Volume 23, Number 7| The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 25 - July 1, 2010
Photo courtesy of the Stuyvesant Alumni Association
Stuyvesant High School senior Szeylin Lee and Jacques Capsouto, a brother of the late Albert Capsouto, pose for a picture during the school’s award ceremony where she won a scholarship for her work in community service.
Recipient named for Albert Capsouto Memorial Scholarship
BY Michael Mandelkern
With a robust high school career of community service, Szeyin Lee, a senior at Stuyvesant High School, was awarded the first annual $1,000 Albert Capsouto Memorial Scholarship this month to ease the financial burden of preparing for college.
“I’ve grown so much throughout Stuyvesant,” she said, which she largely attributes to her involvement in the community.
As a member of A.R.I.S.T.A., S.H.S.’s honor society, she devoted her time to numerous school activites and local events, such as serving food at the annual Taste of Tribeca.
“There’s so many opportunities [in Lower Manhattan], so much stuff,” said Lee.
She volunteered at the New York Downtown Hospital as a secretary for her first two years of high school as did the late Capsouto. According to Jacques Capsouto, a brother of Albert Capsouto, he was set to become a N.Y.D.H. trustee in the near future.
Lee has also been tutoring newly-arrived immigrants at the Brooklyn United Chinese Association. “Most of them and their parents don’t know the system. I had the same experience so I told them, ‘Don’t be scared,’” she said.
She was a part of the Teagle Scholars Program, an online media group that seeks to raise political awareness, and had a leadership role in her school’s Asian Cultures Club.
Jacques gave a speech and presented her with the grant at a S.H.S. award ceremony. Lee was the sole winner of the Capsouto scholarship.
When asked how she stood out amongst other applicants, Jacques Capsouto said that “she did more in the community than the others.”
Lee plans to continue her community service when she attends Scripps College in the fall. She is interested in volunteering at an organization that helps organize trips for families to visit mothers in prison.
“It’s a natural thing,” she said. “I want to do something and I feel like I have the time and the energy.”
Located in Claremont, California, she said the $1,000 will help pay for her traveling expenses to college.
Although community service is the award’s main criteria, her grades, essay, an interview and finacial needs were also important factors. Candidates were interviewed by members of an Alumni Association committee.
“I think he [Albert Capsouto] would approve [of Lee],” said Jacques Capsouto.
Albert Capsouto passed away in January at 53 from a brain tumor. He graduated from S.H.S. in 1973 as valedictorian. He was a part of the Alumni Association and there is now $9,000 available for Capsouto award applicants. Shimon Zlotnikov, a close friend of Albert Capsouto, started the fund with a $5,000 donation.
Albert Capsouto moved to Tribeca in 1979 and opened the restaurant Capsouto Frères, a bistro in the neighborhood, the following year with Jacques Capsouto and their brother Samuel Capsouto. He was a C.B. 1 member since 1992.
Jacques Capsouto added that his late brother hosted several S.H.S. reunions at the restaurant in the past. “Albert was very involved with the school,” he said.
Lee said she has not dined at Capsouto Frères yet but plans to before she begins college.