Crotona Graduating Senior Awarded 
Full Scholarship to NYU!

Anthony Diké, a graduating Crotona high school student, was checking emails on his phone last March 30. One grabbed his attention: a message from NYU with a link to his application account. He followed the link. The account read, “Accepted.”

Anthony dropped his cell phone to the ground, overjoyed (an old phone, fortunately). Moments later, he gathered himself and began sending messages to family and friends.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Anthony has lived in the Bronx since he was 2. He will be graduating from Mount Saint Michael Academy this June. In the fall, he will begin studying computer science at NYU with a full-ride scholarship through the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which helps underrepresented students attend top colleges through financial and academic support. NYU is ranked number 36 among national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Anthony was not always six foot three. He did a lot of growing through Crotona since first joining us in 8th Grade. 

Though the news of acceptance reached him in a matter of seconds, the road to arrive at that moment had been years in the making. A towering, solid, six-foot, three-inch young man, he once agreed to join his high school football team, after recurring pressure from peers and others. But after a few months he noticed that it was distracting him from his academics. So he decided to drop the helmet, pick up his books, and head back to the library. The hard work paid off: he will be graduating with a top GPA and a front-row seat for college.

Anthony began attending programs at Crotona in 8th grade. He soon learned the four cardinal virtues —prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude—, which form the basis of the character education that SBEF programs provide. He remembers that one of the rules in flag football games at Crotona was that defenders had to repeat the four cardinal virtues forwards and backwards before they could rush the quarterback.

“With the virtues ingrained in my head, I began to try to implement them into my life at any moment that I could,” he says.

He continued attending the program throughout high school and last summer through Crotona obtained an internship at a tech startup in Manhattan called Appia, Inc., where he contributed to the launch of a new app. He also participated in an engineering program at Manhattan College and a prestigious creative writing course at Columbia University, which he especially credits along with the internship with his eventual acceptance into the HEOP NYU program.

“Those three were the most ‘special’, because  they showed that I wasn't only ‘in-school smart’, but that I was able to take my talents into the world and take part in activities that pertained to my interests that would further my growth as an individual and an intellectual,” he says.

Anthony, in addition to participating in our program for High School Students, also volunteered as a tutor in our programs for Middle School. 

Anthony has also volunteered as a tutor at Crotona this past academic year, helping younger boys develop the virtues and improve in their academics. As he looked back to past years, he took a moment to share advice for the younger boys in the program.

“I would tell them to not be afraid to set high goals, because you only have one life”, he said. “You either give it your all now, or regret it later.”