Foundation Sponsors College Scholarships Named for Wayne Fischer; group rewards college-bound teens fighting the spread of AIDS

“We are looking for students who are making a profound difference who are leaders in their community and are committed to saving lives,” said Bari Zahn of Living Beyond Belief, a non-profit organization named after Wayne Fischer, a Queens native and New York City public high school teacher, who died of AIDS in 1997. Fischer is credited with being the first public school teacher to be open about his HIV status, as well as lobbying the Board of Education to implement an HIV/AIDS education program in all public high schools.

Zahn, Fischer’s aunt, is the executive director of Living Beyond Belief and regularly hosts fundraising benefits and events for AIDS awareness efforts.

As it does every year, the group solicits applications from college-bound public high school seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to the fight against AIDS and plan on carrying forth that message to their college of choice.

Zahn reported that last year, five awardees received a total of $11,500 in scholarship money to cover tuition and expenses. The group’s endowment ensures continued funding for worthy college students once they pass their freshman year.

“It’s a very simple application,” said Zahn. “A personal statement and two letters of recommendation.”

Interested high school students, as well as those donors looking to contribute to the scholarship fund, should visit or call 212 696 6652.

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