The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for our 2019 Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship! The scholarship has become an annual tradition for our firm, and serves as both a way for us to support hard-working students and honor the life of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year old autistic boy whose 2013 disappearance and tragic death prompted an unprecedented outpouring of support.
The $1,000 scholarship is available to students who are:
- Living with a form of autism or who have a close family member diagnosed on the autism spectrum (including Asperger’s); and
- Currently enrolled in or accepted to an accredited college, university, or vocational school for undergraduate or post-graduate studies.
Eligible students must complete an application form, provide a copy of transcripts, and submit an essay on one of three provided prompts. The submission deadline is Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be notified in mid-August.
You can find more information about the Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship, rules and required submissions, and the stories of past winners on our scholarship page
About the Scholarship: Avonte’s Story
Avonte’s story is a reminder of the power of compassion and passionate people. After wandering away from his Long Island City school in 2013, Avonte prompted one of the City’s biggest search efforts. Unfortunately, his body was tragically discovered over three months later in the East River.
While the story has a tragic end, the search response and overwhelming support from local residents were unprecedented. Volunteers, public safety workers, and hundreds of others banded together as the search spread across the City, and lampposts, subway stations, and cars were inundated with posters about the missing boy.
Awareness raised during the search for Avonte also led to the drafting of important legislation, which became law in New York in 2014 and which was recently passed by Congress at the federal level in March of 2018. Known as “Kevin and Avonte’s Law,” the law helps families locate missing loved ones with autism, dementia, and other special needs that may make them prone to wandering and unable to find their way home, and also supports preventative and response training for caregivers. It’s a critical step for preventing similar tragedies from happening in the future, and part of larger efforts to address wandering and the needs of families caring for those with autism.
Read more in our press release.
How to Apply: Getting Started
Students must meet eligibility requirements, provide copies of their academic transcript, and submit an essay on one of several provided topics. Our scholarship page includes more information about applying, the application form, and the essay topics for this year.
The Perecman Law Firm, P.L.L.C. looks forward to this year’s submissions, and encourages you to spread the word about the scholarship and Avonte’s story!