Partnering with NY Knicks, St. John's Offers Full Scholarships to Local Poets

(l. to r.) Carvans Lissaint, 2012 St. John's Scholarship Recipient; Ramya Ramana and Alexyea Holmes, 2013 St. John's Scholarship Recipients; Douglas McNabb, St. John's University
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

For the straight second year, St. John’s University has awarded full-tuition scholarships to two outstanding, college-bound poets from metropolitan-area high schools through a special partnership with the New York Knicks/Urban Word Poetry Slam Program.

Dedicated to providing an affordable education for all worthy students, St. John’s is one of only five institutions—including Adelphi University, Mercy College, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin—to participate in the program. St. John’s also is the only institution to offer two full scholarships to finalists.

The Knicks, New York’s iconic basketball team, announced the winning students during half-time at their final home game in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, April 17. Beth M. Evans, Vice President for Enrollment Management at St. John’s, joined other representatives of participating institutions in presenting the winners with over-sized checks representing their scholarships.

“St John’s is privileged to be a partner with NY Knicks and Urban Word,” said Evans. “It is evident when you meet the students and hear them perform their poetry that the Urban Word organization is successful in transforming their raw talent into excellence. These students add vibrancy and creativity to our University community, and we are thankful for the opportunity to continue to provide positive outcomes for such deserving students.”   

This year’s winners of full-tuition scholarships to St. John’s are Ramya Ramana, of Centereach, NY, and Alexyea Holmes, of Irvington, NJ. Ramana described herself as an “aspiring activist and artist” who wants to champion the cause of “justice and equality for all people.” Interested in studying accounting, Holmes hopes to “pursue a career at a non-profit or green-energy organization.” Last year’s winners were Carvens Lissaint ’16CPS and Maurisa Fraser ’16CPS.

“We’re all proud of the relationship St. John’s has built with Urban Word and the NY Knicks,” said Kerri Darcy, Assistant Director of Admission at St. John’s. “To be able to help these talented students move onto the next phase of their education is one of the best parts of what we do.”

Established in 2003, the NY Knicks Poetry Slam uses hip-hop and poetry to help local students prepare for college. The Knicks sponsor the program with Urban Word NYC, which provides free creative-writing workshops for urban high school students.

A Catholic university in the Vincentian tradition, St. John’s is committed to providing an outstanding education for students of all economic circumstances. In 2011-2012, 94 percent of students received more than $477 million in financial assistance through scholarships, work-study, loans and grants.

To learn more, contact the Office of Admission at St. John’s: 1 (888) 9STJOHNS, admissions@stjohns.edu (Queens campus); (718) 390-4500, siadmissions@stjohns.edu (Staten Island campus). Also visit the Urban Word Poetry Slam Program online.