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Scholarship Recipients

The Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship Fund has been awarding scholarships to deserving West Essex High School graduates each year since 1999.  To date, over 30 recipients have received scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.  These scholarships are granted on the basis of need and excellence and are available to all West Essex High School students requiring financial assistance for college.

The Scholarship Fund is supported by contributions from family, friends and the West Essex Community through its annual fund-raising drive.  As the Fund continues to grow, the number and amount of future awards will be determined.  This year two $10,000 scholarships were presented at the June Awards Assembly at West Essex High School.

Listed below are the recipients and the scholarship they received.                                                                                                                             

2017 RECIPIENTS

Grace George, an Essex Fells resident, will be attending American University in Washington, DC majoring in English. She is a confident, independent young woman who excels academically and in her many extracurricular activities. Her academic courses were all at the Honors or Advanced Placement level, and she consistently achieved a high grade point average. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Italian National Honor Society. The humanities are her strength. She loves to write and aspires to be a novelist or journalist. She is a columnist for the Wessex Wire and serves as a staff writer for a local magazine. She also keeps busy on the athletic field playing soccer and lacrosse serving as captain for both teams. In her spare time she volunteers helping the homeless at a local soup kitchen. This experience had a profound effect on her, and she plans to continue community service for the less fortunate throughout her life.

Anthony Steets, a resident of Roseland, will be attending Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in Psychology. He is a young man who demonstrates a strong commitment and determination in everything he does. He has undertaken very demanding academic courses and successfully has been on the honor roll earning a high grade point average. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. He is passionate about track. This year, with his help, the West Essex Track team won their first ever Group 2 title. He has been active in track for 4 years serving as Captain for the Spring and Winter track teams. Even with his busy schedule, he finds time to help others. He volunteers at his church, and spends time i nteracting with special needs students during lunch in the elementary school. In the summer he has a job working at their camp. He is a caring and compassionate person and enjoys giving back to his community.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Grace George of Essex Fells and Anthony Steets of Roseland each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Grace George, the daughter of Evan and Marcia, will attend American University in Washington, DC. Anthony Steets, the son of Michelle Steets, will attend Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta GA. These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by her parents, Jerry and Nancy Birdsall. Since 1999 37 Scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

From left are Nancy Birdsall, Anthony Steets, Grace George and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2016 RECIPIENTS

Heather Downey, a Roseland resident, will be attending Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania majoring in Mathematics Education. Heather is a hardworking, dedicated, personable young woman who excels academically, earning a high grade point average. She has an affinity for math a nd has taken every advance course including Calculus III along with Computer Science, Statistics, and Technology courses. She also excelled in English, Humanities and Science courses, all at the honors or AP level. Her academic achievements include: membership in the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar with Honors and participation in the Math League. Her extracurricular activities are numerous. She served in the French Club as President, the Roundtable Literary Magazine, and played the violin in the orchestra. Heather has a creative side too. Her passion is dance. A member of the school dance team, she also dances competitively with a studio team that won first place at the national competition. Even with her busy schedule still finds time to volunteer in her church's youth group. She has enjoyed working with them and feels the experience has given her confidence to succeed in life.

Katharine Jencarelli, a resident of Roseland, will attend the State University of New York, SUNY, in Oneonta, NY majoring in Dietetics. She has been given a unique opportunity to join Cornell University's Food Science program in her sophomore year. Kate is a young woman with determination, energy and commitment. She is outstanding in many ways, both academically and athletically. She has been a member of the National Honor Society for the past 4 years and has received the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologist Award for Excellence. She is a skilled softball player and was Captain of the Varsity team for 2 years. She played on the 1st Team All-Essex County, and on the 1st Team All-Super Essex Conference winning the game with a RBI. She plans to continue playing softball throughout college. Even with her demanding academic and athletic schedule she still finds time to volunteer at her town's summer camp coaching the softball team, and with the Boys & Girls Club of America assisting in several fundraisers.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates and Roseland residents Heather Downey and Katharine Jencarelli each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Heather Downey, the daughter of Robert and Cheryl Downey, will attend Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Katharine Jencarelli, the daughter of Charles and Noele Jencarelli, will attend SUNY College in Oneonta, NY. These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by her parents, Jerry and Nancy Birdsall. Since 1999 35 Scholarships have now been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School. Nancy Birdsall. Since 1999, thirty-three Scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School and Roseland.

