The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's (NNJCF) Darren Drake Memorial Fund names New Milford High School graduate Meg Arakelian the third recipient of a $2,000 scholarship award.  This NNJCF charitable, donor advised fund memorializes New Milford High School graduate Darren Drake, who died in a terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017.

             The NNJCF's Darren Drake Memorial Fund awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior of New Milford High School to pursue training in the trade or technical professions.  Arakelian plans to attend Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack, New Jersey.  

            During high school, she attended the New Milford High School Academies, an intensive program students undertook beyond their regular school day.  The Academies' mission is to help students think critically and rationally, to enjoy the learning process in a cohort, and to be exposed to life experiences that may help to better prepare an individual for events beyond high school.  Each quarter students are given a project to research, act on, show what they learned, and draw connections from learning to real life. 

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            According to Arakelian, participating in the Academies' program changed her perspective about school and provided her with a better understanding of many activities and ultimately, created a new learning experience.  One of her biggest achievements was studying public speaking with Mrs. Urbaez. 

            "This class was absolutely life changing.  I was able to learn how to speak properly in a long essay format, while keeping contact with the audience and still get my point across," she explained.  As a result, she spoke at the June 2019 Ted Talk, an all-day student run event broadcasted live from New Milford High School.

Continue Darren Drake's Legacy

            Drake, who served on the New Milford Board of Education, identified the need to meet a shortage of skilled labor in the trade and technical professions by preparing high school students interested in pursuing vocational careers.  In remembrance of Drake, and as a lasting tribute to his lifelong love of and commitment to education, Moody’s Foundation provided the principal gift to establish the fund, which is advised by his parents.  The public can continue Darren Drake's commitment to education and his legacy through donations made in his memory. 

             Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law, and may be made online.  Contributions may also be sent by check made out to 'The Northern NJ Community Foundation' with 'Darren Drake Memorial Fund' entered in the memo line. 
Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601.  For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact or call 201-568-5608.