On Tuesday the Norwalk Mentor Scholarship Fund Board held its 2011 awards ceremony at City Hall. The board honored 17 young people who have already accomplished so much.
"Each one has taken a different path but they have all arrived at this one place. They are at the point of graduating high school and going on to college. They didn't get here alone. Each one I'm sure could tell you that it took a lot of sweat and tears and especially a lot of encouragement and support from a special mentor in their life. A parent, grandparent, sister, brother, teacher, guidance counselor or a special friend that they call their mentor has helped them to get here today," said Annette Thompson, president of NSMF.
"Graduates, it's important to keep in mind that it was you, your faith in yourself, your family's faith in you, hard work and determination that got you through all the tough times in order to be here today to claim your reward. Remember what it took to get you here and know that if you can do this, you can do anything. And if you want to get there, to that finish line that is, you will."
The NMSF awarded a total of $56,000 in five categories: the Traditional Mentor Scholarship, Briggs Young Lives Scholarship, The William J. Rosenbloom Scholarship, Special Board of Directors Scholarship and the School-To-Career Scholarship.
The recipients of the tradition Mentor Scholarship are students who have had their mentors from elementary school through to their high school graduation. Each student received a $2,000 scholarship. They were: Ian Golden, Aaron Ross, Leah Socci, Gregory Vixama, Santiana Ventura and Bry'eisha Bolton.
The Briggs Young Lives Scholarship honors young women who have decided to finish high school as young mothers and go on to college despite the challenges. Each student received a $2,000 scholarship. The recipients were Sharita Hall and Tayquisha Peterson.
Mr. Rosenbloom established a trust in his will in which he allotted a $13,000 scholarship for a winner from Norwalk High School and a $13,000 scholarship for a winner from Brien McMahon High School. This year the recipients were Olivia Taylor and Richard Buellesbach.
School-To-Career scholarship recipients Neha Patel Sarah Lauture, Catherine Rosales, Kirsten Fahey Amy Garcia and Angie Gonzalez worked closely alongside their mentors at each job site, learning the skills necessary to become positive employees. Each student received $2,000.
In closing, Johnson gave these words of advice: "Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and be proud of where you've come from . . . Norwalk. And always remember; don't let it end with you. As Oprah says, pay it forward. Help someone else achieve their goals or dreams when you have the opportunity to do so. I promise you, you will be a better person for doing so."