From left are Nancy Birdsall, Katharine Jencarelli, Heather Downey and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2015 RECIPIENTS

Athena Marousis, a Fairfield resident, will be attending the University of South Carolina majoring in the Humanities. Athena is an intelligent young woman who demonstrates drive, focus, commitment and strong leadership skills in everything she does. She loves literature and enjoys expressing herself through writing. Several of her pieces were published in The Roundtable, the WEHS literary magazine. Some of her achievements include: President of the Future Business Leaders of America, Editor-in-Chief of The Roundtable, President of DECA, a Shop Rite winner for Excellence in Academics and a participant in the Math League, the Princeton University Quiz Bowl and as a delegate to the NJ Girls State Conference. Her academic achievements include: membership in the National Honor Society, Italian National Honor Society and the English National Honor Society. She took pride in creating and running the first WEHS "Showcase", a night of music and literature produced by the students. She also attended Greek School for eight years learning the language and their culture.

Kelly Scheper, a Roseland resident, will be attending the College of New Jersey majoring in Communications. Kelly is a dedicated, hardworking and mature young women. She excels academically and is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Social Studies Honor Society, and the Honors Choir. Music is her passion... a member of the WEHS Marching Band playing the bass drums, singing with the "Chordettes" Female Acapella group and performing in the WE Masquers theater productions. She is a member of several church choirs has performed as a soloist in many productions. During the summer she was involved in a culture exchange program with a youth group in Sweden. She especially enjoys volunteering for many community service programs. 

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Athena Marousis of Fairfield and Kelly Scheper of Roseland each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on June 2. Athena Marousis, the daughter of Panagiotis and Panagiota Marousis will attend the University of South Carolina. Kelly Scheper, the daughter of William and Mary Gayle Scheper will attend the College of New Jersey. These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by Nancy Birdsall. Since 1999, thirty-one Scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left are: Kelly Scheper, Nancy Birdsall & Athena Marousis

 

2014 RECIPIENTS

Geena Matorana, a resident of Fairfield, will attend The Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in Purchase, NY majoring in Music Composition. She is a talented, determined and enthusiastic young woman who excels in many ways. She has received awards for her academic achievements including membership in the National Honor Society, the Italian National Honor Society and the English National Honor Society. In addition she is a gifted and accomplished musician who writes music, sings and plays several instruments including the piano, violin and guitar. She is a member of the Chamber and Honors Orchestras as Concertmaster and also performs in the annual West Essex musicals. Her passion is singing and participates in the North Jersey Region I Women’s and Mixed Choir, the Honors Choir and Women’s A Capella Choir at West Essex. In her journalism class she demonstrates a talent for writing and reporting. She was named the Arts and Culture Editor, and then Editor-in Chief of the Wessex Wire newspaper. With her busy schedule she still finds time for community service by volunteering her musical talents for charities.

Daniel Kenny, a resident of North Caldwell, selected Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA, majoring in Finance. An outstanding scholar, athlete and musician, he demonstrates strong leadership, a hard work ethic and excellence in all he does. Academically he has challenged himself with the most rigorous courses and has maintained a high grade point average. He has earned numerous awards including National Honor Society, Italian National Honor Society, Dartmouth Book Award and the ShopRite Star Award. He also participated as a member of the Quiz Bowl team that competed in a state trivia contest aired on TV. Most importantly he is the class Salutatorian. His athletic talents are on the track and field teams serving as captain of the Cross Country and the Spring Track and Field teams. He earned the second fastest time in school history putting him in the top 25 in Essex County. Music is a big part of his life. He plays the trumpet and piano and has performed in the Concert Band, the Jazz Band and the Caldwell College Honors Band. He was also active in student government serving as Vice President in his senior year. In his spare time he volunteers to help disabled children train for the Special Olympics in swimming. He plans to continue helping children with special needs.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Geena Martorana of Fairfield and Daniel Kenny of North Caldwell each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 3. Geena Martorana, the daughter of Geralyn Martorana will attend Purchase College in Purchase, NY.  Daniel Kenny, the son of William Kenny and Donna Tacchi will attend Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.  These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by Jerry and Nancy Birdsall.   Since 1999, twenty-nine Scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left are: Nancy Birdsall, Daniel Kenny, Geena Martorana and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2013 RECIPIENTS

