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Scholarships help families

Juan Vasquez described November 12, 2001 as the worst day of his life.
His wife, Milagros Garcia, was one of the 260 victims on-board of American-Airlines flight 587 that crashed into Belle Harbor. Nevertheless, some good has come from that tragic day.
Vasquez had a chance to go back to school.
He is one of the 12 people to come forward and receive scholarships that are available to the family members of the victims of the crash. Vasquez received his scholarship beginning in the 2005 academic year and is currently in his final semester at the DeVry Institute of Technology, with a degree in marketing.
Vasquez admitted he would not have been able to go back to school if he did not receive the scholarship. When he first heard about the offer, he said he rushed to the website to apply.
“It is definitely a big help,” Vasquez said, on Monday, the six-year anniversary of the crash. “It is something I recommend to everyone to think about.”However, only 12 of the 150 people eligible for the scholarship have applied for the aid.
The American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship was introduced in 2003 and provides tuition for children and spouses of crash victims for up to five years. The money can be used at any public or private college or university in New York State.
“It gives people a chance to become full partners in the American dream,” said State Senator John Sabini, who helped get the fund started while serving in the state assembly.
Sabini said part of the reason why few have applied for the scholarship is because many of those eligible are not yet of college age. Sabini said there is no cut-off date for people to claim the scholarships. The aid is also retroactive to the 2001 academic year for those who were attending school before the funds became available.
Any eligible relative interested in applying for the scholarship can do so at www.hesc.com or by calling Sabini’s office at 718-639-8469.

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