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1st Generation People Of Color Patrick Copney Memorial Music/Arts Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Apr 24, 2024
Winners Announced
May 24, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school or undergraduate
Black/African American
Low-income and will be or is a first-generation student
Music or Arts

My brother, Patrick Copney, had a deep love for music and art. 

His passionate legacy is carried on through this scholarship, which helps support first-generation students from low-income homes. As a low-income, first-generation college student myself, I understand the importance of encouraging the next generation of students to pursue their education in Music and the Arts. The 1st Generation People of Color Patrick Copney Memorial Music/Art Scholarship will help give financial assistance to low-income, African American, first-generation college students as they pursue a career in music or art in New York. 

Students in New York are eligible to apply if they are first-generation college students earning a music or arts degree. This scholarship is specifically for African American high school and undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds. To apply, write about why you are passionate about the degree you are pursuing.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published September 23, 2023
Essay Topic

Why are you passionate about pursuing the degree of your choice?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Dominic Hinkson
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community CollegeBRONX, NY
Where do I begin? The Arts are my life. More specifically, Visual Arts. Movies. Photography. There is so much that can be conveyed with a simple image to the point where I believe it is the ultimate form of human expression. It took me way too long to figure that out. As I pondered for a long time, what I’m actually passionate about in this life. What inspires me. What truly causes me to jump out of bed with excitement. Every night, I dream of taking all kinds of photos. And every day, I go out and shoot and the hours just wile away. I can easily spend every day just shooting what attracts my eye. People, landscapes, animals. I take pictures of them all as there’s art in all things. Art can especially be helpful to chart where you came from. I volunteer for this program that works with foster youth in the South Bronx called Photo Safe. And it’s amazing how powerful it is just for kids to have pictures of their families. Or the fact that so many foster youth don’t even have pictures of when they were young or babies to look back on. And there’s art in that too. Memories and experiences are art. Everything about Art just grabs my attention and keeps me focused. I take Theater class, Art history and Photography as part of art degree with a concentration in Photography. And I’m always excited to learn something new in each of those classes. Whether it’s period artwork from the Baroque and Victorian Eras, amazing photographs from fellow class Photographers or just writing a play and seeing it come to fruition. All of these things spark my imagination and engage my desire to create. To be creative and to display that to the world. I also feel like Art is just the natural design of the world. I mean look at things that seem as trivial as honeycombs that bees make. The geometric patterns, that’s art. Or spiders with their spider webs, how intricate those really are. That’s something intrinsic in our world. And I feel like as artists, we’re just tapping into what’s always existed. Lastly, I think that where I’m from is a huge benefactor on why I chose to be an artist. I mean so much art came from the Bronx, and of course, it’s the place of origin for the birth of Hip hop and hip hop culture. Growing up in our low income neighborhoods, we always aspired for better and we had our musical hero’s to look up to. Artists inspire artists.
Kennedy Epps
Pratt Institute-MainBROOKLYN, NY
Movies and tv shows are a big part of my life. Every emotion you feel there's a movie for it. Film has always given me a feeling that I can't explain or put into words. It's very overwhelming in the best way. Since I can remember, movies and filmmaking have been a constant form of expression in my life. At the age of three, I can still remember vividly lying in front of my mother's enormous box television. With only a floor light in the far corner and some toys scattered about, it was the only piece of furniture in the center of the living room. To simply live in these intriguing fantasies that these actors were portraying felt so surreal. This was a distraction that allowed me to remove myself from the present and immerse myself in fictional stories. The fact that we can make something from scratch for millions of people to establish their own unique opinions is incredible to me. Our imagination is limitless. Films have a clear beginning, middle, and end; as well as a plot and resolution. There are a hundred tiny details that make up a story. How a character's face lighting might indicate whether they are good or evil. Our mind subconsciously absorbs many different art forms at once when watching a movie. It combines various art forms including visual, musical, performance, etc. You will have a strong connection to these characters and they will gradually lure you into their world. The freedom from the limitations of reality that comes with being a filmmaker allows us to share any idea we feel is vital for the world to see. Storytelling through film is about connecting with others, while sharing life experiences. There is rarely a clear answer when people ask me which film I enjoy the most. For me, it all comes down to what we want in a movie. Many movies, in my opinion, are more about witnessing scenarios that feel more genuine than about escapism. When I watch a tv show, like Shameless, so many of its components touch a nerve within me and seem so realistic. It gave me the impression that many of the experiences I've encountered, felt, or seen aren't only things I've personally faced, but also experiences others have had as well. Seeing it in a way that so precisely portrays what you feel like you've gone through is extremely powerful. Listening to others' stories and expressing your own are the two things that matter most in this world. Knowing how specific movies influenced viewers' thoughts and feelings ignited my drive to produce my own projects. Through my film, I hope to serve as a voice and a safe haven, much like those actors and directors did for me.
