A Home Improvement
Living with purpose at the ABC Girls House
The six Wilton ABC girl scholars at their home on Godfrey Place.
Photos by Stan Godlewski
Last fall, two girls from racially diverse neighborhoods left home, moved into a house with strangers, and began classes at a privileged, predominantly white high school. They were just 14. This June, two others will graduate and venture off to college wiser, more independent, and confident students thanks to A Better Chance of Wilton. Like the 38 ABC Scholars preceding them, they depart with a brighter future than when they arrived—and leave behind a spirit of courage, tenacity, and hope. Meet six who call the girls house home.
Essence Williams, 18 / New Brunswick, NY
“In the world today, it’s not just our own bubble we need to be concerned about. We also need to recognize different cultures,” says Essence Williams. An enthusiastic volunteer, active member of the WHS Climate Committee, and member of the German Honor Society, Williams contributes as much to the community as she reaps. Last summer, she traveled to northern China to study Asian culture and Mandarin. Following graduation, she’ll commence a five-year diplomacy program at Seaton Hall University.
Aqueelah Muhammad, 18 / East Orange, NJ
Aqueelah Muhammad reminds herself often that she can do anything she puts her mind to, an affirmation she’s lived out often over the past four years. High school senior, yearbook co-editor, track and field shot-putter, dancer, runner, ardent volunteer, Thailand traveller, member of the Bon Amico program, student design team, and peervention club— she’s done it all. An only child who lives with her mother, Muhammad grew up surrounded by four-generations of family. Come August, she’ll leave them once again to study film
and media production at college.
Bianca Juca, 16 / Queens, NY
Bianca Juca knows first-hand the upside of determination. A shy child with just a few friends, she discovered a passion for basketball in middle school. When she was cut from the team in 6th grade, the budding hoops player practiced harder. The following year, she not only made the team, but also became a point-guard, starter, and co-captain. Juca learned about ABC from her brother who attended the program in Pennsylvania. She applied, visited Wilton, and fell in love. “That’s when I realized I was meant to come here,” she says. A math and history enthusiast, Juca plays on the J.V girl’s basketball team and plans to launch her own business after college.
Yanny Garcia, 15 / Lawrence, MA
Yanny Garcia was five when her family relocated from the Dominican Republic. Then she moved again—this time alone—to Wilton. Last summer, the sophomore ventured to Georgia to study psychology at Emory College, take a college prep class, and explore Atlanta. “I’m planning on working this summer, then going abroad junior year,” Garcia says. Closer to home, she volunteers at the Library’s annual book sale, the Children’s Day School, Stop Hunger Now, and a puppy shelter. Not surprisingly, Garcia hopes to study developmental child psychology and pursue a career in criminal justice.
Nadia Voravolya, 14 / Philadelphia, PA
New friends, new experiences, new opportunities—Nadia Voravolya embraces them all. An only child living with her parents, Voravolya was drawn to the strong sense of community both within the ABC program and throughout the town. “I love going to school in Wilton; everyone is so friendly and supportive,” she says. A math-lover with a creative bent, Voravolya crushes equations in the classroom, then feeds her imagination, dabbling in art, writing songs, playing guitar and piano, and singing in the WHS concert choir. Yoravolya plans to pursue a career in medicine.
Kiri Clancy, 14 / Queens, NY
Kiri Clancy struggled to keep up in school despite her intelligence. Toward the end of middle school, her parents thought the teen would benefit from ABC. A movie, math, and music buff, Clancy plays ukulele, euphonium, is a member of the WHS marching band—and hopes to be a pediatrician one day.