2021 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
NEW PROVIDENCE High School
Mariana Deicas-Sykora

Mariana has played various roles in her community through volunteer and social work. Volunteering at a hospital confirmed her interest in becoming a nurse to help others during some of the most difficult times of their lives. After her father was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, she decided to become more involved in Relay for Life and the Glioblastoma Foundation, dedicated to fundraising and raising awareness. 

 

During regular visits to family in South America, she’s performs community service at Madres de La Cruz, a small home in Uruguay that gives abandoned and poor children a place to get help with homework, have an afternoon snack, and receive guidance from trusting adults. She’s also visited rural public schools and helped organized group games, restore the playgrounds, plus teach geography. In Brazil, she cooked an entire meal to feed 30 children at an orphanage.

 

Mariana says, “Helping people is an extremely humbling experience, and it has truly changed the way that I go about my everyday life. I realized that despite having almost nothing, these children and teenagers were some of the happiest people I had met in my life.”

Christopher Monaco

Christopher’s proudest moment in service so far was helping organize a pajama and book collection for the Pajama Program as part of his confirmation community service project. He says this work made him realize how fortunate he is and showed how much of a difference people can make when they come together.

 

This led to him becoming a member of The Brooke Healey Foundation Junior Council, where has helped with casino night planning and execution. Christopher has also supported food programs at Our Lady of Peace Church in New Providence, making sandwiches for St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in Newark and reorganizing the food pantry after a drive. He plans to attend a Catholic university where he can take advantage of programs and opportunities for student involvement and service.

MADISON HIGH SCHOOL
Aidan Bergin

Aidan will attend College of the Holy Cross, major in chemistry and participate in the

pre-med program. He participated in or volunteered for a leadership role St. Vincent Martyr Youth Ministry Retreat for four years. He was a community service volunteer for St. Vincent Martyr’s Appalachian Outreach, spending several weeks repairing houses in West Virginia.

 

He believes it’s important for him to find a job where he can use his gifts to help others and sees science as the way to do so. His cousin passed away from a brain tumor and younger brother was born very prematurely, so he says he has the impact excellent medical care can make. “I hope to make a difference in my life by either helping families by being a doctor or pursuing research that can help cure diseases,” says Aidan.

CRANFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Robert Kelly

Robert’s short- and long-term goals are “to help address some of the systemic barriers which perpetuate the oppression and marginalization of lower income communities.” He plans to go to college, then law school to become a defense attorney to help fight social and legal injustice and provide accessible counsel.

 

Both of his parents are cancer survivors, which, he says, continues to be one of the greatest challenges he’s ever been through. They were both diagnosed with advanced cancer within one year of each other and underwent aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. The experience inspired him to volunteer and fight against cancer, including with the American Cancer Society, organizing the annual Relay for Life event.

 

He says, “This experience, though painful and frightening, has provided me with an increased sense of awareness and empathy. I have learned to be more patient with others, as it is oftentimes not apparent on the surface what struggles they may be dealing with in their personal lives.”