Nick Saccone, an officer with the Colonie chapter of Dollars for Scholars, right, hands out awards. Photo submitted
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COLONIE — More than $80,000 in scholarship money was awarded to more than 120 students on Thursday, May 17 as part of the annual South Colonie Dollars for Scholars ceremony.
“With the continued support of the South Colonie community, our local Dollars for Scholars chapter wants to expand the number of scholarships awarded and increase the overall scholarship level in future years,” said Tami Sherry, Chapter president. “A donation to our community scholarship program is a commitment to the future for the students of today. We want to support postsecondary success.”
The South Colonie chapter is part of Scholarship America, which encompasses 500-plus based volunteer-staffed Dollars for Scholars chapters nationwide. The program began as the Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America in 1958 in Fall River, Massachusetts and incorporated three years later. Since, it has awarded more than $3.9 billion to more than 2.4 million students.
“Through our corporate affiliation with Scholarship America, our chapter scholarships are often matched by the postsecondary school the student attends,” said chapter Board of Directors member Mark Rosenholz. “Most privately funded scholarships do not have this same benefit. In addition, the student’s financial aid package is not reduced by our scholarships while other private scholarships may affect the total aid package. This matching acts as an added bonus for students awarded Dollars for Scholars scholarships.”
In 2018, the South Colonie chapter awarded 48 scholarships totaling $26,400 to 41 different graduating students for their achievements in academics or sports, extracurricular excellence, meaningful community involvement and often “in memory” of former teachers and friends.
Among the scholarships awarded this year, friends and family members have donated monies in the memory of former classmates and teachers of the South Colonie School District. These include: William E. Teiper Scholarship ($500 scholarship), Donna Christmas Education Scholarship ($500), and Bonnie Bucci Memorial Scholarship ($500). Multi-year awards included Edward J. Szesnat III Memorial Scholarship ($2,000).
Thirteen donors contributed $1,000 or more in 2018. Most of these sponsors have been consistent donors for five or more years. Scholarships include a range of interests and activities including academic achievement in various subjects, participation in community service endeavors, sports, music, and the performing arts, the Colonie Youth Court, and one scholarship sponsored by former CCHS graduates.
Dollars for Scholars chapters nationwide depend on community donor support. While $250 is the minimum amount to have a named scholarship, the local Dollars for Scholars chapter encourages small donations.
Some scholarship winners are:
• Nathaniel Dugan was awarded $5,000 for the BFF Getting Started Scholarship which is given to a graduating Colonie High School senior who will attend a community college in the fall.
•Eli Dreilinger was awarded the $1,500 Ross Buddenhagen/Midway Fire Department Memorial Scholarship, which is given to a senior who has a record of consistent community involvement or volunteerism and who is continuing his or her education at a two- or four-year institution.
•Laura Matthew was awarded the $1,500 Mark S. Cornell Scholarship, which is given to a Level 6 senior who is furthering his or her music study. It is awarded based on a positive attitude and willingness to share talents. It is in memory of Mark Connell, a Music Department chair at Colonie High School.
•Danielle Nimako was awarded the $2,000 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Albany Alumnae Chapter Scholarship, which is given to a graduating senior pursuing a post-secondary education based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and an essay.
•Joseph Vachaparambil and Francis Cherran were given the New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence Awards provide by the state of New York for academic excellence. The scholarships are worth $1,500 each for four years and must be approved by a state post-secondary institution.
•Giovanna Paratore was awarded the $2,500 SEFCU Jean Myers Memorial Scholarship which is given to a graduating senior with a strong academic record and who has demonstrated a commitment to her community through volunteerism.
•Manning DelCogliano won the Clarkson Leadership Award and Vivianna Murphy won the Clarkson Achievement Award. They are given to students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities and have an academic interest in engineering, business, science or liberal arts and who are recognized as positive contributors to their school and community. The leadership award is worth $60,000 over four years and the achievement award is worth $48,000 over four years.
•Lydia Frick and Ian Parker were awarded the Elmira College Key Award which is given to a junior girl and boy in the top 10 percent of their class who have demonstrated outstanding school and community leadership. The scholarship is worth $80,000 over four years upon enrolling at Elmira College.
•Brendan Fuhr was awarded the Le Moyne College Heights scholarship, which is given to a junior who is “reaching for the heights” in the classroom and in service to school and community. It is worth $12,500 a year at Le Moyne.
•Eric Zhang was awarded the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship which is given to a junior for outstanding achievement in math and science. It is worth $25,000 per year upon acceptance at RPI.
•Kerenza McDonald and Jeffrey Louie were awarded the RIT Computing Medal and Scholarship Program, which goes to a junior boy and girl who represent the ideal of total quality in scholastic achievement and school and community activities. It is worth $28,000 over four years.
•Alexis Harrell and Gregory Hyizdos were awarded the RIT Innovation & Creativity Scholarship, which annually goes to a girl and boy who demonstrate outstanding achievement in innovation, creativity or entrepreneurship in both scholastic achievements and school and community activities. It is worth $28,000 over four years.
•Anthony Rubino and Danielle Torres were awarded the Student Sage Recognition Award, which is given by Russell Sage College to two juniors who possess attributes which define tomorrow’s leaders based on academic success, leadership skills and involvement in the community. It is worth $40,000 over four years.
•Jennifer McCumber was awarded the $40,000 per year Wells College 21Century Leadership Award, which is annually given to a junior who embodies the spirit, integrity and intellectual qualities of strong leaders and who has a 90 percent or better GPA.