A Celebration of Life & Legacy: Remembering Winston Perez-Ventura, DPHHS ‘17

Winston Perez-Ventura walked the halls of Democracy Prep Harlem High School as a scholar who was incredibly driven, ambitious, and passionate. He was truly dedicated in all of his endeavors, whether that was playing his heart out on the soccer and baseball fields, creating an engaged and enthusiastic atmosphere in the classroom, or supporting his family and friends.  

Winston graduated from DPHHS in 2017. He was excited to begin a new chapter in his life, getting ready to begin his first year of college at Cornell University and being one step closer to realizing his dream of becoming an architect. This year, Winston would have been a part of the graduating class of 2021 and starting the next stage in his life.

In the summer of 2017, our community was struck with the shocking news that Winston had tragically passed away in a swimming accident at the Ithaca Gorges. As we coped with the utter sadness and sorrow of losing such a cherished part of Democracy Prep, we were committed to making sure that Winston’s life and legacy lived on in a meaningful way. 

The Winston Perez-Ventura Microgrant Fund is our way of doing just that. Every year, the Democracy Prep community would come together for the BP vs. DP Winston Perez-Ventura Homecoming Classic, which is a friendly basketball game between our New York City high schools. All of the proceeds from this fundraiser went to the Microgrant Fund.

You may ask, “What is the Winston Perez-Ventura Microgrant Fund for?” 

For many of our scholars, college is their first experience of living life independently and that can be very challenging without a solid support system. The microgrant fund provides a financial support system that relieves the financial burden that many of our scholars face in college. This may come in the form of reimbursing scholars for transportation costs to travel back home, applying for additional credits, or funding a research project. In doing so, we are helping alumni navigate the complexities of post-secondary education by equipping them with the resources they need to graduate. 

While the world is keeping us apart right now and we aren’t able to meet in-person for our traditional basketball game this year, we are still honoring Winston. This microgrant program is a living example of his legacy. Please consider donating to the Winston Perez-Ventura Microgrant Fund. No donation is too small. Each dollar makes a difference to our alumni!]

Winston Perez-Ventura was the epitome of our motto: Work hard. Go to College. Change the World! He touched the lives of everyone around him with his boundless energy and love for life. And with the Winston Perez-Ventura Microgrant Fund, Winston will continue to do so.

On October 25th, 2017, DPCHS scholar Julian Nunez wrote a blog post in honor of Winston Perez-Ventura. Read it here.

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