McNair Student & Faculty

McNair Academic High School student Rayana Ba and teacher Ms. Elbery were accepted into the Bezos Scholars Program.
mcnairRayana Ba
Rayana moved from France to the United States when she was six. In her Senegalese family, traditions, food, and culture are extremely important. Rayana now lives in Jersey City, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. As an immigrant, she values her city’s rich blend and celebration of cultures. Rayana proudly represents the interests of all Jersey City public school students as the student representative for her district’s school board.
mcnairMs. Sundoes Elbery
As a child of Egyptian and Muslim immigrants, Sundoes’ adventurous spirit and love for travel stem from her upbringing. She grew up in Newark, a city often plagued by negative perceptions, so she deeply desires to challenge preconceived notions. Her journey from a challenging environment fuels her mission to inspire others to rise above their circumstances. She uses her experiences to motivate students and those around her to strive for a better future.
The Bezos Scholars Program began in 2005 when founders, Jackie and Mike Bezos, attended the Aspen Ideas Festival, a premiere gathering of leaders from around the globe, and wondered, “Where are the young people?”
Since then, the program has evolved from a way to include outstanding students at the festival to a rich, year-long leadership development program spanning the U.S. and Africa—one that not only delivers specific and measurable learning outcomes, but also amplifies youth voice and action by supporting scholars as they produce real-world projects aimed at positive change.