Vax to School Initiative Announces First Scholarship Winner

The Ulster County Department of Health will be administering pediatric COVID vaccines to 5-11-year-olds, as well as the vaccine series and boosters to ages 12+ at elementary and high schools around Ulster County

Sophomore and honor roll student of Kingston High School, Amani Green, is the first recipient of the Vax to School scholarship, winning a two-year scholarship to SUNY Ulster.

This is the first recipient announced after County Executive Pat Ryan announced that any individual between the ages of 12-17 who receives their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a participating Point of Dispensing (POD) will be eligible to enter a drawing for a two-year scholarship provided by the SUNY Ulster Foundation.

This was one of two drawings. 

“I want to thank SUNY Ulster and Ulster Community College Foundation for their partnership in incentivizing what we know is the clearest path to safely keeping our schools and businesses open: vaccination against COVID-19,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I also want to congratulate Amani Green, and recognize her courage and leadership in choosing to get vaccinated. We are proud of Amani, and excited to support her as she pursues her dream to serve her community as a nurse.”

“I chose to get vaccinated to keep myself and others safe,” Green said. “I really appreciate this opportunity. I push myself and go to school every day because I know my dreams are going to come true. I am going to be the first in my family to graduate and I plan to become a nurse.”

Ulster County has been participating in the New York State Health Department’s Vax to School initiative. Each high school gymnasium in Ulster County’s nine school districts had set up vaccination PODs on select weekends during the months of October and November of 2021.

As of Jan. 22, 75.4% of individuals between the ages of 12-17 have received at least one vaccine dose.

The second round of the Vax to School program will be launching in the near future. 

“With schools now fully open, it is essential that we continue to provide access to vaccines for our students in a safe and efficient manner,” Ryan said. “I want to thank SUNY Ulster for helping incentivize this program and to all of our school districts for partnering with our Health Department for this critical effort. Vaccinating all of our residents is the clearest path to safely bringing back a sense of normalcy to our community. I encourage all of those who are eligible to participate.”

The initiative saw lots of positive feedback:

“Thank you, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, for ensuring students are safe from COVID-19 through the #VaxToSchool program,” said SUNY Ulster President Dr. Alan P. Roberts. “This partnership, coupled with an incentive opportunity that leverages access to higher education at SUNY Ulster, is incredible.”

“Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan’s commitment to scholarship support for the youth in Ulster County through the Ulster Community College Foundation is commended as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic public health crisis and the health and well-being of students within communities,” said SUNY Ulster Foundation Board Chair Laurel Sweeney.

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Zoe Woolrich (she/her) is a second year media management major from New York City. This is her third semester with The Oracle. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief and has previously served as a Copy Editor, News Editor and Managing Editor. You can contact her at woolricz1@newpaltz.edu.