Amanda Cassera, a Fairfield resident, will be attending Boston University majoring in Physical Therapy. Amanda is an outstanding young woman, determined, energetic and successful both academically and athletically. A solid A average student she finds time to pursue her most important interests, Field Hockey and Lacrosse. She Captains both teams showing leadership skills and strong character and has received many accolades during her four years on the Varsity teams. She led the Field Hockey team to County and Sectional championships each year. Her drive and competitiveness has earned her many awards including: West Essex Outstanding Offensive Player, West Essex Coach's Award, West Essex MVP Award and 1st Team All State. Even with her busy schedule she manages time for community service and extracurricular activities. As a member of the Spanish Club she organized International Day working to help underprivileged children in foreign countries.

Zachary Bachman, a resident of Fairfield, will be attending George Washington University majoring in Business. Zack is a conscientious, focused and intelligent young man with a thirst for knowledge. A member of the National Honor Society, the Italian National Honor Society, a ShopRite Star Leadership Award and a Boys State Delegate are some of his achievements. He is involved in various activities that require leadership qualities, such as President of Class Council and Superintendent's Round Table Chairperson. Music is his passion. He is either playing in the Marching Band, the Concert Band and the Jazz Band, where he arranged songs for a saxophone ensemble at a benefit concert. Among his many honors the one that stands out most for him is earning his Eagle Scout rank. He was responsible for planning, coordinating and executing a landscaping project at West Essex High School that took over 250 hours of work.

 

 

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Amanda Cassera and Zachary Bachmann, both from Fairfield, each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 4. Amanda Cassera, the daughter of Julie and Alfred Cassera will attend Boston University, Boston, MA. Zachary Bachmann, the son of Kristin and Len Bachmann, will attend George Washington University, Washington, DC. These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, was presented by Nancy Birdsall. Assisting her were two previous recipients of the Scholarships: Stephanie Sanzari and Richard Buonomo from the WEHS Class of 2007. Each graduated from college in 2011 and are currently working in their field of study: Stephanie, as a school teacher in Livingston, and Richard, as a environmental engineer for a firm in Jersey City. 27 Scholarships have been awarded since 1998 to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left are: Stephanie Sanzari, Zachary Bachmann, Nancy Birdsall, Amanda Cassera, and Richard Buonomo.

 

2012 RECIPIENTS

Maria Picariello, a resident of Fairfield, will be attending Boston College, majoring in Political Science. Maria is an outstanding young woman who demonstrates strong character, compassion and maturity. She is a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society, the English Honor Society and the Italian Honor Society. She is active in many school clubs, serving as president in the Italian Club, and in sports, where she played lacrosse and captained the volleyball team. In addition to her busy schedule she finds time for community and church activities and also holds a part-time job. She plans to make a career in the field of law. She has a dream of one day being part of the C.I.A. working behind the scenes in the fight against terrorism.

 

 

Herminio "Jet" Navia, a resident of Roseland, will attend Georgetown University, majoring in Biochemistry and Pre-medicine. Jet is a outstanding, intelligent and highly motivated young man. With his rigorous and challenging classes he has achieved great success academically and received numerous awards. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar, a member of  the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and the Art Honor Society. Additional awards include; AP Scholar with Distinction, Science Olympiad Certificate of Recognition, ShopRite Star for Academics and the University of Pennsylvania Book Award. Not surprisingly, Jet is the class Valedictorian.

Outside the classroom, Jet contributes greatly to the West Essex Community. He volunteers at St. Michaels's Medical Center working in the Biomedical Engineering department. His passion is music, and he plays the guitar, piano and sings as well. He is active in the Jazz Band at school and the Folk Group at his church. He also is a member of the Varsity Track and Cross Country team. He has a strong work ethic and is employed part-time at a clothing store to earn extra money for college.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Maria Picariello of Fairfield and Herminio "Jet" Navia of Roseland, each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Wednesday, June 5, 2012. Maria Picariello, daughter of Vincent and Anna Picariello, will attend Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Herminio "Jet" Navia, the son of Herminio and Gracelda Navia, will attend Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. These community supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by her sister, Amy Braden, daughter of Nancy and Jerry Birdsall. To date, over 27 scholarships since 1999 have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left, Maria Picariello, Amy Braden and Herminio "Jet" Navia.

