How the “Become Your Own Dream” Scholarship Fund Got Its Name

This scholarship, known as the “Become Your Own Dream Scholarship Fund,” was created and founded by Hooman Tavakolian (aka Coach Mo) and Lorelei Martin-Tavakolian, with the help of Jon Tush, who was one of the first contributors and supporters of the fund.

The scholarship is granted to a New York City student-athlete who has overcome obstacles, felt hardship, and who plans to wrestle in college. The scholarship is open to those who have graduated from high school (or are seniors attending college in the fall), and those who currently attend college.

Hooman has a deep affection for this scholarship, as he was a victim of hardship growing up, yet his love for athletics kept him motivated. Hooman arrived in America in 1986, after his family left behind their war-torn country.  Living in poverty, Hooman struggled with lack of money to cover things that most people take for granted, but he never lost focus of his dreams and goals.  He faced the obstacles head on.  He found sports, especially the sport of wrestling, to be his true loyal friend. Win or lose, he always held his head high. Wrestling taught him important virtues, including to never give up.

Although he never achieved All-American honors or graduated from an Ivy League school, Hooman is proud of where he is today and owes much of that to the sport of wrestling and his family for supporting him. Hooman recognized that in order to escape poverty, he must strive for his goals, and Become His Own Dream.

Hooman graduated with honors in high school.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and his MBA from Long Island University, CW Post.  He recently completed his 2nd Master’s degree with honors in the science of law, focusing on compliance.  He has a successful career in finance and compliance.  He has continued to wrestle, and recently won the Veteran National Championships on two different occasions. He is an ambassador to wrestling with his close ties with the Iranian wrestling federation and national team.

Board of Directors

    • Hooman “Mo” Tavakolian – Creator & Founder
    • Lorelei Martin-Tavakolian –  Co-Founder

Lorelei, a native New Yorker, was introduced to the sport of wrestling when she met her then-future husband, Hooman.  She felt an immediate connection to the sport when she witnessed the success and drive of the athletes.

Lorelei has worked in Compliance in NYC since graduating from Fordham University in 1997.  She graduated from Pace University in 2005 with her MBA.  She ran the NYC Marathon in 2009 — an accomplishment she credits to being surrounded by Wrestlers.

Being a wrestler is about having passion; it’s about putting your whole being into everything you do.  Accomplishments can be hard to reach, especially when you are faced with challenges along the way.  Wrestlers reach their goals at all costs.  Lorelei shares the same vision and is honored to be a part of this scholarship.

    • Jon Tush – Co-Founder & Initial Contributor

Born and raised in New York City, this effort is very important to Tush. “Wrestling and wrestlers have always been here in NYC, but very few ever really cared. Now they do and that is fantastic. It is my responsibility and privilege to help in any way I can”, said Jon.

Jon is a Vice President of a worldwide medical device company.  He was a two-time State Prep and Parochial Champion out of McBurney High School in NYC.  He attended East Stroudsburg University where he was a Starter as a Freshman and Sophomore and placed in the Pennsylvania Conference Championships.  With a change of academic direction, Jon transferred to Hunter College in NYC and had continued success on the mat.  He was inducted into the Hunter College Athletic Hall of Fame after graduation.  Jon continued wrestling on national and international levels for the NYAC.  He won the US Open Veterans Tournament as well as Gold and Bronze medals at the Veteran World Championships.  He is President of the NYAC Wrestling Club and sits on the NYAC Wrestling Committee.  Jon’s passion is coaching kids and mentors several through his “Garage Wrestling Complex” in Maplewood, NJ. He makes himself available to his wrestlers whenever and wherever they may need him.

Jon has been married to his wife Santa for 21 years.  They live in Maplewood, NJ with their children, PJ and Sammy, 16 and 12 respectively.

    • Justin Hoch

Formerly a staff member at Beat the Streets, Justin is a graduate of Binghamton University with degrees in Psychology and Management (Finance Concentration). He was a five-year participant and two-year captain of the Bearcats wrestling team. He also served three years on the executive board of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

“I am extremely proud to be a part of the Become Your Own Dream Scholarship. It is such a great opportunity for New York City’s wrestlers and I’m honored to partner with Hooman, Lorelei, and Jon in making these dreams become reality.”

He finds time to wrestle when his schedule and body permits.