YONKERS, N.Y. -- Bryan Diaz, a senior at Riverside High School in Yonkers, was summoned to the counselor’s office recently, but it was for a good reason, and not because he was in hot water.
The college-bound senior was surprised to find out that he had been chosen as Westchester’s latest “Watermark Kid” by the nonprofit arm of a company that runs retirement communities around the country.
Christine Nazzaro and Stephanie Walters, representatives of Watermark for Kids from The Fountains at RiverVue met Diaz, and members of his family, at the office and presented him with a laptop computer.
Diaz’ guidance counselor, Scott Silverman, had applied to Watermark for Kids on his behalf, knowing that he would benefit from having a laptop of his own.
“He couldn’t believe it,” Nazzaro said, adding: “His mom was crying and the counselor was even a bit teary eyed, it was a very emotional meeting.”
Watermark for Kids is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to help deserving local kids thrive.
Funds are raised through payroll deductions, bake sales and other projects spearheaded by residents and associates of 37 Watermark retirement communities nationwide, including The Fountains at RiverVue in Tuckahoe.
In return, Watermark Kids are asked to “pay it forward” by mentoring others and sharing something about their experience with their host community.
Silverman wrote to Watermark for Kids on Diaz’s behalf, describing a boy who came to this country without speaking a word of English and who is now ranked third out of 222 seniors at Riverside High.
Bryan has taken seven honors courses in preparation for college and completed his first college course scoring an "A", Silverman said.
While his transcript speaks for itself, Silverman wrote, what it “does not reflect is his character, work ethic and determination.”
“He is grateful for every day in the United States and the opportunities that he has here. He is the American dream.”
Silverman is also working to help Diaz secure scholarships for college.
“He will be a part of building our future (literally) as an aspiring engineer. He tries to immerse himself in all things engineering at Riverside, including participating in our award-winning robotics team,” Silverman said.