 

2011 RECIPIENTS

Kristi Kovats, a resident of Roseland, will be attending Pennsylvania State University, majoring in mathematics. Kristi is an outstanding young woman and excels in both academics and athletics. She is a member of the National Honor Society and maintained a high grade point average throughout her high school years. Her leadership skills were demonstrated on the soccer and lacrosse fields, and she was an active participant in the Key Club, Spanish Club and the Cancer Awareness Club. Her proudest achievement was organizing a fundraising campaign for the Valerie Fund in support of her school friend fighting cancer...through T-shirt sales and a 5K run/walk event she raised over $8000. Beyond this busy schedule, Kristi also held two part-time jobs working 10 hours a week to help cover her college costs.

Meghan Gambichler, a resident of Roseland, will attend New York University, majoring in Communications and Education. Meghan is a remarkable and highly motivated young woman. At age 14 she was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and underwent chemotherapy treatments. With courage and determination she has worked hard to achieve academic success. A member of both the National Honor Society and the English Honor Society, she also won the "Poetry Out Loud" competition representing West Essex. Her school activities include the Yearbook, W.E. Wire, Roundtable, Key Club and playing the clarinet in the W.E. Band. For Meghan, the most important accomplishment and her passion has been volunteering and fundraising for her charity, the Valerie Fund. She has raised over $40,000 and serves as a role model and advocate for other children dealing with cancer.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Meghan Rose Gambichler and Kristi Kovats, both of Roseland, each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Wednesday, June 1. Meghan Gambichler, daughter of Martin Gambichler and Joanne Magliaro, will attend New York University in NYC. Kristi Kovats, the daughter of Keith Kovats and Lisa Quadrel will attend Pennsylvania State University, PA. These community supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, class of 1996, were presented by her parents, Nancy and Jerry Birdsall. For over 12 years scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left, Nancy Birdsall, Meghan Gambichler, Kristi Kovats and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2010 RECIPIENTS

James Philips, a Roseland resident, he will attend Caldwell College, Caldwell, NJ, majoring in history. Jimmy is an extraordinary young man; intelligent, conscientious and motivated to meet new challenges. He is an honor student and recipient of numerous awards including National Society of High School Scholars and the Presidential Conference Award. Outside the classroom, his athletic talents and leadership skills are apparent. His passion is on the baseball diamond and he has played throughout his high school years, leading his team to be State Sectional Champions with a ranking of #1 in the State by the Star-Ledger. When baseball season is over he becomes active in soccer and basketball. He also has a strong work ethic demonstrated by the many jobs he has held. He even started his own landscaping service and hopes one day to start a business of his own. 

Angelo Agrifolio, a Fairfield resident, he will attend Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, pursuing a career in Engineering. He is a young man who demonstrates strong character, intelligence, and maturity both inside and outside the academic environment. With his rigorous course load, including several Advanced Placement classes, he has maintained a high grade point average through hard work and motivation. A member of the National Honor Society and the Italian Honor Society, he also garnered numerous awards competing in the Computer Architectural Design program. His school activities include the Robotic Club, Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl competition team, Soccer and Varsity Fencing, serving as Captain. In his spare time he volunteers at his church and mentors students.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Angelo Agrifolio of Fairfield and James Philips of Roseland each received a $10.000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards assembly on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.  Angelo Agrifolio, the son of Angelo and Lorie Agrifolio, will attend Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.  James Philips, the son of Janice Philips, will attend York College of Pennsylvania.  These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, Class of 1996, were presented by her parents Jerry and Nancy Birdsall. For over 10 years scholarships have been awarded to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School. 

Pictured from left, Jerry Birdsall, Angelo Agrifolio,James Philips and Nancy Birdsall.

 

2009 RECIPIENTS

Katie Flynn, a resident of Roseland, will attend Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, majoring in Graphic Design. Her artistic and creative talents earned her high marks in the Honors Computer Graphics course in school. She is an accomplished young lady both academically and athletically. While maintaining honor roll status and a member of the National Honor Society, she excelled in many sports earning 8 Varsity letters: 3 in track, 2 in softball and 3 in volleyball. Her leadership skills were gained by serving as captain of the volleyball team. Katie has received numerous awards for her  achievements, and still finds time for volunteering in church and community service programs.

