Congratulations to all 2018-2019 George E. Jonas Scholarship Recipients!

As part of LAJF’s committed to our campers-for-life, we assist our alumni in their pursuit of higher education. One of the most important manifestations of this commitment is through the George E. Jonas (the founder of Camp Rising Sun) Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded every year to alumni who aim to foster the values and knowledge of Camp Rising Sun that they acquired and to help their communities in creative and exciting ways. We are thankful for the generosity of the Georges Lurcy Trust, CRS alumni, and friends which enables LAJF to offer these college scholarships to CRS alumni.

Below we are focusing on some of the undergraduate and graduate 2018 GEJ scholarship recipients. Continue reading to find out how their days at Camp led them to their current studies and how this is reflected in their goals that school and their lives in the future.


Monica Janvier (‘15, ‘16)

Monica Janvier (‘15, ‘16) this Fall has started at New York University. Camp shows up in our alumni’s lives in a variety of ways. Camp sparked Monica’s journey of loving her own and other cultures. Camp inspired her to travel and continue traveling to foreign countries, and she is excited to perhaps visit the Haitian villages of her ancestors.

“I had to be placed in a whirlwind of other cultures to understand my own. During my time at Camp Rising Sun, I admired the campers’ display of pride in their respective cultures. In response, I was stirred to better understand my own culture, which I had previously ignored.”

Camp opened her eyes to her cultural role as a Haitian-American. Monica recognized the pressure to “fit in” as an American with a school system that didn’t encourage the study of her Haitian culture and history in class.  It was in the summer of 2015 that she grew a deeper understanding of her culture and its relationship to American society. “This experience of witnessing CRS’s value of an appreciation of cultures informed me of the importance of holding onto my culture. I learned that other people’s culture and history is a part of them: it shapes their thinking, values, behavior, and personality. It creates their whole being!”

Years later, Monica continues to carry CRS’s value of appreciating cultures. She says “My Creole speaking abilities have improved, I keep a playlist of Kompa music, practice Kompa dancing, and even started learning how to make our traditional soup Joumou. CRS has also inspired me to appreciate other cultures. In 2017, I studied abroad in Mexico and lived with a native host family. I admired the traditional Son Jarocho music, the Cumbia dance, and delicious Enchiladas. ”

In the future, Monica plans on going to law school. As a lawyer, she hopes to travel to foreign countries and represent those that need justice and are underrepresented. Monica is extremely interested in Amnesty International and the great work that they do, and hopes to accomplish similar work. Like Amnesty International, Monica aims to protect human rights. She hopes that as a lawyer, she can assist in erasing destructive policies such as the death penalty. LAJF and CRS is so proud of where Monica is headed and all that she aims to accomplish.


Fatema Jannat (‘06 ‘07)

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Fatema Jannat (‘06 ‘07) is currently entering her final year at the City University of New York School of Law as a recipient of the Graduate GEJ Scholarship. Sometimes our alumni can see exactly how Camp directed their paths in life. Fatema says “I left camp with a distinct sense of being interconnected with the young people I met at CRS. This recognition of interconnectedness later inspired my passion to pursue social justice. When I returned to school after my first CRS experience, I became involved in independent research projects under the guidance of a history teacher where I focused on genocide studies.”

“Following a camp-wide instruction on the delicate situation in Darfur, I successfully recorded footage from almost every camper at Clinton that later played on a massive screen in front of the UN as part of a human rights campaign. Human rights continued to be a focal point of my undergraduate studies.” While attending Barnard College, Fatema became interested in juvenile justice issues. This interest culminated in internships where she focused on alternative to incarceration programs for court-involved youth which helps young people avoid the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Over time she discovered that her initial interest in human rights work evolved into an interest in the legal field. Fatema became interested in using the legal system as a platform to promote social justice. As a future public interest attorney, no matter what setting Fatema ultimately settles into, she intends to serve the needs of people and causes that may otherwise go unrepresented.

At New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, I worked on civil rights issues that individuals with disabilities face when interacting with law enforcement, while detained on Rikers Island, and while seeking reasonable accommodations in housing. More specifically within the broader category of disability justice work, I am currently working on special education cases on behalf of children with intellectual, physical, and psychiatric disabilities. I will be advocating on behalf of parents who seek to ensure necessary educational supports and appropriate academic placements for their child. Under the supervision of an attorney, I will be representing parents in administrative hearings and in any appeals to federal and state court. This desire to use the law as a way to serve vulnerable populations and ultimately create a more just society, is a direct outgrowth of the values that CRS has instilled in me. I’m committed to utilizing my education and skills to better the community around me.

Fatema envisions her future as executive attorney at a non-profit organization that provides legal services to vulnerable populations. Currently, her legal work continues to focus on the rights of individuals with disabilities. Fatema sees herself still practicing special education law, but finds herself drawn to this particular area of the law. “I can also envision myself working on disability justice issues on a broader scale. In addition to providing legal services within the non-profit setting, ten years from now I may also be engaging in civil rights work as a public servant. Two organizations that I am interested in are the NYS Division of Human Rights and NYC Commission on Human Rights. As an attorney I would investigate claims of discrimination and address violations of the relevant body of law (on the state level or city level) in administrative hearings. Both bodies of law provide civil rights protections to everyday New Yorkers.”  Fatema shows herself as a servant leader that owns her goals, talents, and what she can accomplish. We are proud of her progress and all that she aims to accomplish.

Zachary Kaplan (‘08)

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Zachary Kaplan (‘08) is entering his first year at Duke University School of Law. Zachary hopes to be working to advance racial equity in systems of education, criminal justice, and government in my community in North Carolina.

It was Zackary’s time at Camp that instilled some core values personally and professionally. In July 2008, he and his fellow Red Hook campers plotted, planned, and built an outdoor barbeque grill located directly next to the Dining Hall. Predictably, though, the challenges that his project team faced in those long weeks is what turned out to be more stepping stones than barriers in our journey to eventual barbeque success. Zackary further explains that  “The success of that project, and the lifelong bonds developed between my brothers and I in that incredible summer, all stem wholeheartedly from a deep sense of coalition. Coalition, in my mind, runs deeper than teamwork. It is stronger than partnership and more diverse than an alliance. A coalition is a merging of minds, strengths, and purposes in order to achieve a shared aspiration. A coalition is based on trust, empathy, shared experiences, and a sense of resolute community.” It is the coalition of the entire CRS family that bridges time and space in order to hold strong a community of people around the world with shared values and a shared vision for the future. When Zackary consider the impact that CRS left in his life he turns immediately to the value of a coalition.

Zackary deeply believes that a person's ideal vocation can be found in the intersection of his/her passions, values, and skills.  He aims to build a community of true coalition which works to create real equity and real opportunity for people who are currently marginalized. Zackary holds his Jewish heritage to "tikkun olam," meaning to "repair the world," in the way that he can.  He explains further that he hopes “to repair the world by using my personal privilege and opportunity to be a tireless advocate for racial equity and social justice in my community. This could take the form of working as a Public Defender, working for the North Carolina Department of Justice, or perhaps as an attorney for a local non-profit that focuses on advocating for equity in my community. Regardless of the specific job, I will be driven by this commitment to "tikkun olam" and to build create a community and a world that more perfectly reflects the value of true coalition that I learned at Camp Rising Sun.” Zachary shows himself as a servant leader that owns his talents, goals, and what he can accomplish. We are proud of his progress and excited by what he aims to accomplish.

We would like to thank everyone that applied this year and encourage everyone to apply next year. Read more about the Scholarship and how to apply here.