Esdras Malbranche, second from left, celebrates with, from left, Assistant Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre, Acting President A. Zachary Yamba and Dr. Ladylease White

Essex County College’s Pride Day 2017 on April 13 is a day that Esdras Malbranche will never forget.


With fellow students listening against a backdrop of balloons and colorful display tables set up on the College Plaza, Esdras learned from Acting President A. Zachary Yamba that he is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship. The award is worth $120,000, or $40,000 a year for up to three years, at a four year institution.


“I have literally no words to say right now,” said a disbelieving Esdras, who serves as Student Government Association (SGA) president. “I have to call my mother in Haiti to tell her this wonderful news,” added the Business Administration major as his classmates applauded.


Esdras is the 15th Essex County College student to earn the award since 2006. Essex has had more Cooke scholarships than any other community college in New Jersey.


Dr. Yamba noted that Esdras had told him he was very concerned about the cost of transferring to a four year college. “But now I can tell everyone that his prayers have been answered,” added Dr. Yamba.


“I came to Essex with a dream, I worked hard, I applied for this scholarship and God has helped me get here,” said Esdras, who has a 3.9 grade point average and is part of the College’s strenuous Honors Program. “There are also so many people who have helped me on this journey.”


In addition to Dr. Yamba, Esdras was able to share the moment with Honors Program Director Dr. Ladylease White and Assistant Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre, who is Assistant Director of the Honors Program.  They are also Division of Business faculty.


He will graduate with his Associate degree in May and plans to major in Economics upon transfer.


Now the future looks very bright for the Newark resident. He has been accepted at both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers University. He now will also be able to consider such schools as New York University, Cornell University, Columbia University and Dartmouth College.


In addition to being an outstanding student, Esdras has taken a leadership role in the College as SGA president. He was one of the main organizers of last fall’s College-wide Sharing the Harvest initiative which resulted in more than 40 deserving students receiving Thanksgiving food baskets.


The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees.



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