Huntington senior Yolani Cabrera has captured the Kurt Schaeffer Memorial Scholarship.

Kurt Schaefer Scholarship Awarded to Yolani Cabrera

Huntington senior Yolani Cabrera has captured the Kurt Schaeffer Memorial Scholarship.

June 17 , 2021

Reading a success story is always an inspiring experience and few can match Yolani Cabrera’s. She began kindergarten not knowing a word of English, but since then the Huntington High School senior has worked incredibly hard and compiled an impressive record along the way.

Ms. Cabrera has engaged in a credit bearing internship this year with high school teacher Eileen Gonzalez and an English as a new language class. She enjoyed a second internship with Friends of the Huntington Station Latin Quarter and its founder, Xavier Palacios.

The teenager is headed to City University of New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice on W. 59th Street in New York City.

In recognition of her exceptional achievements and enormous future potential, Ms. Cabrera was presented with the 2021 Kurt Schaefer Memorial Scholarship Award by Sean and Kim Schaeffer during this year’s senior scholarships and awards night. The Schaeffer scholarship includes a $1,200 stipend.

“Each year, the Kurt Schaefer Memorial Scholarship is presented to a student who has shown academic and social growth as well as maturity and responsibility toward their classmates,” said Ms. Schaeffer at the senior awards ceremony. “Kurt was a friendly and kind-hearted kid. He was loved by many and missed by all. His spirit lives on through this scholarship.”

Ms. Cabrera has been a member of the high school’s New World Club, working alongside Mrs. González. “We work to have an intern in each ENL class to help students do their assignments, giving them a hint at how to do something if they have difficulties and making friendships with them,” she said. “It helps them to adapt to school and the school environment.”

The teenager said her “overall school career” has been focused on helping “anyone who is in need. I was once a student who didn’t know English. Now it’s my turn to help, encourage and last, but not least, do my best with all.”

Kurt Schaefer Felled in Hit-and-Run

Kurt Schaefer had recently turned 17 years old and was preparing to enter his junior year at Huntington High School when he was struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident on Saturday, August 18, 1990 at 12:30 a.m. He died four days later at Huntington Hospital.

The teenager was riding a moped when he was struck at the intersection of Spring Road and Main Street in Huntington near Heckscher Park, according to a report published in Newsday. A Huntington man, who Suffolk Police said was driving a red Honda on his way home from a party in Huntington Bay, was later arrested.

Detectives said the Honda went over the double line, passed a pair of cars and went through the intersection on the wrong side of the road and through a red light, according to Newsday. The car struck Mr. Schaefer as he was crossing on Spring Street and it then fled the scene.

Mr. Schaefer enjoyed playing tennis, fishing, water skiing and snow skiing. He was known as a very friendly person and was called “a wonderful kid” by Peter Schaefer, his father.

As Mr. Schaefer lay critically injured in Huntington Hospital following the accident, countless friends tried to visit his bedside. “The Rock” at Huntington High School was quickly painted and inscribed with the words: “We Love You Kurt. Get Well Kurt.”

Visiting was held at M.A. Connell Funeral Home on Friday and Saturday, August 24-25, 1990. Interment was at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Huntington.

While Mr. Schaefer was taken from his family and friends at much too young of an age, the scholarship presented annually by his family has been helping Huntington graduates start college on a strong footing since the time it was established.