Students in graduation
Four Gray Bee seniors awarded QuestBridge National College Match Scholarships to Northwestern, Yale, UPenn and Emory

Yale, Northwestern, Emory and UPenn are the destinations for the SBP seniors

Dec. 2, 2021

Four St. Benedict’s Prep seniors earned early admission and a full scholarship to some of the top colleges in the country through the QuestBridge National College Match program.

  Clockwise from top left: Lopez, Slade, Oates & Jumbo

The Match Scholarship recipients are Troi Slade (Yale), Geovanni Lopez (Northwestern), Jaden Oates (Pennsylvania) and Joseph Jumbo (Emory).

“I am most excited for having the opportunity to learn at one of the most prestigious institutions in America,” said Oates, who hails from Orange, N.J. and plans on studying Political Science and Statistics at UPenn. “It’s an opportunity not given to a lot of people and I want to make the best of it.”

Slade, who is still mourning the passing of her father just over a month ago, plans on majoring in Aerospace Engineering at Yale.

“Just thinking of all of the hardships I faced, especially losing my dad, to have such great news is so refreshing and uplifting,” said the Newark native. “I don't have to worry about what debt I may have in the future and my mom doesn't have to worry about what fees she may have. To not have the heavy financial burden that comes with college is such a relief. It's all honestly insane and I'm still processing the blessing that I just received.

“I’m also excited about what this means to St. Benedict’s. I hope that other students can find motivation and hope behind the stories of myself, Joseph, Geovanni, and Jaden. Success and dreaming big isn't only for the suburbs, it's for right here, in the middle of Newark. It's for Irvington and Belleville and Elizabeth and so many more. We all can start our journey to fulfilling our goals and aspirations. They aren't out of reach; they might just be waiting for you to start the pursuit.”

The four Gray Bees scholarship recipients are the first to achieve the prestigious QuestBridge feat since 2016, as well as the largest group of Match Scholars to represent St. Benedict’s Prep.

“My parents told me that my hard work really did pay off,” said Belleville native Jumbo, who started at The Hive in the 7th grade. “It turns out that St. Benedict's was the right choice and I know that Emory is a great fit for me and will provide all the opportunities I need  to succeed. I am most excited to start my journey to becoming a doctor, and hopefully a neurosurgeon.”

The highly competitive QuestBridge program, which offers high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds an entrée to some of the most selective colleges and universities in the country, began with a pool of more than 16,500 applicants. In October, 6,312 seniors, including Slade, Lopez, Oates, Jumbo and Marie-Rosa Jeudy ’22, were named QuestBridge National College Match Finalists.

“The opportunity to go to a top school was something I never expected,” said Lopez, who resides in Union and will study International Business at Northwestern. “It shows hard work pays off. Going to Evanston will be a real change of scenery. My Dad said he knew I would get in somewhere! It really hit my mom how far away I would be. My grandma and sister were just really excited - screaming and all that!”

Approximately 1,400 seniors ultimately matched with one of the 45 QuestBridge partner schools.

“Considering that there are only about 1,400 seniors who ultimately match with a college, it’s extraordinary to have four QuestBridge Match Scholars from one school,” said St. Benedict's Dean of College Placement . Each student will will receive a full four-year scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board, books and other college-related expenses. 

All students at The Hive benefit from an extensive one-on-one College Placement program that encompasses every aspect of the process, from campus visits to financial aid. More than 90% of Gray Bees matriculate to college and persist in higher education at rates far above national averages. Graduates also go on to serve in the military, attend trade school, begin apprenticeships or take a post-graduate year before college.