Zoe De Bernardo
Fiorello H Laguardia High School of Music, Art and Performing ArtsNew York, NY
As an emerging filmmaker, I am interested in exploring the stories of people whose voices are often unheard. My films will focus on themes of identity, justice, and resilience, and will explore how these issues are experienced differently by different people. I am passionate about creating films that tell honest, meaningful stories that can spark dialogue and change. I plan to explore these themes through a variety of methods, including narrative fiction, documentary, and nonfiction. I am particularly drawn to documentary filmmaking because of its ability to capture a unique, real-life story and to bring attention to an issue or a person who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. I also believe that narrative fiction is a powerful tool for exploring difficult, complex topics in a more subtle and impactful way. Filmmaking is the perfect opportunity to create stories and bring them to life. I love the process of developing a story, the collaboration of multiple people and inspiring people with my work. Making films gives me the power to shape individuals’ perceptions and challenge them to think in new ways. It's exciting and rewarding when I create something meaningful, and I am excited to pursue it further at a higher level. I have been passionate about the art of filmmaking for as long as I can remember. Filmmaking has always felt like an incredibly powerful medium to bring stories to life, and I am constantly amazed at how a few elements such as lighting, sound, music, and excellent storytelling can combine together to craft unforgettable films that can leave an indelible impact on audiences. With my degree in filmmaking, I aim to use this medium of expression to create captivating visuals while exploring meaningful themes and stories. The idea of creating emotionally resonant films both excites and motivates me and is ultimately why I am so passionate about pursuing a degree in filmmaking. One of the most influential cinematic elements I’ve ever seen is the opening sequence from the film “the red balloon” (1965). It begins with a close-up of a black horse’s head and slowly zooms out to reveal the entire horse, the street it’s standing on, and the surrounding neighborhood. The camera then pans up to show the top of the street, the sky, and the iconic orange titles. Throughout the sequence, there is a low, ominous score that sets the mood for what’s to come. This scene has impacted me deeply and has greatly influenced the type of filmmaker I aspire to be. It has taught me the importance of creating a powerful atmosphere with visuals and music. I now make sure to think carefully about the mood I want to create with my films and the way I want to present my characters and stories. I also pay close attention to how I use the camera to convey the emotion of a scene, something I learned from this scene in “The Godfather”. My personal approach to filmmaking is heavily influenced by this scene. It has taught me the importance of creating a powerful atmosphere with visuals and music. I now make sure to think carefully about the mood I want to create with my films and the way I want to present my characters and stories. I also pay close attention to how I use the camera to convey the emotion of a scene, something I learned from this scene in “The Godfather”. I strive to create films that are emotionally powerful and that leave a lasting impact on my audience, just as this scene did for me.
Brandon Sackey
College of Mount Saint VincentThe Bronx, NY
I am passionate because when I was in the 10th grade in September 2019, my father told me that no longer I could go to school and come home after school ends at 2:30, he told me that I had no choice but to go to an afterschool program, to further enhance my learning. At first, I was upset with this & displeased, but then I stumbled upon a club led by a teacher in the school for videography, in which we worked with cameras and sets in the school, and outside nearby the school to capture scenes to create films. It sounded interesting to me, and I decided that I would enter the club.I ended up playing a minor role in a film being shot for the halloween season with club members, and it was my first ever taste of doing acting. I had to run in a gym from a killer who was secretly out for everyone, taking us all out one by one. The film actually ended up being not allowed to be publicly shown to the school even though it was finished due to it being considered by the school as too graphic, which I felt it wasn't really graphic and so didn't our club members either, but It was so fun lining up with other people and standing in specific spots, and being instructed but to also improvise what we could add to scenes that our director named Dr.Mike was asking for. I initially thought having to do afterschool would be a pain to deal with, but when the club met on Tuesdays & Thursdays, those were my favorite days because of how fun it was to be in the club. After the halloween film, we took a break for the winter season & we were going to return in March to start a romantic comedy film, but unfortunately, came a large problem. The COVID-19 Pandemic hit hard in 2020, and schools across the nation went remote causing major disruptions in learning, and my school transitioned to remote learning at home completely for 2020, and partially in 2021, and that meant I couldn't go to my club anymore. I even emailed my teacher in 2021 when school partially reopened for most days of the week if the club could be brought back, alas unfortunately Dr. Mike couldn't bring it back. Then began the 2021- 2022 year in high school, which would be my final year as a senior. The club still didn't return, but I decided from how I positively recalled my experience with the club that I would look for a college in NYC that offered a Theatre Major, and make it my career as before I went to that acting club, I didn't know what I wanted as a career in my life, but the club changed everything. I had troubles finding a college that didn't require an audition because even though I had an interest for acting, most colleges required me to pass an audition requiring a monologue, but I wasn't specialized enough in acting to prepare something like this well. Fortunately, I came across the College of Mount Saint Vincent, which offered Theatre as a major, and I stumbled upon them at a college fair in my high school, and they were the only college that offered Theatre as a major & without the need for auditioning, which had me sold. Taking my desire to continue acting from a hobby to a potential career out of interest for it, I then enrolled & have started my freshman journey beginning September 2022.
