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Awards & Recognition

Two Springfield achievers awarded Springfield Housing Authority’s Farris Mitchell Scholarships

Two Springfield achievers awarded Springfield Housing Authority’s Farris Mitchell Scholarships

Graduating seniors Kassandra Curet and Ahmed A. Moge have been awarded this year’s Farris Mitchell Scholarships from the Springfield Housing Authority.

The scholarships, awarded each year to an SHA resident or recipient of an SHA-managed rental assistance voucher, are named in honor of a man with a third-grade education who instilled in his own 10 children a love of education and a drive to do better.

This year’s recipients say they plan to honor the late Farris Mitchell by completing college and having successful lives, one as a soccer coach and the other as an end-of-life medical caregiver.

“I’m so excited, and so grateful,” said Moge, a Somalian native who graduates from Central High School in June and will attend Springfield Technical Community College in September. “This is really going to help me a lot, to get started in school.”

Moge lives at Robinson Gardens Apartments in the city’s Pine Point neighborhood.

Fellow scholarship recipient Curet had similar sentiments.

“I feel blessed and honored and privileged to be chosen for this,” she said.  “It’s really going to help.” Curet just completed the Allied Health program at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, and will pursue a nursing degree, starting at Holyoke Community College.

This is the 19th year the scholarships have been awarded, and Mitchell said his father, who died in 1994, would be proud and happy to know it. The scholarship was started by the family, with help from SHA, in the year following the death of the man they so admired and emulated. SHA moved last year from a single annual $1,000 scholarship to two scholarships in that same amount.

“My family is so happy about this,” said Jimmie Mitchell, SHA’s youth engagement coordinator. “We never expected it would go on for 19 years, and that so many young people have been able to go to college and stay in college, thanks to this.”

Farris Mitchell, his wife and their 10 children at Riverview Apartments in the Brightwood section of the city. Farris Mitchell loved children, and instilled in his children and many others in the neighborhood a desire to improve their future through education. All of his children finished high school and seven of the 10 completed college.

The scholarship is administered by Farris Mitchell’s son Jimmie Mitchell, a retired Springfield educator. Winners are chosen by an SHA committee that Mitchell is on.

This year’s recipients are standout students with plans to do well in their lives.

Central High School graduate Ahmed A. Moge with Springfield Housing Authority's Youth Engagement Officer.

Central High School graduate Ahmed A. Moge with Springfield Housing Authority’s Youth Engagement Coordinator.

Moge was born in war-torn Somalia, left in 1997 at the age of four with his mother and two sisters after the death of his father, Abdu Kadin. They lived in a refugee camp for six years before arriving in Springfield, where they have lived at Robinson Gardens Apartments ever since.

Moge’s dream is to eventually major in Arabic – he is fluent in both Somalian and English – and find meaningful work that will help others, possibly emigrant families like his own. His short-term goal is to coach soccer, a sport he loves and excelled at, but was forced to take a leave due to an injury last fall.

As the first in his family to head to college, it is an understatement to say that Moge is excited about his future.

“This is going to show my mom that all the struggles she had, all her hardships and hard work, is paying off. I did this for her,” said the 21-year-old.

Already, he has received a warm welcome at STCC, where President Ira H. Rubenzahl, who gave him a personal welcome and tour of the campus.

Curet is a lifelong Springfield resident who lives with her family at SHA’s Manilla Apartments, also in the city’s Pine Point neighborhood. While she was interested in a nursing career for as long as she can remember, the 18-year-old began focusing on hospice care after losing several close friends and family members.

“I’ve seen people in hospice care, and I’ve seen the difference it makes in people at the end of their lives. It’s so rewarding. I know that’s what I want to do,” she said.

SHA Youth Engagement Officer Jimmie Mitchell and Putnam Vocational Technical Academy graduate Kassandra Curet.

SHA Youth Engagement Coordinator Jimmie Mitchell and Putnam Vocational Technical Academy graduate Kassandra Curet.

Curet will complete an associate’s degree at HCC and then transfer to a four-year college, where she will major in nursing. She said the Farris Mitchell Scholarship will help her get started, giving her funds for the books and supplies she will need during her freshman year.

Jimmie Mitchell said both Moge and Curet are outstanding candidates who will do well in school, and in life.

“Both are excellent choices,” Mitchell said. “They’re standout students, they’re both very determined to do well and I am confident they will do just that.”

3637 days ago / Awards & Recognition
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