2020 Devante Lane Scholarship Winners
The entire team at Finz & Finz, P.C. wishes to congratulate Lucki Islam, Edward Mendoza, and Victoria Owusu, the 2020 winners of the Devante Lane Scholarship.
The Devante Lane Scholarship was set up following the tragic death of Devante Lane, a recent college graduate from the Bronx who was the victim of gun violence in New Rochelle. Devante was the loving son of Jerome Lane, a longtime employee of Finz & Finz, P.C. The firm established the Devante Lane Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of Devante and help curb gun violence in the Bronx.
The Devante Lane Scholarship was open to Bronx residents enrolled in high school or college. Applicants had to answer the following question with their essay:
How would you use your college education to give back to the Bronx community and reduce the epidemic of gun violence in New York?
Lucki Islam, a 17-year-old senior at Dreamyard Preparatory School, was named the first-place winner of the scholarship by Devante Lane’s parents in part because her essay was “very visceral and passionate.” Devante’s parents said Islam’s writing style was impressive, descriptive, and evocative of someone who knows what it’s like to live in the Bronx. The title of Islam’s essay was “War Cry for my Bronx Boys.” Devante’s parents liked the way Islam referenced the title in the essay as a tool of persuasion: “But the lives of the youth in the Bronx that are taken because of gun violence is a war cry. We need to be the change to make a change. Our Bronx Boys are counting on us.” Devante’s parents also noted that their son was a Bronx boy — born and raised in the Bronx.
Islam, an avid photographer, wrote in her essay that she feels it is important for her photography to document what is going on in the Bronx. Islam has attended protests, talked to the Bronx Borough President about the Digital Divide in the Bronx because she feels strongly about the education access in the South Bronx. “I strongly believe that education is the best way to learn about our history and be better,” she wrote. “To understand that issues of inadequate housing, education, and livelihoods stem from historical issues of environmental racism.” Islam was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for the winning essay.
Edward Mendoza was the second-place winner. Mendoza, an electrical engineering major at Manhattan College, grew up in the Bronx. Mendoza noted in his essay that while he’s never known anyone to be the victim of gun violence, he has friends who have. Mendoza wrote that he believes the solution to the gun violence problem is education. Mendoza would like to build systems and infrastructure, such as getting 5G internet for the community and donate to causes that educate about the dangers of guns. Mendoza added that it’s also important that we elect public officials who will address the gun violence epidemic. He was awarded a $500 scholarship for his second-place essay.
Victoria Owusu took third place. The 16-year-old high school student is interested in studying psychology in college.
“The epidemic of gun violence in the Bronx can only be solved if people started to value mental health,” Owusu wrote in her essay. “By focusing more on mental health resources in the Bronx and offering affordable mental health counseling, to the youth, especially, it would reduce the epidemic of gun violence.” Victoria was awarded a $250 scholarship for her essay.
Second Annual Devante Lane Scholarship Competition
Check back soon. Finz & Finz, P.C. will begin accepting applications for the second annual Devante Lane Scholarship in Fall 2021.