Senator Chuck Allen III Scholarship Fund
Current Awardees

2014 Scholarship Recipients

Nichelle Hobby
to attend Southern Connecticut State University

My name is Nichelle Hobby and I am a graduating senior at Wilbur Cross High School. I began my senior year at Cross in October of 2013 after leaving AF Amistad High. Overall I can say my transition has been a process but I have been on track and with my acceptance to Southern Connecticut State University I am ready to soar. I know that my decision to come to Cross was the right thing to do. Without the help of all of my teachers and the guidance department, I don’t know if I would have been capable of getting through all that has happened this year. Personally, I have had many obstacles in front of me that were hard to deal with by myself. I appreciate all of the people that have helped me and for them doing the things that they did for me is just a wonderful feeling. Transferring to Wilbur Cross will forever and always be one of the best decisions I have made in my education. Many people may look at me and my education and say why, just why, and for others to question me, is actually an insult. I feel insulted when people ask why I left Amistad because it is like being told my decision was a mistake or stupid. I left Amistad because I stayed back due to illnesses and absences caused by the illnesses. Instead of graduating in 2014 I would have been graduating in 2015 with an extra year of high school underneath my belt due to the absences. At first, I decided to stay at Amistad because everyone told me it was for the best, that I wouldn’t regret it in the end and that they prepare students for college. I no longer speak negative about Amistad because I am a forgiving person who was raised to never hold a grudge and to live life. The structure of the school was the problem for my situation. I do not regret my decision to come to Cross because overall if no one else sees my successes here, I do. I see all of the little blessings that I have received in my education and in my life do to this decision. Amistad was a school, Cross is like a second home. I haven’t felt that way about school since middle school and it actually is a relief to feel that way again. I know that when I leave Cross, it won’t be the last time they see me. I will come back to update each and every one of the people who worked with me and tell them about my success. But most importantly, I will let them know I am still thankful and I still love and appreciate all of them for what they have done for me.

Manuel Collazo 
Creation of an Application:
Increasing safety for the LGBT Community
See Manuel's video here.

Hate crimes: we all know about them but how much do we really know? The subject of hate crimes is actually growing and the rate it’s growing at is alarming. Just over the summer Islan Nettles, a transsexual female of color, was brutally beaten into a coma and later died due to her injuries. Islan is one of many of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) members of the community who have also suffered the same fate. Gay bashing seems to be one of the more recent and more common hate crimes as queer people are getting beaten to within an inch of their lives and sometimes past even that for just being and expressing who they are. I am developing my application to try to put an end to this particular type of hate crime and to have everyone feel safe no matter where they are. It is everyone’s right to feel safe no matter if they are straight, gay, bi-sexual, lesbian, or transgender.

As a client of the Ali Forney Center, I am grateful to have a space to fully express who I am in a safe environment where I do not have to worry about being judged. The story of Ali Forney helped inspire me to make this app. Ali Forney was a member of the LGBT community and in his youth he was homeless, forced to live in the street and do what had to be done to survive. I have been inspired by this and many other stories I have heard and been deeply bothered by. As part of the Learning, Education, Advancement, and Placement (L.E.A.P.) program we are asked to do a project that would have an impact on the community. Therefore, I made a few surveys to better understand the impact that hate crimes and safety concerns have on my community. The results I got back were deeply concerning. The majority of the results showed that people were scared for their safety. 
After analyzing the results of the survey, I decided to create this application is to show the LGBT community where to go when feeling unsafe. The application provides information on which neighborhoods are LGBT friendly and which are not so LGBT friendly. This information would help unify the LGBT community by highlighting ideal spaces to utilize. Additionally, within the application there is a community wall that allows everyone to comment and support each other. In those dire times of need, a friendly comment can make someone feel more supported and safe when they are feeling alone and scared.
This app will spread the word about which neighborhoods are LGBT friendly and which are not, allowing us to unite more in the community. The application will empower us to protect one another and to guide each other. It will provide an easily accessible way for us learn from each other’s experiences and to help us all grow from our mistakes.
This app has potential to help so many LGBT youth and adults alike. Instead of always worrying about where to go and how to access resources (i.e. safe spaces and health services) the app will provide a continually-updated list of resources. The application also provides the simple but essential message of hope. By talking with others, learning and growing together, one increases feelings of hope. 
I have created this application, putting in countless hours to craft it, because I am passionate about providing information about safe spaces and available resources to help those who are often victims of hate crimes: those who identify and/or present as LGBT. I have also created this application because I want to not only spread awareness, but I want to spread hope as well. I want to increase the hopeful feelings that things will get better. Together we can spread this hope. I thank you for the consideration.