2005-08-12 / Community

Governor Pataki Signs AA 587 Scholarship Bill

Family members of victims of the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587, a Dominican Republic-bound flight that lost all 260 passengers and killed six people on the ground when it crashed into Belle Harbor, Queens on Nov. 12, 2001, look on as Governor George Pataki signs a bill establishing a scholarship for them in front of CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute at City College. The bills establishing the Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship were sponsored by Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (behind Pataki, left) and State Senator John Sabini (behind Pataki, right).  Standing behind the lawmakers are (L to R) New York City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares; Hector Algarroba, a Dominican activist who lost his two parents in the crash; and City College President Gregory Williams.Family members of victims of the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587, a Dominican Republic-bound flight that lost all 260 passengers and killed six people on the ground when it crashed into Belle Harbor, Queens on Nov. 12, 2001, look on as Governor George Pataki signs a bill establishing a scholarship for them in front of CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute at City College. The bills establishing the Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship were sponsored by Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (behind Pataki, left) and State Senator John Sabini (behind Pataki, right).  Standing behind the lawmakers are (L to R) New York City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares; Hector Algarroba, a Dominican activist who lost his two parents in the crash; and City College President Gregory Williams. On Monday, August 8, Governor George E. Pataki signed into law

legislation creating a new scholarship program for the spouses, children

and financial dependents of victims of the November 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 plane crash.

“In the spirit of the September 11th Memorial Scholarships, the Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship program will cover the cost of higher education at any SUNY or CUNY campus or an equivalent amount for students who attend private colleges in New York State for victims’ families,” said a Pataki spokesperson. “The Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship Program will help the surviving relatives of the victims of the Flight 587 crash build brighter futures by helping them continue their education. I am proud to sign this legislation that will help support these families as they rebuild their lives,” Governor Pataki said. “When Flight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor the prayers of all New Yorkers were with the victims and their families. We want the families to know that our thoughts and prayers will always be with them.”

Senator John D. Sabini, sponsor of the legislation, said, “Any benefit we,

as a people, can offer these grieving survivors is a good thing. Spouses

and children who have lost providers should not lose the educational opportunities they might have had, if this tragedy had not occurred.”

Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, sponsor of the legislation, said, “Today is a very good day for the survivors and a good day for the state of New York.

“Many of the children who lost family members on Flight 587 would not be able to afford college without this legislation. By offering a college education we are providing some hope for these families who have gone through such a tremendous tragedy.”

Hector Algarroba, the founder of the HHS Foundation, a charitable group doing work in the Dominican Republic since 1998, who lost his mother and father in the tragedy, said, “Today is very special for the families of the victims of Flight 587. Over the last year, Governor Pataki, his dedicated staff, and other concerned public servants, joined me in a crusade to help the spouses and children impacted by the tragedy, by securing their right to higher education. It has been a long and slow road, but once more we have proven that perseverance, commitment, and belief in improving people’s lives, are worth the hard work.”

“I thank all who contributed to the realization of this program, and wish

all eligible spouses and children of the victims of Flight 587 luck, as they embrace a higher education to improve their lives and that of others,” Algarroba said.

The Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship program will cover the cost of

attendance at any State University or City University campus, or will

provide an equivalent amount toward the cost of attendance at a private

college or university located in New York State. This would allow students to pursue all available undergraduate programs in the State’s public and private higher education system. The memorial award is expected to benefit nearly 150 eligible children and spouses over the next 20 years, at a maximum average annual cost of approximately $100,000. The initial cost of the Scholarship Program would be $400,000 including funding for scholarship costs retroactive to the 2001-02 academic year.

The Governor’s Flight 587 Memorial Scholarships were created for spouses who now shoulder the heavy burden of supporting their families and children who have lost the support of their parents, as a result of the tragedy.

The mission of the program is that they obtain a college degree and begin a self-supporting life.

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