Aaliyah Summons
Hofstra UniversityPort Jervis, NY
Music is a language; it embodies the very passion of its creators' creative spirit and translates into a dialect that needs no explanation or introduction. It is felt and understood; comprehensible with anyone's interpretation. Music is the universal language that we all speak; even without all of its significant attributes, such as lyrics or a popularized pop melody, music has the potential to leave a lasting impact. It’s something that connects us. My dream is to pursue a career in music, creating art forged from the emotions and passions that reside within me. I aspire to create sounds and pen lyrics that feel like happiness, love, relatability, and understanding or mirror the spirit of contentment or a good time: holding a presence that could raise someone from the depths of despair or make a good day better. When I attain those aspirations, I hope to inspire anyone who listens; confident music will propagate positivity. My music alone won't change the world but could affect the individuals that have the potential to create a difference. Music has always been an integral part of me; it has gotten me through all the phases of emotions a teenage girl could go through in the confusing time of adolescence. It was always available to me and whenever I was upset I knew that I could write or create something that would help me share my experiences or tell what I was going through. Life was not always kind in the past, and writing allowed me a place to put all of my energy into good or bad. Many times, I’d forgotten that I, a dreamer, had expectations that took time. Often, so much of my life was consumed by the many passions in me that grew restless in the dull times I spent in prolonged periods of procrastination and reflection. I thought I was owed time because elements of my life weren’t promising, and began to take it for granted, but through this pain, tears, and sculpting of myself, I found art. I found music. Music was everywhere, in every component of life. Music didn’t have rules, I was free to express emotion into an outlet that only powered me to be the best I could be. This rewrote my vision for myself in an almost therapeutic way that allowed me to empty my emotions into music instead of keeping them bottled up. This is why I write music. For expression, emoted through what I love. Even more, I feel music is my gift. I want to share it with the world in hopes that it may inspire others. I desire to do what I love, creating art you cannot see, letting the words and melodies create the image that makes it worth anything to those who’ll listen. Music will always be a vital part of me. Whether I'm listening to it or creating it, I want to leave something behind in this world that I know could have impacted someone else. Furthering my education in music, I hope to lay the foundation that all my dreams will form upon. Music enriches the very being that is me, and being able to pursue a career in the field would not only be a dream come true but a step in all the directions that lead right. In my hands, I hold the power to create something timeless that transcends all time and can draw love from all hate; that is the power in prose and strength in music, that we all must come together to enjoy. Music to me holds a place for everyone.
Christian Houston
CUNY LaGuardia Community CollegeBrooklyn, NY
I am passionate about pursuing this degree because I want to make a difference in the world and see my beliefs come to fruition. Going to my #1 choice, Howard University will allow me to have the boost that I need following my graduation. I have a dream that will positively affect myself and my family. I want to be an actor and an eventual filmmaker. I've wanted to be an actor since I was ten, and it was always so hard to find casting calls. Even to this day, later in life, I want to provide minority students who want to work in entertainment with an opportunity to do whatever career that they are trying to do. My family has always done so much for me, and I want to be able to earn my degrees and start working so that I can help them even more than they have helped me. I'm now enrolled at LaGuardia Community College. Howard University appealed to me because, according to relatives, friends, my high school teachers, and current students on social media, it is a terrific place to make friends and meet interesting people. It's also an HBCU, which is exactly what I'm looking for. As a black male from New York, it's all too easy to be mistaken for someone you're not. So, I'd like to be around the same types of folks I grew up with, but in a much nicer setting. Following my hopeful acceptance to Howard University, I want to meet individuals from all over the country, network with other theater majors, and find people who are truly perfect for me, not just a forced friendship. Academically, I'd like to understand more about the acting industry, including what it's like and what kinds of experiences people have had. Professionally, I'd want to enter as someone who earned their spot, not someone who got lucky. Overall, I mainly need this degree because I have an immediate financial need. I originally wanted to go to an out-of-state university following my graduation, back in June 2021. Due to an unforeseen financial situation, I was unable to. Thank God, I found my place at Laguardia. I made sure that my grades were top-notch so that I could get these scholarships and make it to those schools without having to pay back loans. Thank you for taking your time to read this, and stay safe!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 24, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 24, 2024.

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