In 2013 Katie graduated from Drexel University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Marketing. She was inducted into the Delta Epsilon Academic Honor Society. She will be attending Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland, to pursue a Master of Science degree in Mobile and Web Applications. Upon her graduation she plans on working in a firm focusing on web design.

Elizabeth Toumanios, a resident of Fairfield, will attend Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, majoring in Bioengineering. This exceptional young lady excels in many areas. High academic achievement has earned her many awards; such as membership in the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and the National Italian Honor Society. Her athletic interests involve participating in soccer, lacrosse and track, which she served as the captain for 3 years. Elizabeth spent many hours volunteering to help others, particularly visiting residents at a local assisted living facility. She has been active in fundraising projects for many charities, including Brian's Run, Crop Walk, and the Robert P. Giaimo Memorial Run.

Elizabeth graduated with honors from Leigh University in 2013 with a Bachelors Degree in Bio-Engineering. She currently is working as an engineer for UGI Utilities, a natural gas company. She designs regulator stations and works as a project manager in the Reading, PA area.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Katie Flynn or Roseland and Elizabeth Toumanios of Fairfield each received a $10.000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards assembly on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.  Ms. Flynn, the daughter of Brian and Karen Flynn, will attend Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.  Ms. Toumanios, the daughter of John and Susan Toumanios, will attend Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.  These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, Class of 1996, were presented by her mother Nancy Birdsall and her brother Rick Birdsall.  For over 10 years scholarships have been awarded to area residents from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left are Rick Birdsall, Elizabeth Toumanios, Katie Flynn and Nancy Birdsall.

 

2008 RECIPIENTS

Jennifer Picariello, a resident of Fairfield, will pursue a career in advertising at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, NY. She is a highly motivated young lady who excels academically and demonstrates strong leadership qualities. She has been involved in many school activities and community services programs throughout her high school years, and is a member of two National Honor Societies.

Jennifer graduated from Syracuse University on May 13, 2012 with a degree in Creative Advertising. Balancing course work and community service activities, she graduated Cum Laude. She was a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Co-Ed Community Service Fraternity and volunteered countless hours with that organization; the biggest event she was part of was Relay for Life. Jennifer is currently looking for a job at an ad agency as a copywriter.

Michael Ryan, a Roseland resident, is an exceptional young man with a strong academic and community service record. He is a National Honor Society member, active in athletics and volunteers in many civic organizations including the Red Cross, where he served as Fund-raising Chairman for their Measles Initiative. He helped raise over $1,000 for measles vaccines in Africa. He will be majoring in Business at Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ

Michael graduated from Ramapo College on May 16, 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He also received the Latin Honor of Magna Cum Laude and was inducted into the business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma. He is currently working as a Pricing Analyst at Avis Budget Group. He plans to continue his education to obtain an MBA.

West Essex Regional High School graduates Jennifer Picariello of Fairfield and Michael Ryan of Roseland each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the school's Senior Awards Assembly on Thursday, June 5, 2008. Jennifer Picariello, the daughter of Vincent and Anna Picariello, will attend Syracuse University, NY. Michael Ryan, the son of John and Sheryl Ryan, will attend Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. These community-supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, were presented by her parents, Nancy and Jerry Birdsall and her sister, Amy Braden. This marks 10 years of awarding scholarships to area students from the sending towns of West Essex High School.

Pictured from left are Amy Braden, Michael Ryan, Jennifer Picariello and Nancy Birdsall

 

2007 RECIPIENTS

Richard Buonomo, a resident of North Caldwell, plans to pursue the field of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Villanova University, PA. At West Essex High School he excelled academically and demonstrated strong leadership qualities. He volunteered on many community service projects, most notably, the ACE Architecture Program where he designed a restaurant for the business district of Newark, NJ. He was then nominated as the Project Manager. His application essay states his future goal is to build structures that power themselves, and thereby limit the impact on the environment.

Rich graduated from Villanova University in 2011 with a degree in Civil Engineering. After college, he found employment with an environmental engineering firm in Jersey City. He helps design urban renewal projects and transit-oriented residential development in Hudson County.

