Sulema Claudia DePeyster

Age: 18

School: University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

I was born in June and when I came out, my mother said I grabbed the paper from the operating room table, ripped it and held on to it all the way to the sink, where the doctor rinsed me off. The doctor said she had never seen anything like that. I guess that was my first sign of determination.

Early in my life I was exposed to diversity. I attended elementary school in Chinatown in Manhattan, and was the only African-American student in my class. I learned a lot about Asian culture and food and to this day, I have a strong appreciation for other cultures. My best friends in high school are from the Dominican Republic. I have learned about their culture and enjoy eating their food. My favorite music is KPop, a South Korean music genre. I love music and singing, I write songs and create music beats. I am self-taught on the piano and guitar, and I learn popular songs playing them by ear. I tried out for “The Voice” and “Showtime at the Apollo.” I am not afraid and determined to pursue my dreams.

As a student, I am disciplined. I do my assignments ahead of time and always finish my homework in advance. I take pride in my work. I am President of the National Honor Society, planning the community service activities for the year; giving incoming students tours of our high school; organizing a Valentine’s Day dance for all students to get to know each other; and organizing blood drives to help the local community in need. Like Trey Whitfield, I also love sports. I play on my high school’s girls softball team. I will honor the memory of Trey Whitfield by working hard in college and being a student that the Foundation can be proud of.