Farris Mitchell Scholarship
Putnam Academy senior wins SHA’s Farris Mitchell Scholarship
Alexandra Curet graduates next month with a solid A average at Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy, and bright plans for a future as a kindergarten teacher.
She also takes with her a $1,000 Farris Mitchell Scholarship from the Springfield Housing Authority – funds she will use for books and other expenses as she begins her studies this fall at Holyoke Community College.
“I feel so lucky, and blessed to be winning this,” said Curet, who is 18. “It means so much to me to be chosen.”
Over the past decade, the SHA has been funding up to two of the scholarships per year to a Springfield high school senior who either lives in public housing or has an authority-managed rental housing voucher.
This year, Curet is the sole awardee. She is also the second in her family to receive the scholarship – her elder sister Kassandra Curet, a student now at Springfield Technical Community College – won it four years ago.
“I know how much it meant to my sister to have this help at the beginning of her college. I know how much it’s going to help me,” Alexandra Curet said.
Curet lives in an SHA apartment in the Pine Point section of the city with her mother, Kisandra Figueroa, her sister, and her young niece.
At Putnam, she has studied in the Early Education program, even taking college-level courses – she heads to HCC with six credits under her belt – and a work-study job at the nearby Elias Brookings School. She knows she has found her vocation and looks forward to studying at the next level, which will bring her closer to her goal.
“I’ve always loved working with young children. It’s fun, and it’s so rewarding,” she said.
Curet had a visit at Putnam recently by SHA’s Youth Engagement Coordinator Jimmie Mitchell, who shared with her the details of the award.
Mitchell is not only a retired Dean of Students from Putnam, he is the eldest son of Farris Mitchell, for whom the scholarship is named. As such he is actively involved in getting the word out every spring for eligible students to apply.
Mitchell said he and his siblings are thrilled that the scholarship continues to live on, 23 years after the death of their father. The family lived at SHA’s Riverview Apartments, and the patriarch urged his children as well as the neighborhood children to stay in school and continue to learn and grow professionally.
Mitchell said he is gratified that so many young people in public housing have been able to benefit over the years.
“It means so much to me and my family to see this living on,” Mitchell said. “When you help young people in Springfield housing, the other kids find out about it and see that they have a chance, too. Kids in public housing deserve a chance just like everyone else.”
Mitchell added that his family is grateful for the ongoing SHA support.
“We always want to thank ‘Judge A’ (SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin) for believing in this scholarship,” Mitchell said.
For his part, Abrashkin said the SHA is more than happy to help young people achieve their educational dreams.
“We’ve seen the benefit of this over the years and we’re glad we have the opportunity to help,” Abrashkin said.
“Congratulations to Alexandra Curet.”
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