 

Stefanie Sanzari, a Fairfield resident, worked very hard both academically and athletically. A member of two National Honor Societies, she also received the Academic All American Award from the Association of Lacrosse Coaches. Her athletic talents and leadership skills were demonstrated on the lacrosse and soccer fields where she served as captain for both teams. Stefanie also volunteered at church activities, recreational events and tutored students in her spare time. She will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Park, NJ majoring in Elementary Education.

Stefanie graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2011 with a degree in Education and Psychology. She achieved high honor designation, graduating Magna Cum Laude and was inducted into the Phi Zeta Kappa and Phi Omega Epsilon Honor Societies. She also earned distinction playing on the women's lacrosse team for four years where she received numerous awards including the prestigious Middle Atlantic Conference Scholar Athlete Award. As a participant in the University's combined five-year Master's program, Stefanie will be returning in the fall to complete her education.

 

 

 

Richard Buonomo of North Caldwell and Stefanie Sanzari of Fairfield, 2007 graduates of West Essex Regional High School, North Caldwell, each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly on Wednesday, June 6. Richard Buonomo, the son of Richard and Nina Buonomo, will attend Villanova University, PA. Stefanie Sanzari, the daughter of Ido and Consiglia Sanzari, will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham Park, NJ. These community supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, were presented by her parents, Nancy and Jerry Birdsall.

Pictured from left are Nancy Birdsall, Richard Buonomo, Stefanie Sanzari and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2006 RECIPIENTS

Kelliann Mulvihill, a resident of Fairfield, will be attending the college of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, majoring in Elementary Education. She has worked hard both in and outside of school. An honor student and a valued member of the School Orchestra playing the violin, she has also been employed throughout her high school years working every day after school to earn enough for college. Kelliann enjoys working with children, and her goal is to be a teacher or an occupational therapist.

Kelliann graduated from the College of Saint Elizabeth in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary/Special Education and Psychology. She received high honors and departmental  honors in Psychology. She is presently working for Viridian Energy as a sales associate and plans to continue her education earning a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy at Seton Hall.

 

Nicole Weston, a Fairfield resident, will attend Boston College majoring in Biology. Nicole has received numerous academic awards and is a member of the National Honor Society. During her high school years she was active in Track and Field where she was Captain. She was also an active member of the Key Club and Book Club, as well as serving on  various community service projects that entailed working with disabled children.

Nicole graduated from Boston College in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She received high honors. She has accepted a position as a clinical research assistant at the VA Hospital in Roxbury, MA She will help conduct trials for improving the quality of life of veterans suffering from pulmonary diseases. In 2015 she graduated from Northeastern University as a Physician's Assistant and is working at Cook County Hospital in Chicago with her husband.

West Essex High School graduates Kelliann Mulvihill and Nicole Weston, of Fairfield, each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 20. Mulvihill is the daughter of Carolyn de Smet and will attend the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown. Weston is the daughter of David and Lisa Weston and will attend Boston College, Chestnut Hill Mass. These community supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, were presented by her sister, Amy Braden and her mother, Nancy Birdsall. In total 15 scholarships have been awarded since 1999 to graduates from the sending towns of West Essex High School in North Caldwell. From left are Amy Braden, Nicole Weston, Kelliann Mulvihill and Nancy Birdsall.

                  

2005 RECIPIENTS

Tricia LaMagna, a resident of Fairfield, will attend Marist College majoring in International Marketing and Journalism.  Besides her academic achievements, her other activities include writing for the Wessex Wire and volunteering for many organizations, such as the Pediatric Aids Foundation and the American Red Cross.  Her essay addresses the problems of poverty and homelessness and her commitment to help restore human dignity to those who are suffering.

Tricia graduated from Marist College in 2009. She is presently employed in a marketing position at Virtual Press Office, an internet software and service company located in Montclair, NJ. As a member of the Operations team, she creates and manages client documents and press releases for trade shows.

Kevin Ryan, a Roseland resident, will attend the University of Maryland majoring in Engineering.  An excellent student, he is also involved in many school activities, which include the Future Business Leaders of America, the Jazz Band and the Varsity Golf Team.  He devoted his time and talents to many community service organizations and served as chairperson on several fund-raising projects.  His goal is to contribute to the fight against terrorism with the engineering technology he will gain from his education.

