A Bellerose high school student is one of five winners of the state Carey Gabay Scholarship Program, which honors exceptional students from disadvantaged backgrounds with full scholarships to SUNY schools, the governor’s office said.
Avik Kadakia is to attend Stony Brook University, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a news release.
The scholarship is in its second year and pays for each student’s tuition, room and board, fees, books and supplies, as well as transportation and personal expenses.
It is named for Carey Gabay, who was an assistant counsel to Cuomo and first deputy counsel for the Empire State Development Corporation. Gabay, 43, died nine days after being hit in the head by a stray bullet on Sept. 7, 2015, during a shootout at the J’ouvert Festival in Crown Heights. He rose from living in public housing in the Bronx to attending Harvard Law School before eventually working for Cuomo.
“Carey was an inspiration who believed in the power of public service, and these outstanding students exemplify his core values, determination and commitment to hard work,” Cuomo said in the release. “As we reach the second anniversary of his passing, these scholarships will help us carry on Carey’s memory, values and commitment to improving the lives of all New Yorkers.”
Kadakia emigrated from India and “has faced several struggles in his life,” the release said. During superstorm Sandy, his family offered their home as a temporary shelter to others.
He has been student government president and class valedictorian, the release said, and also worked in peer mentoring and tutoring.
“He is dedicated to pursuing social justice by helping others through leadership,” the release said of Kadakia, “giving a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves.”