Alumni

  • Jelani Alladin NCHS Class of 2010 NYU Tisch School for the Arts, 2014

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    Nothing can prepare you for that first morning after graduation. There is a strange feeling of accomplishment paired with a burning desire, clouded in disbelief. I had to ask myself, had everything I have ever worked for in my life just come true? But what I soon came to realize was that the journey was just beginning. Up until that point I had been preparing; ABC of New Canaan prepared me for higher education. NYU prepared me with the skills to sustain a career. But there I was unprepared for the realization that the time had come for me to stop preparing and do.

    Since my matriculation from NYU, only 8 months ago, I have taken some major strides in launching my acting career. I joined an agency, performed in two off-broadway shows, one of which I choreographed as well, landed a leading role in a new play at a great regional theatre and I have joined the Actor’s Equity Association; all small stepping stones to the large scale career I plan on living.

    What I gained from NYU is invaluable, well except for the loans I owe them, but that aside, the professional acting training provided me with several tools, methods and strategies that have sharpened and expanded the capacity of my craft. Not to mention the amazing connections with top professionals in the industry. After 4 years I was able to take something that began as a necessary after school activity at NCHS to an actual career in which I can make a living.

    As I move forward I hope to honor the shoulders I stand upon in everything I do. I owe a huge part of my success to the A Better Chance foundation, New Canaan High School and the community of New Canaan. There are no amount of thank you’s I can say, that will adequately express the amount of gratitude I have for the teachers, guidance counselors, tutors, family, friends, host families and board members that have supported my journey. The longs nights of homework, the sweat and tears put into afterschool activities, the giving of myself in community service, it was all worth it!

    Host Family – Richard and Marianne Grandin

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    Jelani is currently starring as Pharus Jonathan Young in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy at the theatreWashington in Washington, D.C. This is Jelani’s debut at Studio Theatre. Click here to read a recent interview with the actor.

    Elijah Westbrook NCHS Class of 2011 Quinnipiac University senior

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    (Photo taken while interning at CBS News in 2014)

    As I finish my last semester in college, I reflect on all that I have achieved at Quinnipiac University and how I got to where I am today. I am still anchoring and reporting for Quinnipiac’s television station covering local news stories which I absolutely find fun. This past summer, I had the pleasure of interning for the show 48 Hours at CBS News. It was truly an amazing experience because it allowed me to see the professional side of journalism that I’ve never been able to see before.

    When I first came to Quinnipiac as a freshman, I wanted to be like a sponge and essentially absorb everything I could. I wanted to involve myself in many extracurricular activities as well as learn everything I possibly could in the classroom. Because of this, my time management and leadership skills have improved and I can honestly say that I am more confident in myself.

    Over the next few months, I will be sending out my resume to prospective jobs in my field of interest. I hope that my hard work and dedication will pay off. Thanks to my parents and the ABC Program, I can truly say that the support and guidance given to me has brought me down a path of success and achievement. ABC has given me ‘A Better Chance’.

    Host Parents – Richard and Wendy Hurst

    Eric Ho NCHS Class of 2007 Union College 2011

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    Eric was born and raised in New York City. He is a first-generation Chinese American who grew up in the East Village in Manhattan. He joined the A Better Chance of New Canaan program in 2003 and graduated from New Canaan High School class of 2007. During his four year tenure with the program Eric believes he was exposed to the highest level of academics, athletics, and multiple facets of independent living. His experience at New Canaan High School “prepared him like a Navy Seal for college and the real world”. Eric graduated from Union College in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology.

    Eric enjoys all things tech, digital, food, sports, and martial arts. After graduation he worked for an insurance company, a digital marketing start-up company, and then landed the job he has now, with Shapeways, , the world’s largest 3D printing service and marketplace where he is the company’s Social Media Specialist. Eric also runs an ecommerce business on Shapeways where he sells 3D printed figurines and sculptures.

    Host parents- Paul and Carol McDermott

    https://www.shapeways.com/shops/EricHo
    Twitter: @NinjaRAWLegend
    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=125939199&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

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    This is an ingenious pendant Eric and his business partner designed. All the letters of the alphabet can be found in this one piece!

    Devaun Bovell NCHS Class of 2013 Boston College sophomore

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    I am a sophomore at Boston College majoring in marketing. I am a hurdler on BC’s Division 1 track team. Going to New Canaan High School through the ABC program has prepared me for college life academically and athletically. The study and time management skills I learned throughout my time in the program have helped me manage a very busy college schedule. I’ve been able to keep up with my schoolwork as well as perform well on the track. As a freshman, I broke BC’s indoor 60 meter hurdle record and placed 10th all time for the 110 meter hurdles. Those were two great accomplishments for me as a first year college runner, and I’m looking to improve further this coming season.

    I would like to thank everyone who was on the ABC board throughout my years in New Canaan because their hard work. All the guys that I had the pleasure to live with older and younger helped me succeed in the program. It was great to have close friends who pushed me to do better and were always there to give advice when I needed it. Finally, I would like to thank my host family, the Currans. They took me in freshman year with open arms, and I quickly became a part of their family. Going on trips or even just going to a movie with them made me feel like New Canaan was a home for me throughout my time in high school. I have visited them many times since graduating from the high school, and I know that I will always be a member of the family.

    Thanks to everyone who has had a positive influence on me throughout the program. What you have done for me affects my life today, and I appreciate it.

    Host Parents – Mike and Candace Curran

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