Kevin graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Aerospace Engineering. He will continue his studies at Maryland in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering. The University awarded him a Research Assistantship, providing full tuition and a stipend, where he will conduct research in the field of Hypersonics. While at college he was a member of the Aerospace Engineering Honor Society, Sigma Gamma Tau, and the National Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi. He also received a Fulbright award.

In 2011, Kevin received a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. He plans to complete his Doctorate Degree in Aerospace Engineering while working as a Research Assistant to the University in the field of Hypersonics.

 

West Essex Regional High School graduates Tricia LaMagna of Fairfield and Kevin Ryan of Roseland each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly June 21, 2005.  Tricia, daughter of Paul and Patricia LaMagna, will attend Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, in the fall and Kevin, son of John and Sheryl Ryan, will attend University of Maryland, College Park.  The scholarship, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, was presented by her father, Jerry and Joseph Laracy, a 2001 recipient of the Birdsall scholarship.  From left are Joseph, Kevin, Tricia and Jerry.

 

2004 RECIPIENTS

Mark Picardo, a resident of Fairfield, will be attending Marist College in the fall studying communications.  He has been involved in Baseball, Soccer, Basketball & National Honor Society at West Essex.  Mark writes of his efforts to distribute food and aid the local homeless and needy and in the future, possibly traveling to foreign countries to provide much needed services for those less fortunate.

Mark graduated from Marist College in May, 2008. During his senior year he interned at Madison Square Garden, New York City and is currently employed in their Marketing, Sales and Promotion Department for the NY Knicks and Rangers.

Paul Magia, a resident of Fairfield will be attending Drew University this fall to study Psychology and Economics.  Paul was an active member of the Italian Club and Italian Honor Society and Captain of the Fencing Team at West Essex.  In his scholarship application, he writes of the importance of having a strong Faith in today's world and of the significant impact his mother, brother and sister have had on his life. 

Paul graduated in 2009. He is presently working with a family member starting an online company distributing products and services to clients.

West Essex Regional High School graduates Paul Magia and Mark Picaro each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly in June 2004.   Paul  is the son of Kim Huong Magia and will attend Drew University.    Mark is the son of Carmine & Jane Picardo and will attend Marist College.

From left: Nancy Birdsall, Paul Magia, Mark Picardo & Amy Birdsall Braden

 
2003 RECIPIENTS
Ryan Gualtier, a resident of North Caldwell is attending George Washington University in Washington D.C.  majoring in the arts & sciences and eventually applying to Medical School to pursue his goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.  In his application, he writes about the important qualities of leadership, character, service and scholarship and how they have shaped his life during his high school years. 

Ryan graduated from George Washington University in 2007. He will attend the American University School of Medicine, St. Maartin, in the Fall. He plans to become an orthopedic surgeon, a goal he has always pursued. During the past summers he has worked in several hospitals to broaden his learning experience. In 2011 Ryan graduated earning his M.D. degree but decided to pursue a career in anesthesiology.He will start his four-year Residency in Anesthesiology at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn,New York.

Brittany LaMagna, a resident of Fairfield is attending the University of Scranton in Scranton, PA majoring in Elementary Education.  Through her experiences working with children, she writes about the importance of education for children and her commitment to this career. 

Brittany graduated with honors from Scranton University in 2007. She plans to pursue her goal as an elementary school teacher. She returned to college to obtain a Master's Degree in Special Education and currently has a position in the Little Falls School system as a kindergarten teacher.

West Essex Regional High School graduates Brittany LaMagna of Fairfield and Ryan Gualtier of North Caldwell each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly on June 19, 2003.  Brittany is the daughter of Paul and Patricia LaMagna and will attend the University of Scranton.  Ryan is the son of Richard and Debbie Gualtier and will attend George Washington University.

From left: Nancy Birdsall, Ryan Gualtier, Brittany LaMagna & Jerry Birdsall

 
2002 RECIPIENTS

Carlee Leraris, Carlee's high school activities included choir, drama, cheerleading as well as many club activities. She attended the American Legion Girls State Program for New Jersey and based her scholarship essay on that experience… stressing the importance of cooperation, tolerance and compromise in a diverse society. Carlee will be attending Colgate University and hopes to pursue a career in economics and business management.

