Wednesday, April 8, 2009

$10 a month

[Wei] Huang, 20, one of 12 high school seniors named New York Times Scholars this year, immigrated to New York from China with her parents in 2007. But when her parents found the transition to American life too hard and returned to China last year, she decided to stay here alone, entranced by the city’s streetscapes and the thought of attending college here one day.

She found a job at a florist paying $560 a month, and a house to share in Ridgewood, Queens, for $550. That leaves $10 a month, which she spends carefully on large bags of rice, chicken leg quarters at 49 cents a pound, and whatever vegetables are cheapest. Throw in the two free meals a day at school, a student MetroCard and the unexpected kind act — her English teacher, for instance, gave her $100 — and she manages to get by.

Ms. Huang’s determination to excel academically despite tough financial circumstances won her a spot among this year’s scholars.

Each scholar will receive $30,000 in aid for college, a laptop computer and a summer job at The Times, as well as access to a network of counselors and alumni who can provide advice and support in the years ahead.
--Sharon Otterman, NYT, on adversity overcome

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