater diversity in the teaching profession.
According to figures from the State Department of Education, only about seven percent of public school teachers in Connecticut are persons of color, whereas students of color comprise approximately 40 percent of the state’s public school pupils. Alma Exley Scholars are chosen from applicants who are enrolled in teacher-preparation programs throughout Connecticut.
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is “Where Good Begins” in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. The Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, manage permanent charitable assets effectively, and partner to address key community issues through strategic leadership. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org.