Vineland High School senior Ferdinand Moscat was named the recipient of the exclusive QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship, earning a full ride to Northwestern University. Only 1,127 students across the nation were selected.
According to QuestBridge, Match Scholarship Recipients are admitted early to QuestBridge college partners with full four-year scholarships that are provided by the colleges and universities, ensuring for these students and their families that an education at a top college can be affordable.
QuestBridge’s 40 college partners include top liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Pomona, and Williams and exceptional research universities such as Columbia, Duke, Rice, Stanford, and Yale. The Match Scholarship is offered as part of a generous financial aid package provided by the college that covers the full cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses.
Elyse Matriccino, chair of the guidance department and Moscat’s counselor, noted that the scholarship opportunity allows the universities to essentially cherry-pick the top students in the nation without taking into consideration their ability to pay. They are also able to provide assistance to the incoming students.
“It creates a support system for first-generation students so that they will be successful when they attend these very elite schools,” she said.
Moscat, who will be graduating in the top five percent of his class, is no stranger to a challenge. In addition to his rigorous course load, he has held a number of leadership roles at VHS, including class president for all four years of high school. He is also active in several community service organizations and is committed to social justice, initiating programs related to community mental health and domestic violence prevention.
Moscat self-published a children’s book entitled The Day I Realized I Love You, which shows the relationship between a child and their immigrant parent.
“It goes into what that looks like for some families, what it means to be a first-generation American child, and what it’s like to have a parent that gave everything up so you could have a better life,” Moscat said.
He also channels his love of theater and working with the community into the non-profit organization he created, called Coloring Outside the Lines. Coloring Outside the Lines helps to increase the accessibility of theater to children of color and/or low-income children. Moscat brings artistic resources into daycare and camp settings to do arts-based workshops in an attempt to combat his own experience of the cycle of privilege that occurs within community arts.
“He’s just done phenomenal things all by himself,” Matriccino said. “And he did it from his heart because he believed it and wanted to provide opportunities for other kids that he didn’t have.”
Moscat plans on majoring in theater at Northwestern, with a specific focus that combines his love of the arts with his leadership experience.
“I’m really interested in the intersection between theater and politics and how theater can be used as a political agent,” he said. “I want to see how theater can be used to start political conversations and push social change. You can do that through any art form, but I think what makes theater so special is theater is anchored in human connection. I think the best way to make social change always has to come from a point of empathy and compassion, and I find that theater is the best playground for that.”
Moscat also attributes the encouragement of VHS staff members to helping him reach his goals. With assistance both in and outside of the classroom, he knew that if he had a goal in mind, someone would be there to help.
“VHS has a great support structure,” he said. “I knew that if I wanted something, and really believed I could do it, I could with the help of the people here.”