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New York High Schoolers Trade Skyscrapers for Montana's American Prairie Reserve

August 7, 2015View for printing

On a late July day 2,000 miles west of the Bronx, Vaughn Minott, a tall and soft-spoken aspiring biochemist who was born in Jamaica, bounced with five other New York teenagers in the bed of a 4X4 pickup through a Montana bison range as vast as the bright dome of sky above.

They were on the American Prairie Reserve for nine days as recipients of grants from Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, an academic program to help low-income students at New York City's public schools earn college degrees. All six students who traveled to Montana were immigrants or children of immigrants and were set to graduate in 2016. They all hoped to be the first in their immediate families to graduate from college in America, and were on the prairie for experience and insight into their scholastic passions -- as well as to observe prairie dogs, dig up dinosaur bones and study bison physiology.


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