Raquel Beckford - Building Foundations And Dreams

Raquel Beckford

2012 Recipient

Raquel Beckford

To receive the Harrison accolades, a recipient must possess many of the ideals and traits that Raymond Harrison instilled in Adam Leitman Bailey. The recipient must also demonstrate financial need and strong academic achievement, while at the same time pursuing Mr. Harrison’s deep-seated values of success and the desire to make the world a better place through helping others. In the Spring, Raquel will graduate saluditorian of her class and has demonstrated the qualities required to become another Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship winner.

Degrees: Masters Degree for Special Education

    Adam Leitman Bailey named Raquel Beckford the fifth annual recipient of the Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship. Ms Beckford is a member of the 2012 graduating class of Peace and Diversity Academy High School. Adam Leitman Bailey started this scholarship in honor of his high school cross country and track coach, Raymond “Hap” Harrison. When the scholarship began it was awarded annually to a New Milford High School graduate, but the scholarship has been expanded to include students from other schools that share the same vision as Raymond Harrison. Mr. Bailey is a 1988 graduate of New Milford High School.






    ``My life has changed completely…, ALB’s Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship has made it possible for me to live out my dreams.”

    Raquel graduates and updates us on her future

    Raquel Beckford, a Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship winner graduated on May 22, 2016 from Trinity College. Ms. Beckford, who earned a BA in English will be starting her future career as a first grade teacher in the Bronx this June. In addition to working as a teacher, Ms. Beckford will be pursuing a masters degree for Special Education. She owes much of her success to Adam Leitman Bailey and the scholarship, stating: “I wanted to pursue a career in education but I did not have the tools necessary to make it a reality.

    Prior to receiving the scholarship, I was concerned about how I would receive a quality education that I can afford. With The Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship, this dream has come to fruition as I have graduated from Trinity College with no college debt.” Graduating with no debt has given her the option to continue her education and follow her passion further. Ms. Beckford feels that her experience and Adam Leitman Bailey’s generosity have made her who she is today.

    Young, in School and Employed

    Raquel Beckford, 18, in honors English class at Peace and Diversity Academy in the Bronx.

    Describing the grind of holding a demanding job while studying to graduate from high school, she said: “You know that feeling when you get home and lay in bed and your whole body just hurts? I feel like that all the time.”

    Raquel works three days a week after school in Manhattan, more than an hour’s ride by train from her home in the Bronx. She is salutatorian of her class at Peace and Diversity Academy and attends college classes two days a week.

    Raquel lives with her mother, who is unemployed, and works to pay her own expenses, as well as to gain job experience.

    I learned so much. I learned how to work with people. That’s number one. I learned how to work with different types of people. I learned what it takes to work in Wall Street business. Usually a lot of my friends start from the bottom and then raise to the top if you think about it. So I kind of learned where I could possibly be as long as I work hard.

    It means I have to pay $10,000 less to go to college. My family generally doesn’t make that much money anyway, so this means a lot. That’s like $10,000 less that I don’t have to worry about. It’s $10,000 that is going to a good cause, a great investment and I am very grateful because I wouldn’t know where I could have gotten $10,000 from. And I feel like, I feel worthy of it because I worked hard for it.

    He’s gotten personal. He’s actually helped my mom with an interview because she hasn’t worked for a couple of years. So he helped her get a job. He’s helped her in that process. He even met me for my birthday. He’s very personal. He’s always there for moral support. I always feel like if ever need something I can go to him. To know that Adam is available is great. Personally, he’s helped me, just by watching him how he operates, wow. So watching him I learned how, I/m not going to be like him but how to show leadership.

    I can’t even picture it. I always say that to my friends too, it’s kind of like “I don’t see myself doing anything else.” And if I was doing anything else, it would probably be nothing. I’m taking harsh classes. When I’m not at school, I am at work. When I’m not at work I’m at school. This is the back and forth, sort of. I kind of dedicate time for it. For me to thing of something else: I would probably need another job but probably wouldn’t be as rewarding.

    I would have to probably put aside [redacted], find jobs I am actually qualified for. It’s either that or I would have to take loans out which is not that good.

    The people. I feel like when you get along with people it is easier to transition into a job and do it better. If you don’t get along with people you work with the job is not going to be enjoyable. A lot of people say “just block it out, just do your job”, it’s not that easy. You have to get along with people you work with. So that makes it easier. So I don’t feel like I’m just being thrown at it or expected to know so much. They have high expectations but they help you through that so that you could fulfill your position.

    It’s changed my entire life if you really think about it. Financially. The good support system and I am always going to have him as a link. I think this link is never going to go away. He’s always going to be a contact of mine. So it pretty much changed my mind and the fact that I started working here right before the transition in my life – college – it’s great, because I feel he’ll always be there. I am very grateful for this whole experience.


    2016 Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholars Luncheon

    These luncheons give the students time to talk with Mr. Bailey, seek advice from him and catch up. This year, there was a special guest via Skype, Raymond Harrison himself spoke to the group, sharing words of wisdom. Raymond Harrison was a track coach at New Milford High School and was a mentor to Adam Leitman Bailey, and in turn Mr. Bailey named the scholarship after him. Mr. Harrison shared how proud he is of the students and of Adam Leitman Bailey for his continued generosity in providing the scholarship year after year.

    Throughout the lunch, the students reflected on their experiences in high school and college and discussed what being a scholarship winner means to them. Each and every one of them would not be where they were today without both the financial support and mentorship given to them by Adam Leitman Bailey. The scholarship program has grown every year since it’s creation in 2008.

    Raquel Says Thank You!


    Words can not express my gratitude for all of the support you have shown me over the past 9 months. In every aspect of my life you have played a significant role. From giving me the [illegible] means to begin a new journey in my life to helping my mother get back on her feet, your support has been unfailing. Thank you for believing in my abilities and allowing me the chance to grow and advance in a fast paced environment. My only hope it that we continue to keep in touch. This is only the beginning. With Thank You!

    Sincere Appreciation,