Carlee graduated 2006 from Colgate University. After interning at Goldman Sachs in her senior year, she was offered full time employment working with their hedge fund clients. She is currently living in Manhattan.

Lisa Radak, During her high school years, Lisa was involved in many club activities and community service programs including assisting at day-care and assisted living centers. Her essay focused on building better foreign relations to reduce tensions that could foster war or terrorism. Lisa plans to major in Political Science and History at the College of New Jersey and is interested in a career in the international community.

Lisa graduated in 2006 from the College of New Jersey and is continuing her education there to obtain a Master's Degree. After earning her degree she is currently teaching deaf and hard of hearing children in a specialized school in Midland Park, NJ.

West Essex Regional High School graduates Carlee Leraris and Lisa Radak each received a $10,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 18, 2002. The awards were presented by Nancy and Jerry Birdsall.

 

2001 RECIPIENTS

Joseph Laracy, a resident of Roseland, was involved in many high school activities, and received numerous awards of outstanding achievement and community service. In his application he wrote about his experiences as a Boy Scout for 7 years and the leadership skills he learned that will prepare him for adult life. He is enrolled at the University of Illinois where he will pursue studies in computer engineering and the sciences.  Joe graduated in 2005 with honors from the University of Urbana, Ill., with a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering and a minor in mathematics.  He pursued research in cryptography that was funded by the National Science Foundation.  He served as a teaching assistant for the course on the Physics of Nuclear Weapons, War and Arms Control.  He worked as a software quality and reliability engineer on NASA's Deep Impact mission, which impacted a comet on Monday, July 4, 2005.  He is employed at Lucent Technologies in Whippany.

He will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass, to pursue a doctorate in systems engineering.  He has a research assistantship in the Complex Systems Research Laboratory.

Kevin McDevitt, also a resident of Roseland, was actively involved in many high school programs and organizations as well as community service projects. He is currently enrolled at Boston University majoring in Communications. He wants to pursue a career in film production as a screen writer.  Kevin graduated magna cum laude from the School of Communication, Boston University in May, 2005.  He is currently living in Los Angeles where he is pursuing a career in the film industry, focusing on production.

West Essex Regional High School graduates Kevin McDevitt and Joseph Laracy each received a $5,000 Meghan P. Birdsall Scholarship at the Senior Awards Assembly on Tuesday, June 19. These community supported scholarships, given in memory of West Essex graduate Meghan Birdsall, were presented this year by her brother and sister, Rick Birdsall and Amy Braden. From left, Rick Birdsall, Kevin McDevitt, Joseph Laracy and Amy Braden.

   
2000 RECIPIENTS

Sandra

Sandra Ruth Anderson, a resident of Fairfield, NJ, enrolled at Rutgers University, NJ to study Biology and Pre-Med. In her application for the Scholarship, she wrote about her concerns for incurable diseases, such as cancer, and her desire to find a cure through medical research or as a doctor. Sandra graduated from Rutgers University in May 2004 with a BA in Biology & Criminal Forensics and plans to attend veterinary school.  She is presently working with veterinarians and volunteering at an equine hospital in Florida.

Colleen

Colleen Oates, a resident of Essex Fells, NJ, enrolled at the College of Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, to study English and Pre-Med. In her application for the Scholarship, she wrote about the importance of family in today's society, and how she has grown as an individual through her spiritual involvement with her church.  Colleen graduated from the College of Holy Cross with honors.  She is currently working in NYC for Sun Life Insurance Co. of Canada, after finishing their intensive training program in group sales.

Awards presented June 20, 2000 to Sandra Anderson and Colleen Oates by Nancy and Jerry Birdsall.

 

 
 
1999 RECIPIENT

Jennifer L. Durkin was the first winner of the Meghan P. Birdsall Memorial Scholarship. A resident of Roseland, NJ, she enrolled at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, to major in communications. In her application for the scholarship, she wrote on teenage violence in our schools and society, and the contributions she would make from the knowledge and skills learned in communication classes, such as speaking out against violence and advising teenagers on controlling anger.

In 2003 Jenninfer graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelors degree in Economics. She continued her education graduating from Monmouth University with a Masters in Business Administration. She is  presently employed with Verizon Wireless as an Operations Consultant for the Northeast Area. She is married and lives in Toms River, NJ.