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Announcing the 5th Annual Discover Your Passion Scholarship Winners

The School Choice Group (SCG), the leading global education consultancy headquartered in New York, in collaboration with the Parents of Accelerated Learners, NYC (PALNYC), announced the fifth annual Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund’s Discover Your Passion™ Competition winners.

This competition is targeted toward New York City students from 2nd through 12th grades who show exceptional promise and passion for an individual interest, including academic subjects, sports, music, the arts, community service, entrepreneurship, or technology.

The focus on pursuing passion and the story behind the awards are what make this scholarship unique. Michael Perelstein was a man who learned late in life the importance of passion and of doing what he loved. His untimely death at age 56, taught the ultimate lesson––the value of living your dreams––to his widow, Elizabeth Perelstein and their children, Sarah and Daniel Perelstein. The opportunity to foster this value led to the creation of this memorial scholarship award program.

Each entrant was required to submit a sample or demonstration of their endeavor, nomination letters, and a description of how the award monies would be used to further their unique passion.
“I know Michael would be proud to have provided opportunity for young people to pursue their personal passions and I am honored to be able to keep his memory alive by nurturing these children’s educational interests,” said Elizabeth Perelstein, the Chair and Founder of the School Choice Group.


Meet the 2017 Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund Discover Your Passion scholars:

Albert Kyi, Grand Prize Winner – Grace Church School, Grade 11 – $5,000
Passion: Climate Change
Albert has always been interested in the natural sciences, and knew that science would be key in humanity’s efforts to solve problems including climate change. He is passionate about finding ways to improve people’s’ lives and the overall human experience. He designed and built a machine that can independently capture Carbon Dioxide from the air. Albert is currently working on new designs for his machine and will use his award to advance his research to make the world more sustainable.

Maya Mesh – Millennium High School, Grade 11 – $3,500
Passion: Creation of Course Evaluation Website
Maya has always enjoyed organizing, leading, and developing projects that help the greater good. She would like to become a social entrepreneur. In 2016, Maya created and implemented the first-ever student course evaluation at Millennium High School. She developed a prototype for her final goal of creating a website that will enable students to evaluate their courses and school. Maya dreams of creating the next Yelp or TripAdvisor resource for High Schools. She will use her scholarship to further that dream.

Amanda Giladi – NY Lab School, Grade 11 – $3,500
Passion: Filmmaking
Amanda discovered the world of filmmaking through an interest in photography. She realized that filmmaking allowed her to do so much more than just creating a visually appealing piece. It was a form of expression. She created her own entrepreneurial venture, Giladi Film Productions, through which she creates wedding photos for a fee. Amanda will use her award to purchase new equipment including a microphone, tripod, and editing software.

Sierra Blanco – Hunter College, Grade 9 – $3,500
Passion: Playwriting & Musical Theater Composition
Sierra writes plays and musicals and composes music. Her goal is to become a professional playwright and composer. Acting inspired her to pursue playwriting when she was enrolled in an acting class at age seven. Sierra is determined to push the boundaries of what audiences expect, and change societal norms. She will use her award for music notation software, an electric keyboard, and training with a professional director/mentor.

Eulani Tucker – The Ideal School of Manhattan, Grade 8 – $3,000
Passion: Animation / Drawing
Eulani is passionate about drawing and animating fan art or anime characters expressing different emotions. She is self –taught and believes that the greatest service that any artist can share is their vision and expression through art. Eulani will use her scholarship for art supplies, art classes, and to purchase an animation program, and an Apple Desktop.

Carter Montgomery – Park Slope Collegiate, Grade 7 – $1,500
Passion: Drawing
Carter loves creating MineCraft characters from his video games and his goal is to create his own video games. His dream is to become a comic book writer, illustrator, and graphic art designer. Carter will enroll in classes that will move him forward in these pursuits.

Elana Koenig – PS 183, Grade 4 – $1,500
Passion: Singing
Elana is a cancer warrior. Her dream is to become a singer. Singing has helped her during some very challenging times with her health. She will use her scholarship award for a tutor and professional voice teacher.

The winners will receive their scholarships on December 31, 2017. A presentation of work and celebration of our winners – including recipients from the previous years of awards, will be held in April 2018, at the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, NY. More details to follow.


The School Choice Group, is the leading global education consulting firm, specializing in school placement for private, public, specialized and international schools, from preschool through college. With over 120 experienced consultants, including Special Educators in 77 locations globally, the SCG works to help find the right schools for children, anywhere in the world. An industry leader, The School Choice Group Founder and Chair, Elizabeth Perelstein, co-founded the British International School of New York. Its business division, School Choice International, also conducts research, provides survey data and policy analysis for corporations, schools and governments setting or re-evaluating education policy. Its consumer division, School Search Solutions, provides school placement directly to local and relocating families. For more information see

Parents of Accelerated Learners, NYC [PALNYC] & The P.A.L. Workshops support NYC-based parents and their children by offering educational workshops, talent development-based resources and programs, mentorships and a discovery platform for web and app-based learning tools for kids. PALNYC connects experts with parents to support the cognitive, social and emotional needs of their children. PALNYC is a founding sponsor of the NYC Gifted and Talented Symposium, a one day event to support high potential youth. For more information or sponsorship see

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