Nov. 3, 2015 By Michael Florio
The Garden School is offering parents the opportunity to send their child to the school for free or at a reduced rate.
Each year, the Garden School – a private school located at 33-16 79 St. – offers merit scholarships ranging from 25 to 100 percent of the $17,000 tuition. Students apply for the scholarships by taking a Merit Scholarship Exam.
This year, the Merit Scholarship Exam will be held on Dec. 5. Students who are currently enrolled in grades 5 through 10 can register to take the exam on the school’s website by Dec. 2. There is a $50 registration fee.
More than 100 students signed up for the Merit Scholarship Exam last year, according to Jim Gaines, Director of Outreach with the Garden School.
Students who score well on the exam are invited to the school for an interview along with their family.
“We want to find the best fit for the Garden School,” Gaines said. “We look for the student and family that we think will most benefit.”
A determination is made based on the interview, test score and transcript. Those admitted who do not receive a scholarship are still eligible to apply for financial aid.
The scholarship runs until the student graduates. Therefore, those who receive a 100 percent scholarship will have their entire tuition paid throughout their tenure at the Garden School.
The number of scholarships distributed varies each year, according to Gaines. Last year, 10 new students earned a scholarship. Overall about 10 percent of the 296 students enrolled in the Garden School are studying on scholarship.
Gaines emphasized just how competitive the field is to receive this scholarship.
The school began offering the scholarship more than 20 years ago and uses it as a way to create a well-educated and diverse base of students, while increasing its outreach, according to Gaines.
“It serves our mission well to have smart, able and education-committed students,” Gaines said.
Students come from all over the city to take the exam, including Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
One student, Sabrina Sukhan, won a merit scholarship and graduated from the school in 1996. Today she is an obstetrician and gynecologist in Philadelphia.
Sukhan said her family did not have the means to attend four years at an independently owned school. However, the merit scholarship provided her an opportunity.
“The small classes along with the nurturing environment and personalized attention allowed me to develop a solid foundation from which I could grow into the person that I am today,” she said.