Danial Watts receives Stein Family College Scholarship

by | May 6, 2021 | Trending News

The annual Stein Family College Scholarship of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation was recently awarded to Danial Watts, a soon-to-be graduate of Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach.

Watts is the 13th recipient of the four-year scholarship, which provides up to $10,000 per year to a Jewish student in Tidewater. The scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Arlene Stein, who did not complete college because of financial hardship. Arlene passed away in 2007 and her beloved husband, Jerry Stein, died in 2014. TJF works closely with the Stein family each year to administer the scholarship.

“A big thank you to the Stein family for this,” says Watts. “It’s definitely a huge help to my future. It really cuts the cost of school in half for me and makes the 30 years after college a lot easier.”

The next step in Watts’ future will be to Virginia Tech this fall. Watts chose Tech after touring other universities in the state.

“I was torn between Virginia Tech and James Madison University,” says Watts. “After I toured Virginia Tech and looked more into their business schools, I realized Tech was just the better choice for me. It felt more like a home to me than other schools did.”

Like students around the world, the past year has been trying for Watts as he’s navigated his schooling and college applications amidst the COIVD-19 pandemic.

“Attending school online is something that I’ve never done before,” he says. “So, it was hard to adjust. It was hard to really connect to what I was learning about. Once I got the hang of it, I was able to figure things out and did well this year.”

When not navigating the pandemic, Watts is very busy, both at school and in the community. He’s on PA’s varsity tennis team and holds two jobs, one of which is as a lifeguard at the Simon Family JCC. This summer, he will be a camp counselor at Camp JCC. Plus, he is active with BBYO.

“I’m very big into BBYO,” says Watts. “I’m the Council president for Virginia and the International head of press corps, which consists of me doing photography and news articles. So, I get to work with teens all around the world.”

Since joining BBYO in 2017, Watts has felt significantly closer to his faith and the Jewish community.

“After I left the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (now Strelitz International Academy), I didn’t really have much of a connection to the Jewish community,” he says. “So, joining BBYO brought that back and it was nice to really feel Jewish again and re-establish a connection to the religion and to God. I feel a lot more Jewish than I ever have because of BBYO. I want to join Hillel in college and go to synagogue when I can and keep practicing holidays.”

While Watts doesn’t know what he wants to do after college, he does have a few ideas on what he wants to do in the future.

“Ideally, I’d like to own a company one day,” says Watts. “I have my own photography business and so, if I could somehow incorporate that into my future goals, that’d be great. If I’m able to comfortably be a photographer and make good money doing that, then I’d love to do that as well.”

Regardless of what his future holds, Watts hopes to one day be in a position to help others, just as he was helped with the Stein Family College Scholarship.

“I think a very important attribute of Jews is that we always help each other,” says Watts. “The Stein Family Scholarship is a really good representation of that: of Jews helping Jews. To be able to be helped, it’s inspired me to one day, if I have the stability and the money, to help others. I definitely want to do the same, especially after receiving help myself.”

Prior recipients of the scholarship include Morgan Conley (Brandeis University ’13), Eric Smith (University of Virginia ’14), Marissa Arager (George Mason University ’15), Avi Malkin (College of William and Mary ’16), Dinar Yusufov (James Madison University ’17), Amanda Gladstone (Virginia Tech ’18), Dana Cohen (Virginia Tech ’19), Brett Pomerantz (Virginia Tech ’20), Sydney Levine (University of Virginia ’21), and Lucie Waldman (Old Dominion University), Faith White (Kent State University, ’23), and Emily Myers (Shenandoah University, ‘24).

For more information and to apply for next year’s Stein Family College Scholarship, contact Ann Swindell, Tidewater Jewish Foundation Donor Relations and Grant Manager, at aswindell@ujft.org or 757-965-6111.

– Thomas Mills