2018 Jennie Foundation Scholarship Recipients

2018 Jennie Foundation Scholarship for Music recipient Roberto Morelli (center left), with Susan (left), Joy (center right) and Bill LePera (right)

The Jennie Foundation Scholarships are awarded each year to students pursing studies in Music, Nursing, and Culinary Arts, and who have overcome significant personal or academic hardships.  We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Jennie Foundation Music and Nursing Scholarships, which were awarded on June 5 at Roy C. Ketcham Senior High School, in Wappingers Falls, NY.  These recipients are living examples of achievement over adversity and embody the true spirit of our beloved Jen.

Roberto Morelli – Music

Roberto underwent a heart transplant in 2007.  Earlier this year, Roberto contracted a strep virus that settled in his heart.  His body began to reject his heart and his organs began shutting down.  With anti-rejection medicine, a ventilator to assist breathing, dialysis for his kidneys and strong antibiotics, Roberto began to recover.  After eight weeks in the hospital and an additional two weeks in a rehabilitation facility, Roberto is back in school and is on track to graduate.With the support of his home instruction teachers and RCK in-class teachers, Roberto has been able to make up all of his missed work.  Roberto is a very talented musician and film-maker.  He has already won countless awards at various film festivals for his documentaries on FDR and The Walkway Over the Hudson.  Roberto is also a valued member of the music program and performs with the New York National Guard Military Band.

Nicholas Patino – Music/Performing Arts

Nicky is a young man who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but has never let his diagnosis define him.  He has attacked his academics with vigor and has maintained an overall GPA of 88.   Nicky is also an instrumental member of the RCK Theater Classes and Masque & Mime, the RCK production club for all four years in high school.  Nicky has held a variety of roles and positions in each production RCK has produced.

Mariah Falcon – Nursing

Mariah’s father was diagnosed with cancer two tears ago, and passed away after a courageous battle with the disease.  Mariah and her father were very close, and most days she would take the long drive to the hospital to spend time with him, studying and doing homework in the car.  She was determined to do what was necessary to spend time with her father while still maintaining her grades.  Mariah’s father emphasized the importance of education, and she has worked tirelessly in his honor.  Mariah is pursuing a nursing education so that she can someday support and care for individuals and families fighting cancer.

Michael Petrocelli – Nursing

During Michael’s junior year in high school, his father unexpectedly passed away.  Although his parents were no longer together, they maintained a good relationship for Micheal and his brother.  Michael’s father had remarried and had two additional children that Michael is very close to.  When Michael’s stepmother was no longer able to care for his younger siblings, Michael’s mother took the two children in, rather than put them into the foster care system.  On a single income, Michael’s mother was now responsible for four children.  The adjustment was not easy, and Michael stepped up to help.  He has taken the initiative to ensure his younger siblings are adjusting well and maintaining their academics.  Michael does homework with them every night, and takes them to and from their various activities while also working to help contribute to the family expenses.  RCK staff describe Michael as selfless and caring, always willing to put others before himself.  He is pursing a nursing education to allow him to help others.

We congratulate these four fine young people and wish them the best success on their future.  We also thank our donors, who make The Jennie Foundation Scholarships possible.

Stay tuned for upcoming information on The Jennie Foundation Culinary Scholarships!

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