Nehemia School Graduates Give Back

Nehemia School Graduates Give Back

Apr 08, 2019

This June, one lucky 9th grader at the Nehemia School will be awarded the inaugural Dr. Jorgji Jajcari Academic Excellence Scholarship. The $1000 scholarship will support 10th grade tuition at the Nehemia School, reducing the financial burden of tuition so that the recipient can focus on his or her studies. Selection is based upon academic achievement, with consideration given to extracurriculars.

The scholarship is the creation of two Nehemia School graduates, cousins Lazaron Gusho and Lori Çobani. Both attended college and graduate school in the United States. Lazaron holds a BS in Civil Engineering, and an MS in Construction Management from New York University. He lives in New York and is part of a team that manages multi-million-dollar construction projects for a private corporation. Lori is working toward a PhD in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Temple University in Philadelphia. Their time at Nehemia School was the academic foundation to their current success. It also helped instill the importance of giving back and helping others. Lazaron and Lori are truly implementing NG’s core values in real life by creating opportunities for the next generation in their hometown of Pogradec.

They designed the scholarship in honor of their late grandfather, Jorgii Jajçari.Dr. Jajçari was an epidemiologist and professor of medicine by training and served for many years as the Director of Health Department in Pogradec. Dr. Jajçari’s legacy lives on through his contribution to the radical transformation of health systems and medical practices, as well as building new medical centers in southeast Albania. In 2005, Dr. Jajçari was awarded the honorary medal “Distinguished Personality of the District of Korça in the Medical Field” for his innumerable contributions and distinguished leadership. Dr. Jajçari died in May 2007.

NG-USA Development Director Sarah Pita had the opportunity to interview Lazaron and Lori recently about Scholarship, and the Lydnida Fund. Excerpts from our conversation are below.

What does Lyhnida mean? Why did you choose this name for your scholarship fund?

The name Lyhnida is a derivative of the ancient name of the Ohrid Lake (Lychnidos Lake ~ The Lake of Light) where the city of Pogradec lies against. We felt that this name best represented both of us and the legacy of our grandfather.

How did you get the idea to honor your grandfather in this way?

Awarding a scholarship is a meaningful way to give back to the community and honor the legacy of a loved one. That is why we thought of doing it by promoting academic excellence and supporting generations to come through remembering Dr. Jorgji Jajcari, an excellent scholar, medical doctor and leader as well as a respected and loved personality in the community.

You must really have loved going to Nehemia School! What was the best thing about your experience there?

Lori:We spent many years at Nehemia School so our connection with the school is very strong. I went there for all 12 years of my pre-college education. The experience there was unforgettable since we spent most of the childhood and teenage years at Nehemia. It provided us with a high-quality education and great learning environment. We are very grateful to our parents for making the decision to send us there. We were both lucky to be chosen to study at Landheim Schondorf am Ammersee School in Germany for a semester as winners of an academic scholarship through the partnership between the two schools. Personally, it remains as one of the best experiences of my time at Nehemia.

Lazaron: I would not take a single comma from what Lori stated above. I would add that the Class of 2008 was the first to graduate, and my classmates and I were the first to experience many things (some better than others!). I think we all take some pride in that. Other memories that I cherish from the time spent at Nehemia are the different sport championships, especially soccer and the atmosphere they would create among almost every student.

Is this scholarship a one-time, one-year award, covering only 10th grade? Or can students receive support for 11th and 12th grade as well?

Initially the scholarship will be awarded to currently enrolled 9th grade students. Our goal is to extend the scholarship further and support students further. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done regarding this.

Are awards based primarily on a student’s excellence, or on their financial need?

The criteria are listed on our website and they include a mix of academic performance as well as extracurricular activities. We have not placed any specific weight on each criterion, but the goal is to support academic excellence as indicated even in the name of this scholarship.

Who will select the scholarship winners?

We believe that there will be a board of members that will make the final decision. Since we are funding this scholarship, we prefer not to be part of that decision in order to maintain transparency in the process of selecting a winner.

Do you expect any kind of report from scholarship recipients?

We expect the scholarship recipient to report to us about the academic progress, as well as other relevant extracurricular activities. This way we can decide if students are eligible to maintain the scholarship.

How are you funding this scholarship? Do you plan to grow beyond this one scholarship? Are you looking for additional donors?

Our initial goal is to extend the scholarship eligibility to other High Schools in Pogradec, as well as the number of scholarships available, since we are both committed to giving back to the community, especially when it comes to education. As the scholarship fund grows, additional donors that fit certain criteria might be considered.

Are you in touch with many of your Nehemia classmates?

Both of us try to stay in touch with many of our classmates, thanks to technology it is not that hard nowadays. And of course, when our schedules and travel plans allow, it is always a pleasure to catch up and spend quality time with other Nehemia Alumni living in the US.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to everyone at Nehemiah for helping us to make this possible. Big thank you to professor Drini, to Elona, Arlinda, Doug and many other collaborators (we promise to mention you next time). We would also like to sincerely thank our friend and computer wizard Ina Zace for dealing with our crazy schedules and rate of plan changes while working on our website. And last, but certainly not least, Thank you to our Grandpa, for the inspiration, unconditional love, care and mentorship while growing up... and of course some fine DNA. We know he is very proud of us…

Lyhnida Fund website:

To contact Lazaron and Lori directly: [email protected]