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Once again, the Yankees, Stonewall Inn, and the NYC Department of Education teamed up to hit it out the park for Pride Month.

Earlier this month, the New York Yankees, Stonewall Inn, and the DOE announced the winners of the 2021 Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative, our third annual of celebration of LGTBQ student leadership and excellence. First launched in June 2019 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisingthe Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative recognizes the achievements of five college-bound City public high school seniors who demonstrate strong academic achievement alongside meaningful support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning or Queer (LGBTQ) community. As in prior years, one graduating senior per borough was selected for a Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship, and each scholarship recipient received $10,000 for college and/or college-related expenses.

“There is no better way to celebrate Pride Month than by honoring five incredible young people for their contributions to their school communities and their commitment to creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQ youth,” said Chancellor Meisha Porter in response to this year’s scholarship announcement. “I am deeply grateful to the New York Yankees and the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative for spending the time to get to know these students and for providing them with scholarships that set them up for bright futures as they continue fighting for justice in every part of their lives.”

“These young leaders represent the future of the LGBTQ community, and they deserve every opportunity to pursue both their personal aspirations and their dreams to create a more inclusive world,” said Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman.

Three Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Winners pointing to the stands at Yankee Stadium

2021 Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship winners, beginning left to right: Ryan Heesemann, Viviana Sakura Benzan, and Christine Cabusay (Photo Credit: New York Yankees)

This year’s five Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship recipients are:

  • Viviana “V” Sakura Benzan from the Bronx — Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
    • Will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Christine Cabusay from Staten Island —  Stuyvesant High School
    • Will attend Tulane University
  • Ryan Heesemann from Queens — John Adams High School
    • Will attend Queens College (CUNY)
  • Skye Mayo from Manhattan — The NYC Museum School
    • Will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Daniil Tagaev from Brooklyn — Brooklyn Studio Secondary School
    • Will attend Hunter College

This year’s recipients were first informed of their awards on a Zoom call with Yankees, Stonewall Inn, and DOE executives, and then they were invited to Yankee Stadium on June 18 for a ceremony in the Yankees’ Monument Park.

The Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship Initiative is just a small part of the NYC Department of Education’s broader effort to recognize, celebrate, and support the City’s LGBTQ students. The DOE is committed to providing LGBTQ students with ongoing resources, supports, activities, and events, and as a result, our schools’ Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA) are thriving, school curricula are more inclusive, and more teachers are attending trainings to support LGBTQ students.

On behalf of the DOE, we congratulate all five of this year’s Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship recipients on their achievements, and we wish each and every one of them continued success in college and beyond!

Three Yankees-Stonewall winners standing with Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, at homeplate at Yankee Stadium

Yankees-Stonewall Scholarship winners, Christine (left), Ryan (center right), and Viviana (right) standing at home plate with Yankees manager, Aaron Boone (center left).


Banner photo by The New York Yankees via Twitter. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Twitter.

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