Media release

2024 Cranston East graduate receives Rhode Island PBS journalism scholarship

This is the seventh year Rhode Island PBS has awarded a college scholarship to a promising high school journalist through a $1 million fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

Timothy Yean of Cranston has been selected to receive the 2024 Rhode Island PBS Scholarship for high school seniors or college students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. The award – up to $60,000 – is renewable for up to four years.   

“We are so proud to be able to award this meaningful scholarship to Timothy.  He has demonstrated excellence in his high school education, and he will be very successful in his career as a journalist. We are excited to play a role in this young man’s career,” said David W. Piccerelli, co-CEO of the Rhode Island PBS Foundation and The Public’s Radio.    

Yean was selected from 27 applicants from the station’s broadcast area in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. A 2024 graduate of Cranston High School East, he plans to major in communications at Rhode Island College.   

“To have my efforts recognized to this extent would have been unimaginable to me four years ago, and it's still unimaginable to me. I'm so glad to have a lot of the usual financial burden of college covered by this scholarship, and I'm so happy to tell my mother and father that they don't have to worry too much anymore about the cost of college,” said Yean.   

Yean began considering a career in broadcasting in the eighth grade, when his algebra teacher praised him for a unique approach to a word problem.    

“There was a homework assignment regarding a tortoise-and-the-hare type situation. With a heavy interest in sports, I decided to write the story in the style of a commentator describing the events of the race,” said Yean. “My teacher highlighted mine as one of the best. I felt proud of my work and feel that this was the true start for my interest in sports broadcasting.”    

When he got to Cranston East, taking the “Writing for Sports Media” class taught by Thunderbolt Media Club advisor Ken Simone honed his interest in the subject.    

“It was an insightful class, which I took to heart. I improved in all sectors of sports media, from on-air play-by-play to how to write a sports article. I still use what I learned to improve myself as a sportscaster and writer, even in articles or assignments unrelated to sports,” he said.    

Yean gives a lot of credit to his parents, Heang Chorn and Sokha Yean. “They've worked tirelessly in all ways to ensure a good life not only for me but my sister, and I love them so much for all that and more,” he said.  

At Cranston East, Yean was Student Council President, the Thunderbolt Media Club’s primary play-by-play announcer for Cranston East sports and gave sports updates two to three times a week over the school’s public address system as part of morning announcements. In addition, he served as the public address announcer during some Rhode Island Interscholastic League playoff and championship games.     

Students are eligible to receive up to $15,000 a year for four years. The selection of each year’s recipient is made by a review committee coordinated by the Rhode Island Foundation.    

“We are proud to have donors like Rhode Island PBS that value the importance of investing in the next generation. As these young people graduate from college, start their careers and contribute to the civic life of their communities, the impact of the scholarships will make a difference for decades,” said David N. Cicilline, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. 

Students had to submit an essay, a current academic transcript, a financial aid worksheet, proof of residency and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional attesting to the applicant’s merit towards a successful career in broadcasting, communications or journalism.    

For more information about applying for a Rhode Island PBS Scholarship at the Rhode Island Foundation next year, visit     

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