Buffalo State Honors Challenge Program Students at Awards Luncheon

Buffalo State Honors Challenge Program Students at Awards Luncheon

Posted: July 10, 2017

Buffalo State hosted the seventh annual Challenge Awards Luncheon on June 26. More than 200 students and guests attended the event to celebrate the academic achievements of students from McKinley High School and Middle Early College High School.

The program is an early outreach initiative designed to cultivate college-going awareness among students in Buffalo’s public schools, beginning in the ninth grade. Through mentoring relationships, community service and leadership development, and academic support services offered by Buffalo State’s pre-collegiate programs, the program starts students on the road to a successful college experience.

"Of the seven awards luncheons to date, this one ranks as especially unique," said Ken Robinson, assistant director of early outreach programming. "It was the very first awards program to recognize our Middle Early College High School participants and our inaugural partnerships with the Civic and Community Engagement Office [formerly the Volunteer and and Service-Learning Center] and Dr. Sarbani Banerjee of the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department."

Students who meet the “challenge” of graduating with an 85 or higher average, coupled with minimum SAT scores of 1080 or ACT Composite scores of 19, are admitted to Buffalo State with a $1,500 scholarship award, renewable for up to four consecutive years of enrollment. To date, four graduating cohorts and over 300 high school students have been served.

"As for academic output, we could not be happier," said Robinson. "The mean average of our honorees from both schools was an impressive 87. So a significant number are on track academically to secure the scholarship.”

At the event, honorees were recognized in three categories—"Honorable Mention," "Benchmark," and "Aim High Superstar." Two students, Crystal Hernandez (10th grade, McKinley) and Carlos Guzman (9th grade, Middle Early College) received "Student of the Year" awards, for highest averages, 96.89 and 97.5 respectively.

Special “Partners for Progress” awards were presented to Aurora Schunk, assistant director of Civic and Community Engagement and Dr. Banerjee, professor of CIS. A "Champion Award" was presented to Hal Payne, special assistant to the president for community development, who, as vice president of student affairs, supported the Challenge program’s implementation in 2010. Buffalo State alumna Marsha Jackson, ’85, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker and delivered a stirring address to students and parents about succeeding in the face of obstacles.

This event was supported by the Admissions, Enrollment Management, RITE, CEURE, Alumni Affairs, and Dean of Students offices. For more information about the program, please call 878-5024.

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