Helping talented students pursue a college degree in the arts.
Ruben Elijah Reiser Johnson excelled as a student at the New London Science & Technology Magnet High School, where he was a proven friend to students and teachers alike. He was only 16 years old when he died, after a short and courageous battle against a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.
His great aunt, Tracee Reiser, described him as “a devoted family member – a magnificent son, brother, grandson and nephew – who left an unforgettable impression on all those he met throughout his memorable life.” Known for his brilliant smile and contagious sense of humor, she credited Ruben for bringing together and being connected to an extraordinary range of people of all ages and backgrounds.
Ruben was also a passionate photographer whose work had been displayed at the Hygienic Art Gallery; and who helped operationalize the TV production studio at his high school. Known as a trendsetter with a unique style, he aspired to attend college in New York City and pursue a career as a fashion photographer.
When he passed away, his family members and friends joined together to establish the Ruben Elijah Reiser Johnson Memorial Fund. The fund provides scholarships in perpetuity to Eastern Connecticut students interested in pursuing a degree in the arts.
In establishing the fund, his mother, Celena Appleby, said, “Ruben lives on in the memories of those who cherish him so dearly and through the Community Foundation, where the Ruben Elijah Reiser Johnson Memorial Fund – established through the generosity and kindness of many – will provide important education funds to a graduating high school student with a talent for the arts, each and every year.”