July 14, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two Outstanding Springfield
Students to Attend Smith College
On Full-Tuition Scholarships
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-In recognition of
their academic achievements and "clear potential for leadership,"
two young women from Springfield, Mass., public high schools
have been selected to receive full-tuition scholarships to Smith
The scholarships are the centerpiece of the Springfield Partnership,
a program launched in 1999 to strengthen ties between the college
and the largest city in western Massachusetts.
The recipients of the Springfield Partnership scholarships are
Rachel Bortfeld Steely, who graduated this spring from Springfield
Central High School, and Hong-Hanh Chu, who graduated from Sabis
International Charter School. They join seven previous Springfield
An avid reader and fiction writer, Bortfeld Steely is also an
accomplished musician. She played in the first violin section
of the Young People's Symphony and was chosen for the Western
District Senior Orchestra. She was a MassMutual Academic Achiever
throughout high school and received the Harvard College Book
Award. Her volunteer activities include mentoring at-risk children
who are beginning to study the violin through the after-school
Springfield String Ensemble program. She is an active member
of Faith United Church in Springfield.
At Smith, Bortfeld Steely hopes to major in literature and art
in anticipation of a possible career as a writer/illustrator
of children's books. She is the daughter of Lani Bortfeld and
Chu came to the United States from Vietnam when she was in 1st
grade. At Sabis, she participated in the school's Model Congress,
won first place in a debate competition and was a member of the
"As Schools Match Wits" team. As head prefect for academics,
Chu directed her school's peer-tutoring program and organized
its first Jeopardy! competition for high school students, as
well as a spelling bee for elementary students. She is actively
involved in Springfield's Vietnamese community, serving as a
leader in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society.
At Smith, Chu is considering a major in chemistry. She is the
daughter of Son Pham and Duong Chu.
The Smith scholarship, currently valued at $27,330 per year,
will cover tuition for four years. The amount will rise in subsequent
years to keep pace with any increases in tuition.
Scholarship awardees were selected by Smith admission officers,
faculty members and administrators from among the qualified applicants
to the college. Recipients were chosen based on their academic
promise and their personal contributions to school and community.
The Springfield Partnership is one of a series of initiatives
the college has undertaken to expand its ties to its urban neighbor.
Undergraduate volunteers provide tutoring and life skills training
at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Center and in a number
of Springfield middle and high schools. Under the aegis of the
"Kids to College" program, admissions staff members
from Smith collaborate with Chestnut Middle School to bring a
program about careers and higher education to 6th-graders.
Founded in 1875, Smith College is consistently ranked among the
nation's best liberal arts colleges. Enrolling students from
every state and 55 other countries, it is the largest undergraduate
women's college in the United States.
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