East Stroudsburg University awards full scholarships to BASD seniors

Written by on March 30, 2021

East Stroudsburg University awards full scholarships to BASD seniors

By Tyler Pratt

March 30, 2021

Nathalia Gutierrez stands with her family and BASD Superintendant Joseph Roy as she receives the news she will be attending East Stroudsburg University on a four-year full-tuition paid scholarship. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR

A new scholarship program between East Stroudsburg University and the Bethlehem Area School District is sending two graduating seniors to college, full tuition paid. 

Listen to the story.

It was an emotional moment at Liberty High School as one student received her award. 

Nathalia Guiterrez stands in the Art Gallery at Liberty High School. Surrounded by her family, teachers and staff, she wipes tears from her eyes. 

“I was not expecting it. I’m so happy I’m excited to be the first generation to go to the college of my family,” Guiterrez says. 

This is the first year of a new partnership with East Stroudsburg. BASD Superintendent Joseph Roy says the program looks for students who are first-generation college-goers with “distinctive” life experiences. 

“That they have a story that they’ve overcome obstacles that they’ve learned from that we can be really confident. If you’re going to give someone a full scholarship you want them to be successful and make a difference in college,” Roy says.

BASD senior Nathalia Gutierrez shares a tearful hug with a Liberty High School teacher upon the news of she was awarded a  full scholarship to East Stroudsburg University. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR

Nathalia Guiterrez grew up in Colombia. She says she remembers seeing gang violence, having her house broken into and not having enough money for school supplies. She later immigrated to the U.S. with her mother and brother. 

She spoke no English.

“I remember the first day of school, I went in and I came back to the office crying because I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to communicate. People wanted to talk to me and I was so lost,” Guiterrez says. 

Her mom worked in the office and they both cried together.

“And she looked at me and she said: we have gone through worse things and I know you can do this. This is nothing bigger than you,” she says.  

Now years later, nearing her graduation at Liberty, Guiterrez and her mom hug each other, crying again. This time with tears of joy. 

Guitterrez says she plans to study nursing at East Stroudsburg because she wants to give back to her community. 

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