Respectfully: Berklee should offer Gilly a Full Scholarship

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Christmastime 2017. Russo's Market, Watertown, MA. Deli worker Gilly Assuncao offers to do the sound check for a visiting caroling group. When Gilly starts to sing Oh Holy Night, shoppers and store employees alike stop in their tracks to listen.  His baritone is deep, rich in tone and riveting. The ensuing video goes viral. Gilly's dream begins to take hold. 

Numerous interviews followed. The Boston Globe. NPR. CBS. NBC. Good Morning America.  His singing voice was compared to Andrea Bocelli. (CBS interview with David Wade)  Gilly let it be known that attending Berklee College of Music was a life's dream.  Berklee indeed auditioned and accepted Gilly into the school for Fall 2018.  With limited means, he scrambled to raise the $50,000+ tuition but managed to do so through generous donations from area supporters.  Now his freshman year is past. Gilly soaked up his courses and finished the year with a 3.85 GPA. 

However, the financial strain has been overwhelming. And disheartening.  A native of Brazil, Gilly can work only a limited number of hours, per US laws governing international students.  He created a Christmas CD last December to help pay his tuition, only to discover afterwards that law prohibited the CD sales.  Faced with deportation, which is a swift and serious matter in these times, he had to give away the Christmas CDs. 

The fundraising dollars are scarce now that the excitement has died down. Unable to sell his music for his tuition or even to cover his personal expenses, Gilly is at a crisis point. Frankly, the only way he can realistically remain in school is to receive a scholarship award from Berklee.

Berklee offers very little scholarship funding to international students, though the school awards over $47 million annually to incoming students.  Gilly has not been considered for scholarship.

Therefore, we the undersigned, as lovers of music, dreams and the particular journey of this singular student, respectfully ask the fine leaders at Berklee: Would you please find a way to consider a merit-based scholarship in order to financially assist Gilly, the humble and deserving international student with the captivating voice who has already proven he is up to the scholastic challenge? Whose only misstep is that he comes from humble beginnings?  Gilly Assuncao, with his wondrous singing voice, deserves to remain at Berklee College of Music.  Thank you.