PENNSAUKEN, NJ (June 24, 2020) - - Two Camden City teens who are members of the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County (BGCCC) will receive a Rowan University education at no cost to their families after being selected as the 2020 recipients of the MHS Lift Scholarship Fund. Julianna Hilton and Jessica Rodriguez, recent graduates from Camden Academy Charter High School, will each begin classes at the University in fall 2020.
Brothers Andy and Brett Levin, owners of MHS Lift in Pennsauken, NJ, pledged over $200,000 to establish the MHS Lift Scholarship at Rowan University in 2019. Now in its second year, the scholarship partners with the University to provide full academic support, complete with books, room and board, for undergraduate students at Rowan who are also active members of BGCCC.
MHS Lift and Rowan University worked together to ensure that this year’s scholarship could benefit two students. Rodriguez had already secured an academic scholarship to Rowan University, so a portion of the MHS Lift Scholarship Fund will pay for her room and board. Hilton, who will be commuting to Rowan, will use the other portion of the Scholarship to pay for tuition.
“We’re incredibly pleased to be sending not one, but two students from the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County on to Rowan University this year,” says Brett Levin, Vice President, MHS Lift. “My brother Andy and I are proud supporters of the BGCCC, an organization that provides key support and safety to the youth of Camden. We hope to continue our work with Rowan University to help further the education of outstanding students from the BGCCC, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to pursue their degrees, for many years to come.”
Scholarship recipient Jessica Rodriguez, 17, said she was “ecstatic” when she and Hilton received the news via phone conference call from Andy Levin, Brett Levin and several members of BGCCC leadership. “I was going to have to look at other schools because of the costs of room and board,” says Rodriguez, who is the 2020 BGCCC Youth of the Year and will compete in the state competition. “I’m grateful for the connections and time management skills I learned through my activities at BGCCC, including basketball, the Smart Girls program, Cooking Club, the STEM Program and Youth of the Year – I know those time management skills will be helpful when I start at Rowan!”
When Julianna Hilton, 18, learned she was selected for the scholarship, she recalls “crying out with excitement.” Rowan University was one of Hilton’s top choices – but from a financial perspective, it would be very difficult for her to be able to attend. “Thanks to the MHS Lift Scholarship, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I recognize this is a rare opportunity and I plan on showing how you can get a good education living in Camden.”
Hilton credits BGCCC with giving her the confidence to push forward and past any limitations through her experience as a young camper, and later as a youth worker where she mentored kids and helped them with homework. Competing in BGCCC’s Youth of the Year competition also forced Hilton to step out of her comfort zone and overcome her fear of public speaking.
The staggered MHS Lift Scholarship Fund was designed to accept one student per year and pay for full tuition, room, board and book costs. Amir King, Jr., of Camden, was announced as the first-ever recipient of the MHS Lift Scholarship Fund in 2019, and he will continue to receive the scholarship as he begins his sophomore year at Rowan in the fall. In addition to being an active member of the BGCCC, all undergraduate student recipients of the scholarship must be full time residents of the state with demonstrated financial need. Recipients of the renewable scholarship are determined by Rowan’s Division of Strategic Enrollment Management.
Rowan’s Vice President for University Advancement R.J. Tallarida said, “We are grateful for MHS Lift’s desire to give back to students in need and we are pleased to partner with them to make a difference. Now, more than ever, funding to support student success is critical. Thanks to this scholarship, recipients can graduate from Rowan debt-free and have access to the highest quality educational experience.”