Last August, freshman Indonesia Young bought her first cell phone.
The phone was a reward for how hard she worked throughout her life—and because she just learned she had been awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Temple in the fall.
Young, a freshman English major, is the first recipient of the Katz Scholarship that was established this past year in memory of trustee Lewis Katz, who passed away in a plane crash in May 2014. This scholarship, which covers all school expenses for four years, is specifically for students from Camden, New Jersey who “embody the values and legacy of Lewis Katz,” said Rachel Lippoff, director of Account Compliance in the Office of Institutional Advancement.
Young was born and raised in Camden, and she attended Camden Catholic High School cost-free through the Townsend Foundation. But Young mentioned Camden Catholic is nothing like the city of Camden, as it is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, a much wealthier town outside of Camden.
“Basically it was like, they had the newest iPhones, their parents were buying them cars,” she said. “I had to work like summers just to buy my first car … and they were getting, like, BMWs!”
Since she was 14, Young worked throughout her summers saving for college expenses, before she learned she was awarded the scholarship.
Young’s success was largely due to her drive and motivation toward her future, while others around her made poor decisions, she said.
“I was never really a follower, as opposed to the girls that were in my actual city,” Young said. “They were doing their own little thing but I wasn’t down with it at all. … If I work hard now, it will pay off eventually.”
After receiving this scholarship, Young still admitted feeling “survivor’s remorse” after getting out of her impoverished home city, where only 5.5 percent of its adult population has a bachelor’s degree and 50 percent of the city’s children live below the poverty line, according to Hopeworks ‘N Camden.
Although Temple had a recent spike in diversity with the class of 2019, Young still finds she is one of few African American students on her floor in the Honors Living-Learning Community in 1300 Residence Hall.
“It’s kind of awkward trying to make friends, like d—-, I’m the only one here,” Young said. “But I’m kind of proud of it in a sense.”
Drew Katz, Lewis Katz’s son, was unaware of the scholarship named after his late father, but he feels Young is someone who can live up to it.
“He would be extraordinarily touched that he was being remembered in this way,” Drew Katz told The Temple News. “And he would be incredibly proud of the first recipient.”
“Indonesia is not only an impressive person and a talented student, but she is also incredibly driven,” said Jim Dicker, vice president of institutional advancement. “This relentless drive to push past barriers and achieve her goals is something we admire about Indonesia. With her roots in Camden and her love for Temple, she is an excellent choice to be our inaugural Katz Scholar.”
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.