Four graduating Cosmetology students awarded newly established scholarships

Barbara E. Chin Endowment honors the memory of a longtime BOCES teacher

Barbara E. Chin, scholarship fund's namesakeThe Southern Westchester BOCES Education Foundation will award $500 scholarships to four graduating Cosmetology students thanks to a newly created endowment established in memory of a longtime BOCES instructor.

A scholarship fund was established this school year in the amount of $20,000 to commemorate a woman whose zeal for life, passion for education and desire to mentor young people deserves to be remembered, said her niece, Ingrid Dixon.

“She never had children of her own, but she adopted so many along the way, primarily through her work with BOCES, ” said Ms. Dixon, a White Plains resident, who established the endowment. “She had a tremendous passion for young people and mentored many. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to her to continue to help young people as they find their place in life.”

Ms. Chin taught Cosmetology at Nassau BOCES for roughly 30 years. Prior to that, she had a successful private sector career, beginning with the Wilfred Academy. Born in Jamaica, she arrived in the U.S. at 16 and settled in New York City. She passed away in January, three weeks after her 90th birthday.

Because of her aunt’s unique personality and the way she lived, Ms. Dixon felt compelled to honor her in this way. She described Ms. Chin as full of life, passionate about pets (especially dogs—often joking that she even loved them more than people!), and energetic to her final years. She was well traveled – as evidenced by her refrigerator magnet collection from exotic and interesting places she visited including Tunisia, Monaco, the Fiji Islands, Costa Rica, Ghana, South Africa, Italy and Australia. Her niece expressed high hopes for the scholarship recipients and said they could honor Ms. Chin by living a full and enriching life.

Ingrid Dixon and her aunt, Barbara Chin“I think being civic-minded is essential,” she said. “Don’t take life for granted. Don’t think you can’t help when you can. Keep growing, keep building, and keep learning.”

The Barbara E. Chin Scholarships will be awarded annually to SWBOCES students in the Cosmetology program at the Center for Career Services who are in good standing and demonstrate a commitment to further studies to achieve their goals beyond their current program through continued education or skills training.

The inaugural recipients are Lotti Drinkwine of Pelham, Esmerelda Navarro Magallon of Port Chester, Taylar Mitura from Westlake High School, and Gabriela Rodriguez of Eastchester.

They were evaluated by veteran Cosmetology instructors Theresa Galitello and Laura Mirabel. To have qualified, they must: intend to continue their education or licensing in Cosmetology; have participated in active community service; be a needs-based selection; and maintain a GPA of 85 or above.

Taylar, a senior at Westlake High School, first learned of the scholarship from her teacher Ms. Mirabel. She plans to use her portion of the scholarship to further education in cosmetology.

“I was pretty excited,” she said. “I was happy that I don't need to pay a lot out of pocket for the state boards and that Southern Westchester BOCES would be helping me out.”

Taylar works in a salon and plans to study business with the goal of opening her own salon one day.

Lotti said she enjoys all aspects of cosmetology and is a member of her school’s drama club, where she does hair and makeup for the cast.

“I’m so honored, very shocked but also excited because I want to obtain different hair and makeup certifications,” she said. “I think this opportunity is amazing because it’s giving students funding to further their education. It’s just wonderful.”