What do these schools have in common: Princeton University, Georgetown University, Marist College and Curry College?  Their freshman classes of 2018 will each have a recipient of an Eastchester Rotary Club Scholarship.

The Rotary Club awarded four scholarships of $1500 each this year, two to graduating seniors from Eastchester High School and two to graduating seniors from Tuckahoe High School.
 
The Edward R. Ruffo Athletic Scholarship is awarded to a student athlete in memory of a faithful Rotarian who exemplified the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”  The winner is a graduating senior who meets the following criteria:
 
1.       Superior achievement in varsity athletics demonstrated through leadership as recognized by coaches, and/or conference
2.       Exemplifies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”
3.       Academic transcript demonstrating potential for success in college
4.       Acceptance into a certified college, university or trade school
 
Almost twenty students from Eastchester High School and fifteen from Tuckahoe High School sent applications. The application involved several parts:
 
1.       Completion of a detailed form specifying varsity sports participation and achievement, community activities, honors and college plans.
2.       Submission of  a one-page essay describing why the applicant believes he or she deserves the scholarship
3.       An office copy of his/her high school transcript
4.       In addition, all of the applicants submitted a resume
 
Choosing winners from a pool of excellent candidates proved challenging.  After the closing date of May 11.2018, the Scholarship Committee Chairman, George Pietarinen, read all submissions and chose five from each school for the Scholarship Committee to consider carefully.  The Rotary Scholarship Committee consisted of Vito Foto, Anthony Toscano, Richard Forliano and George Pietarinen.  We unanimously voted for the following winners: Adam Ginsburg and Matt Annunziata.  Adam, the valedictorian of Eastchester High School and President of the Science Honor Society, captained the varsity soccer and varsity tennis teams. In addition, he played varsity basketball and served as a Youth Basketball Coach.  His service included interning at Congressman Eliot Engel’s District Office and performing with a musical group at nursing homes.  He plans to attend Georgetown University to study Government and Statistics.
 
Matt Annunziata, Tuckahoe High School’s recipient, had been the Varsity Football Captain for his junior and senior years. He won many athletic awards including three years as All-League, two years as All-Conference, Class D MVP and Most Outstanding Back-Section 1 Coaches Association.  He has played varsity basketball, tennis and track & field.  As Senior Class Vice President he has been active in many capacities and has worked with special needs students and performed in several musical productions. He plans to attend Curry College where he will major in Education.
 
The John Bahr Scholarship for “Service Above Self” is awarded in honor of a dedicated teacher, administrator and Rotarian whose compassion, integrity, and decency touched the lives of all people who were blessed to come in contact with him.  This $1500 scholarship is awarded to a 2018 graduating senior who meets the following criteria:
 
1.       Active participation in high school activities, events and/or projects
2.       Active participation in various community-related programs
3.       Above average high school grade point average
4.       Acceptance into a certified college, university, business or trade school
 
The number of applicants and the parts of the application were almost the same as the Edward R.Ruffo Athletic Scholarship except that we were not looking for participation in sports.  Adriana Cocucci, was chosen from Tuckahoe High School.  She wrote a moving essay about her roots in this community and her desire to give back to her family and the world.  She has volunteered in the Building Bridges program at Cottle School, educating others about how it feels to be a sibling of a special needs student.  Her kindness and caring, especially with serving the homeless and helping her special needs brother made her an outstanding candidate.  She was secretary of both the National Honor Society and the Italian Honor Society.  Adriana plans to attend Marist College and major in Pre-law.
 
The Eastchester winner, Joanna Georghiou, was the salutatorian of the 2018 class.  She tutored in several areas, wrote for the school newspaper, won the Yale Model Best Delegate and Best Legislation Awards.  In addition, she was twice chosen National French Contest Silver Medalist.  Her volunteer work included membership in Gilda’s Club of Westchester and participation in monthly Church Soup Runs.  Joanna plans to attend Princeton University where she will study Chemical and Biological Engineering.
 
Our scholarship program could not succeed without the active help of the Guidance departments of Eastchester and Tuckahoe High Schools.  Our special thanks goes out to Lauren Nicholson at Tuckahoe High School who collected the applications and Heather Reilly of Eastchester High School who encouraged student participation. It certainly made all of us happy to see so many wonderful students.
 
The Rotary Club of Eastchester is proud of our scholarship winners and stands ready to help them as they embark on their chosen careers and continue their “Service Above Self.”
 
George Pietarinen, Rotary Scholarship Committee Chairman