Last June I wrote, in a post titled “Mean-spirited Neapolitans,” about Erika Ramirez, then a junior at Naples High School, who wrote a letter to the Naples Daily News asking for help to attend the Junior Statesmen of America summer program at Princeton University. Several readers responded and said they, like me, would send a check to help Erika fund the program.
In July, in a post titled “An update from Erika Ramirez,” I reported that – with our help – Erika did raise the funds, and had written from Princeton to thank us for taking an interest in her.
I wanted to let you know that I heard from Erika again this week. She wrote:
It has been a while since I have had the chance to write to you as senior year has been really hectic and yet enjoyable at the same time. I will always be appreciative of the interest and generosity you took with me to make Princeton a reality, words will never be enough to express my gratitude.
Well, as senior year is winding down I am finishing up my senior thesis I had mentioned when we met. I have spent the last 7 months researching [and] writing a paper under the guidance of a mentor and my English teacher on the topic campaign reform.
This Friday at 8:00 A.M. I will be presenting this paper to a panel of judges and a small audience in the Naples High School auditorium. I would be honored if you would attend. I know its short notice but I thought it would be nice to see you once again and for you to see what I have been accomplishing this year. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending, I know you are very busy and I will understand if you can not do so.
Thank you and my best regards,
In order to quality for the Collier County School District’s Advanced Placement Laureate Program, Erika explained, “I have completed eight A.P. Classes and have a G.P.A. of 4.5. I have researched and written a 20 page paper and to receive the diploma and to receive the $1,000 scholarship I must presented to a panel and score at least a 4 of a scale of 6.”
Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from Erika, and look forward to attending her presentation tomorrow.
As I wrote last July, it’s nice to know that sometimes it is possible to make a difference in someone’s life. If any of you would like to join me tomorrow morning, let me know!