A Queens College graduate student is receiving a much-deserved full-tuition scholarship to teach students with disabilities.
Meldryck Parraga, who is of Ecuadorian and Dominican heritage, grew up in a Spanish-speaking household in Queens. His father was a painter and his mother was a hairdresser.
Parraga, interested in soccer at a young age, played in clubs in Flushing. He player soccer for Bronx Community College, where he earned his associate’s degree and won the Sportsman of the Year Award.
His next move was to Queens College, where he earned a degree in social studies education with a minor in political science. As a recipient of the Greenmail Scholarship, all of his tuition and fees for graduate work is covered.
“This means the world to me. I never expected to receive a scholarship,” he said .”It will provide me with the means to further my education while also allowing me to help out my parents. It definitely relieves the financial strain.”
Parraga is the first in his family to earn a college degree. He has two younger brothers, one of whom will be graduating from CUNY York College this year.
As part of his graduate study, Parraga will begin his first full-time teaching gig at the August Martin High School in South Richmond Hill, where he grew up and still lives.
“To me, teaching students with disabilities means providing the best education for people from all walks of life,” he said. “Too often it happens that students with disabilities aren’t held to the same standards, which isn’t fair to them because they can achieve just as much as anyone can.”