Inaugural William Morse Scholarship Makes Student’s Education Dreams a Reality

Dr. William Morse and Ms. Samantha Berrios celebrate the inaugural William Morse Scholarship award.
Dr. William Morse and Ms. Samantha Berrios celebrate the inaugural William Morse Scholarship award.

Samantha Berrios of East Haven, CT has been announced as the inaugural recipient of the William Morse Scholarship. The scholarship will pay for half of Ms. Berrios’ tuition for all of her high school years. This scholarship has made Sammie’s dream of attending FlexSchool come true. FlexSchool New Haven is a private school for gifted and twice-exceptional learners located in the heart of the Yale community.

The William Morse Scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Morse who has been an advisor, mentor, and inspiration to Jacqui Byrne, Founder of FlexSchool, since he reviewed her application as an admissions officer at Yale in 1980. Dr. Morse is an advocate for small schools and personalized education. He believes FlexSchool will have a “Decisively positive impact on Sammie and the uniquely gifted students around her.” Jacqui Byrne said,”Dr. Bill Morse embodies the love of lifelong learning that we hope to inspire in all FlexSchool students. Sammie’s curiosity reminded us of Dr. Morse and we look forward to welcoming her into our community of gifted and twice-exceptional students. She is terrific and we are thrilled she will join us.”

Dr. William Morse, Ms. Samantha Berrios, Samantha's parents, and Heidi Molbak
Dr. William Morse, Ms. Samantha Berrios, Samantha’s parents, and Heidi Molbak

Sammie impressed the scholarship selection panel with her natural leadership ability, her infectious zest for life, her demonstrated passion for science and her desire to attend a school where she can take deep academic dives into her areas of interest. Sammie has always loved school and she has been active in both academic and extracurricular activities, including band and even founding a Glee Club in her school. Sammie stated,”I’ve always wanted to learn more exciting material, such as engineering, chemistry, and humanities. I am honestly beside myself, knowing that I received a scholarship to FlexSchool.” Heidi Molbak, Co-Founder of FlexSchool and Head of School for FlexSchool New Haven, believes Sammie will be a fantastic fit for FlexSchool. Heidi stated,”Sammie goes after what she wants with a big heart and a lot of energy. I can’t wait to connect Sammie to women in STEM programs and help support her drive to make her dreams come true.”

Dr. Morse says he feels honored that Sammie Berrios has been the inaugural recipient as he believes she is a natural leader, passionate, creative and gifted. His advice to Berrios is,”Sammie, I want you to take inspiration from women, particularly women in science. Look around. Find your own role models; see what other women have done or are doing. You have the potential, the gifts, strength and the courage to be anything you choose to be. We don’t know exactly what, when or how, but it all begins with your own dreams. In time, given your passion and determination, they will come true.”

FlexSchool Fanwood Students Spend FlexFriday at the Paley Media Center

Our Fanwood campus students recently attended a viewing of the Star Wars Holiday Special as it was originally aired in 1978. It was quite an adventure as the students boarded the train from Fanwood to Penn Station and a walk up 5th Ave. in New York City. After a hearty lunch it was time to walk to the Paley Media Center and settle in to watch the movie. Even though the movie special effects were quite funny compared to movie special effects of 2016, a great time was had by all of the students.

FlexSchool believes having our students in the community and part of the community is critical. It is the reason we place our campuses in the heart of the community. We also value the importance of teaching our students the skills to be independent adults. Watching the Stars Wars Holiday Special is a fun sci-fi outing but taking the train, navigating the city, being on time are all important life lessons. It is ideal when an opportunity to learn is also fantastic fun.

Semih Bulbul – Syrian Refugee Crisis

On Friday, September 30, our students were treated to a very special Skype session with Semih Bulbul of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. He explained his humanitarian work involving the Syrian refugee crisis and answered student questions. Semih was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. He was hired by UNHCR in 1988 and began working in the Ankara office. In 1992, UNHCR sent him on a mission for 9 months to Cambodia during which he met his future wife. After 10 years in the Ankara office, Semih left Turkey and has since been posted in Kosovo, Macedonia, Iraq, Bosnia, Switzerland, and is now on a second mission in Iraq (since early 2014).

Mr. Bulbul answered questions on topics such as “What is a typical day in a refugee camp?” and “How do they help orphans?”

After we hung up with Semih we located the conflict on a map and discussed the historical origins of conflict in the region. The students also discussed how youth could participate to make a positive impact on the humanitarian crisis.

One student was so moved by the presentation, she has changed her FlexSchool community impact project to designing ways to help with the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Tiki Love Farm Metal Detecting

On September 23, students visited Tiki Love Farm to learn about how metal detectors work and their proper usage. After their lesson, the students explored the woods for buried objects.

Thank you Tiki Love Farm for an enlightening and fun FlexFriday event!