First in line for new Silver Scholarships
By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Stafford, Suffield - posted Fri., Jun. 24, 2011
Six college-bound high school seniors who volunteer at Johnson Memorial Medical Center have been named the first-ever recipients of the newly-created Silver Scholarship Awards. On June 20, the scholarships - funded by the Silver Scholarship Foundation - were awarded to four students from Stafford High School and two students from Suffield High School.
The foundation was created by JMMC hospital volunteer Alan Silver and his wife, Terry.
“We hope to make it an annual event,” said Alan Silver, who said that the bulk of the funds have so far come from the Silvers, with a portion coming from donations and also from outside sources.
“There are many scholarships being given out around the state. This one specifically is strictly for the volunteers that work for Johnson Memorial. I think we definitely exemplified that,” said Silver, referring to the 2011 Silver Scholarships Awards Reception held on the campus of JMMC on June 20.
Silver has volunteered at Johnson Memorial for nearly 15 years, accumulating approximately 6,000 hours in volunteer time. Before that, he worked in the retail industry. “We've been very lucky, and we try to do what we can. I think it is important to show our appreciation for the things that people do,” said Silver.
Stafford High School’s Class of 2011 valedictorian Tom Szymanski, as well as salutatorian and Class President Julie Dillon were both among the six award recipients.
Szymanski has been accepted into his pharmacy program of choice at the University of Rhode Island.
“I've been volunteering for over four years now. I started when I was in eighth grade. I volunteer basically every Saturday morning or Sunday morning in the pharmacy for about four hours. It's been really good experience, because after that I decided to go to pharmacy school,” said Szymanski, who added that volunteering has also helped him grow as a person.
“I'm more mature, I had a lot of responsibilities there,” he said. Szymanski said he recently got a job in a pharmacy, which will further enhance his skills.
Dillon will not see much time off this summer. She leaves on June 27 for basic training at West Point Academy, where she will continue her academic career. She plans to study chemical engineering, or possibly life sciences.
Dillon said she has been volunteering since she was 14, and hopes to continue volunteering when she is able to return home from West Point.
“I really like the hospital environment. It's always been fun helping people. I actually liked changing the beds after the patients leave, that was my favorite part, because it was just fun. I think I took out of it that it's so easy to help people, and when you do help somebody, it makes their day that much better,” said Dillon.
In addition, Stafford High School students Daniel Duffee, who will attend the University of Connecticut, and Sarah Longmore, who will attend Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, both received Silver Scholarships, as did Suffield High School students Neha Mehta, who will attend Brown University, and Sarah Voisine, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Brief addresses and scholarship presentations were made by JMMC Interim President and CEO David Morgan, state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, and Terry and Alan Silver.
Morgan encouraged the students to keep volunteering. “You will continue to get a lot out of it, and you shouldn't stop now... Almost everything that I have done exciting in my life has started off with volunteerism... I came to Johnson as a volunteer when Johnson was having problems... and here I am – the CEO,” said Morgan.
Bacchiochi acknowledged the Silvers for starting the organization, saying, “You took it upon yourselves to encourage these teens to do something bigger than they may have done without your encouragement.”
Alan Silver thanked people who served on the scholarship committee and addressed the six teenagers. “I congratulate each and every single one of you,” he said. “Volunteering is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I started almost 15 years ago... I enjoy it, and I get a lot out of it. We certainly hope by next year we'll be able to double the amount of scholarships. There are so many teens that are worthy of it.”
For more information about or to donate to the Silver Scholarships, call the JMMC Development Office at 860-684-8161.
Send story ideas and comments to Lauri Voter at firstname.lastname@example.org.