Four Hopewell Valley Central High School students were recently given a helping hand to fund their college educations, after the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation awarded them with scholarships for the coming academic year.
Brandon Li, Ali Schragger, Mark Van Selous and Kathryn Genovesi each received $1,000 from the foundation’s annual award, given to pupils who have exhibited “outstanding academic achievement and a passion for learning, extracurricular [activities] and community involvement, including leadership roles,” according to HVEF President and Hopewell Township Mayor Kevin Kuchinski.
In addition, Genovesi was the recipient of the HVEF Claude A.R. Kagan Memorial Scholarship — a memorial scholarship given to a student interested in science and technology. She will be attending Eckerd College in Florida with a major in environmental science this fall.
The HVEF raises money for the scholarships through three fundraising events: the Book Lover’s Luncheon, during which a distinguished national author speaks to students about their latest book and sharing a “behind-the-scenes view of what motivates them and their writing process”; the Power of 100 Campaign, which encourages over 100 local families to give $100 or more towards “enhancing educational excellence and fueling innovation in the school district” and usually raises about $20,000 a year; and the annual “Above and Beyond” gala, which recognizes teachers of the year and “other community partners.”
As part of the process, students had to fill out an application, detailing the student’s involvement in their community and at CHS, and write an essay.
For Schragger, her essay depicted her personal, daily struggles after being diagnosed with scoliosis in sixth grade.
“At first, I was disappointed, because I had to wear the back brace for 16 hours a day,” she said. An avid dancer, Schragger would take the brace off for her dance classes, she said.
Despite this, she used humor to get through it, naming her back brace “Rocky.”
She eventually no longer needed the back brace and could fully perform, dancing for the Trenton Thunder dance team and directing and choreographing productions for Hopewell Valley Children’s Theater.
Schragger will be attending college at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NJ, with a major in applied mathematics.
Van Selous, who ran varsity cross country, winter track, spring track and founded the chess club while at CHS, will be majoring in physics and mathematics as a part of the Scholars Program at the University of Maryland.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with numbers and a mathematical approach to understanding the world around us,” he said. “As a freshman, I began exposing myself to different fields of study and was quickly captivated by physics.”
Outside of high school, he is an Eagle Scout, as well as a tournament chess player, and was “humbled” to discover he was one of the scholarship recipients.
Li, who played for CHS’s golf team and the orchestra, and was a member of the Health Occupations Students of America club, will be attending Boston University, majoring in medical sciences. He is currently enrolled in a 7-year medical school program (SMED), with the hopes of becoming a physician.
“It would be a privilege to be able to use my skills and knowledge to positively contribute to an individual’s health,” he said.
While every student uses their money differently, the students agreed that the scholarship money will help ease some tuition costs, as well as allow them to purchase books.
The students also offered pieces of advice to rising seniors who may be in need of the scholarship. Schragger recommended to “get involved in your community,” and Van Selous said to express what the student may be interested in beyond high school.
“I strongly encourage anyone interested or in need of a scholarship not to shy away from sharing your passions and expressing the impact the reward will have on your future,” he said.