LITTLE SILVER, NJ - While the American Dream may seem a futile quest for some today, first generation American Brad Chavero, a top student and member of the Red Bank Regional (RBR) Academy of Engineering, is determined to take advantage of every opportunity presented to him to succeed. This summer, Brad was able to attend not just one, but two very prestigious programs to further his educational experiences. In July, Brad was selected as one of only 72 students in New Jersey to attend the Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology at Rutgers at B.E.S.T. (Busch, Engineering, Science and Technology Hall. The selection process for Governor School is very competitive and requires an extensive application process.
He stated of the accolade, “I was really happy and my parents really excited.”
These opportunities, while well-deserved by a very talented, bright and industrious young man, were facilitated with the help of others-- his family, his school and his community.
The Chaveros were immigrants to this country where their two children were born. They are hard-working, live in a small apartment and do not own a car. For years, Brad, as other neighborhood boys, was mentored by Community leader David Prown who engaged him in sports programs like swimming and rowing and encouraged his high intellect to take advantage of all community programs. It was David Prown who drove Brad (along with his Dad to settle him in) up to the Rutgers campus for his first amazing adventure of the summer.
Mr. Prown states of the Chavero family who he has known for many years, “Early on, Brad's parents recognize that he had a very special academic and inquisitive mind. As a result, they committed and encouraged to grab onto and experience many opportunities to the fullest without the distraction of having to get a job or significant sibling child care obligations. Hence, Brad grabbed on with both hands and feet to get the most of experiences and has had outstanding results.”
For four weeks, Brad was immersed in several high-level classes including modern physics which he explains, “We explored topics including subatomic particles, dark matter, relativity, and black holes. Working as a team in our robotics class, we coded and designed Lego Mindstorm NXTrobots sending them through unique mazes and ultimately navigated a small house.”
He lived in what he describes, as the most modern dorm in the university with incredibly talented students from around the state, who soon became his colleagues and friends.
Brad Comments, “I got to meet so many intelligent individuals from whom I could seek advice moving forward. Even the counselors were very helpful to us in giving us their contact information for future career advice.”
The students took intriguing road trips to Hope Creek Nuclear Generation Station in Salem, NJ, where they studied a mock-up room simulating the control panel of the nuclear plant. A field trip to Boeing in Philadelphia introduced them to the military marvel, the Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a jet.
That fascinated Brad and helped solidify his allure to engineering of which he states, “I like to build things and see my ideas come to life… I thought, wow, someone actually figured out how those blades on that plane could function to make the Osprey a reliable and safe transport plane.”
The trip was also a great preparation for college for a young man who spent almost his whole 17 years in the 1.75 square miles of Red Bank. For the first time, he lived away from home for an extended period of time, doing his laundry and managing his own schedule.
No sooner had Brad returned home from his Rutgers’ camp then he and his father set out the next day to attend a second camp for advanced math students. This one was for two weeks at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Math happens to be Brad’s best subject. He entered RBR, the valedictorian of his Red Bank Middle School, and joined the math team. Over the next three years, RBR’s math league turned in very respectable performances with Brad and teammates, reaching the 6th position in the league as Brad retort’s “We put RBR on the map again, and we are competing with High Tech kids!”
The invitation to apply to Harvard came unsolicited to him as a student in the top 10% of his class. This very competitive program was open to a far bigger universe then the Rutgers’ program with over 500 students accepted from 49 US states and 73 different countries. With finances as issue, Brad attendance was made possible by a generous subsidy from Harvard, federal grant money allotted to his school district and his parents’ contribution. This time Brad and his dad embarked on the long public transportation odyssey up to Boston, where a whole new world awaited to be explored.
“I just absolutely fell in love with the Boston Cambridge area,” he remarks.
While his number theory course was a compressed full semester in two weeks, the students still found some time to explore the winding roads of one of America’s most charming cities. The program also provided several workshops such as resume writing, which put the students in good stead for the rigorous college application process ahead.
As this exceptional young man embarks on his senior year of high school, there will be no doubt be many more opportunities to undertake and options to explore. He continues to take the most challenging courses with four AP classes this year, (He aced four AP classes and their tests in his junior year.) He will seek admittance to several honor societies, tutors students in math during lunchtime, and participates in the three running sports all year long. Every winter, he also coaches at Red Bank recreational soccer. He has begun looking at colleges, although Harvard is definitely on top of his list. He will study engineering.
When asked what motivates him to work so hard, this humble young man simply states, “It may sound cliché, but I just want to give my parents a better life. I want to buy them a house so that they can live the American dream.”