One New York City law firm is looking to keep the memory of Avonte Oquendo — an autistic teen who went missing in 2013 and was later tragically found dead — alive by helping others.
Avonte managed to walk out of his Long Island City, Queens school after a door was left open and the search for him continued for months. His body was later recovered along the East River miles away in College Point.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C — which represented Avonte’s family after his disappearance and during legal battles with the city — announced that in order to help continue the 14-year-old’s legacy it is offering a $1,000 scholarship for the 2016 fall semester.
The Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship is open to all students in the United States who have been diagnosed with autism or have a close family member with the diagnosis, and are currently enrolled or have been accepted to an accredited university or college.
“As attorneys, we believe that education is not only a tool for personal development, but also the means by which individuals can better their own lives and ultimately shape and improve their communities,” the firm said on its official website. “We know that earning a post-secondary degree can be the difference between a strong, successful career and a lifetime of hardship. We want that opportunity to be open to all students equally, especially those who have autism and often face obstacles that other students do not.
Last year, the Perecman Firm awarded the scholarship to Peter Despres, who was one of 118 applicants.
To apply, students must submit an essay on one of three topics offered and an official academic transcript.
The deadline for scholarship applications is July 31 by 11:59 p.m. To learn more or apply visit www.perecman.com or call the law firm at 212-577-9325.