Seniors Sail Off with Scholarships

Karen Yang, Managing Editor

On June 15, 62 seniors crowded into the New Theater to receive community scholarships. Ranging from athletics to STEM, these scholarships are sponsored by South, local businesses and other community organizations, including the Friends of the West Windsor Library, the West Windsor-Plainsboro Soccer Association, and the African American Parent Support Group.

     According to the Senior Scholarship packet, the program “awards monetary scholarships to graduating seniors to help assist them in furthering their post-secondary education.”

All students were encouraged to apply as “selection criteria vary by award and may be based on any or all of the following: merit, need, purpose, achievement and contribution to school and community.”

     Michelle Walsh, lead school counselor and scholarship chairperson, said the awards are “to recognize what students have contributed to our community–whether they’ve done well academically, grown through the years, through service, all different kinds of talent.” 

     Students and their achievements have certainly served as exemplary displays of collaborative spirit. Kathy Herring, chairperson of The Elly and Giorgio Petronio Stony Brook Garden Club Environmental Award, said that her scholarship’s awardee, Aarushi Bansal (‘23) received her award because she “showed such passion and devotion and energy to [her] environmental project. She was committed to getting off the ground. She seemed absolutely involved for the sake of making the world a better place with this effort.”

     Other scholarship sponsors noted that they were inspired by student actions for their community. “Most of what I do is right here in our community. I love it here,” said Theza Friedman, sponsor of the Theza Friedman Scholarship. “I was inspired to honestly do something to give back. Last year was the first scholarship I gave and it was one of the most wonderfully emotional nights that I can remember.”

     Likewise, scholarship recipients also felt a sense of validation and hope. “When I was notified that I won an award, I was really happy. For a really long time, I wasn’t sure I was in the right direction. But being recognized was a great way to certify that I was on the right track,” said awardee Naomi Lyu (‘23). “The scholarship is not just about the money, it’s more about the support others give you.”

     Ms. Walsh agreed. “I think there’s something to be said about putting so much into your high school years and being recognized in front of your families and peers. It’s just an honor.” 

     Referring to the awardees, Ms. Friedman said:“You are all lightning and we need it. We need lightning in our world. You know, goodness and energy–I’m just super excited.”