Scholarship Association provides more than $520K to GHS seniors

GHS senior Brett Steinberg accepts the Christopher T. Harris, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. — Kait Shea photo

GHS senior Brett Steinberg accepts the Christopher T. Harris, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.
— Kait Shea photo

At least 120 Greenwich High School seniors will be heading off to college with a lighter financial load this fall thanks to the Greenwich Scholarship Association (GSA), which distributed nearly 100 different scholarships to the students at the 41st Annual Scholarship Evening Thursday night.

Marie Hertzig, GSA president for the last 23 years, kicked off the evening with a thank-you to board members as well as to the roughly 100 sponsors under the GSA umbrella who make the scholarships possible. The community groups, families, civic clubs, community organizations and town businesses all comprise the local sponsors who represent “the very heart of this community” and whose generosity is shaping the future of GHS students, Ms. Hertzig said.

Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, Ms. Hertzig told the scholarship awardees, “The future is for those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” GSA and its sponsors, she added, will help make possible the hopes and dreams of 120 members of the class of 2013.

“Each award is a vote of confidence that you can and will succeed,” Ms. Hertzig told the students.

In total, the GSA awarded seniors with approximately $520,750 in new and renewable scholarships on Thursday. Sponsors contributed more than $395,000 of the sum, while GSA endowments contributed about $125,000.

In his own words of wisdom to the scholarship recipients, Superintendent of Schools William McKersie asked the students what they would remember about their high school experiences in the decades to come.

“There are two things I urge you to remember,” Dr. McKersie said. “It’s the coming together of what I would call noble virtue with excellence. You represent the excellence, the noble virtue are the donors who, together, are giving about $520,000 in support of your excellence; thank them from the bottom of your hearts.”

When looking back on high school, Dr. McKersie told students, remember the generosity you received and how to pay it forward.

Dr. McKersie also showed his own gratitude to sponsors.

“Thank you to all the individuals who have dug so deeply into their hearts,” he said. “Thank you for honoring 120 of our best.”

GHS Headmaster Chris Winters was next up to the podium, declaring the Annual Scholarship Evening one of his favorite nights of the year. The money GSA will award to seniors this year is “an outstanding contribution, an outstanding investment in all of your futures,” he told the students. He went on to assure GSA and its sponsors that their money was well spent upon this year’s scholarship recipients.

“I know that there’s no better gift than to help send a young person to college, and these students, because I know them well, they will use those gifts well and apply themselves and do a great job to make us all proud,” Mr. Winters said.

As for the scholarships themselves, there are a wide variety of awards, many of which were given in honor or memory of Greenwich educators.   The Becky Stone Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student who has achieved success both in and out of the classroom, has shown strong motivation and work ethic, and has dedicated his or her time to volunteering in a service organization. The scholarship is given in memory of Becky Stone, who was the coordinator of the GHS Media Center and began the highly regarded Senior Internship program. The recipient of the award this year was Brett Steinberg.

The Roberta Davis Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student who has been outstanding in the subject of social studies in memory of Roberta Davis, a teacher at GHS who influenced many lives through her teaching. This year this award went to Qirong Zheng.

The Kathleen Keene Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an individual with strong math skills in memory of a much-loved math teacher at GHS. Nicolas Debany was the recipient of the award this year.

The Dolores C. Daly Scholarship, awarded to a student who graduated from Julian Curtiss Elementary School, is in memory of Dolores C. Daly, who was a beloved first grade teacher at Julian Curtiss for many years. The recipient of this year’s award was Karolina Guardado.

The Hallenborg Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a deserving student with high academic standing and a well-rounded GHS experience. The award is in memory of Walter Hallenborg, who was a principal at Central Junior High School, which is now Central Middle School. Stephanie Williamson was the recipient of the award this year.

For the sixth year, a GSA merit scholarship was also presented at the awards evening. The scholarship has 100% funding from the GSA board and is renewable, meaning if the recipient maintains good academic standing, he or she will continue to receive scholarship funds throughout college. According to Ms. Hertzig, this year’s recipient was chosen for her “outstanding abilities and potential for success.” The award was presented to Rachel Connolly, who will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

The Greenwich Scholarship Association is an independent, all-volunteer organization that offers scholarship aid based on financial need. Most recipients are graduates of GHS. There are many families in town struggling to make ends meet and at the same time provide a college education for their children. Some GSA applicants are even the first of their family to attend college. It is these students and their families who GSA hopes to assist through their scholarship program.

 

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