2017 Scholarship Winner
The Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship selection committee has named RHS senior Molly Perdek recipient of the 2017 Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship, a $15,000 grant. Following are excerpts from her application essay:
Once upon a time, Jennifer and Andrew Perdek welcomed their second child into this world, a 2-pound blue-eyed baby girl: a baby girl who spent the first year of her life not in the two-story colonial nestled behind a white picket fence as planned, but in a glass covered incubator, wrapped in endless wires.
As a rotating door of doctors attempted to label their pink cotton swaddled miracle, only one term would stick to their Google search bar: Hydrocephalus, meaning water on the brain.
…A year passed, and Molly received what her mom described as “her first haircut,” which consisted of a razor and the surgeon’s blade, but ended with a bow to cover the jagged scar.
…(At age 11, Molly began) 6 years of pain saturated hospital stays, and 18 more of those so called “surgeon’s haircuts.”
…During the time people are meant to figure out who they are and who they want to be, Molly, sometimes in tears as she imagined braiding her invisible hair, spent years as a spectator to the days that elapsed around her betadine drenched room.
…At Ridge High School I never really got a chance to be anything but “the Sick Girl,” making it difficult to be able to focus on my future. But as my senior year is underway and my college applications have been sent I am proud to say I am one year surgery free. My life was full of things I could not control. I didn’t get a choice in having 18 brain surgeries but I did get to choose to smile and bring a positive attitude to my life and those around me.
2016 Scholarship Winner
has never been easy for me, but rather than succumb to my issues, I
take every obstacle and use it as a positive experience from
which I gain strength and build character.
My mother was left with an
infant to care for herself and was working full time while going to
community college. I started to live with my grandfather, and during
those days he became my hero and my father. At the age of 10, my world
was shattered when he was taken from me after losing his short battle to
brain cancer; this loss was life changing to me. My mom got remarried
when I was in 7th grade to a man who she thought could play the role as a
good father figure.
A few years later, during my freshman year of high
school, my mom lost her job and was unable to work for almost a
year. The following year, my sport career came to an end. I had four
herniated discs in the middle of my back from an unknown source, and it
would be in my interest to drop all sports and physical labor. My middle
school and high school career consisted of torment around the clock by
my step father to be a "perfect" child. This caused the desire for me to
be home as little as possible. After years of living in an almost
totalitarian household, I snapped. This time proved to be overwhelming
and challenging, but I did what I could to stay focused on my goals of
graduating from Ridge and going to college. Life has been hard and money
has been a problem, but yet I found my place in Ridge High school and
made myself into the person I am today. I have set the bar for myself,
and I will fight for what I want the most.
To be honest, I too have made
some mistakes of my own. However, if you ask my teachers, counselor and
administrators, they would all say that I have matured and grown. I
have used my personal experiences to set goals and be a responsible,
honest and determined young adult. As my senior year progresses my
grades have been where I need them to be. I put myself in courses I take
interest in, that are a challenge and will hopefully open up my ideal
options for a future career.
I have worked multiple jobs and have tried to be a responsible employee and a positive role model to the children I work with at the elementary school. I believe that I can be the first person in my family to attend a four year college. During the time I am attending school, I plan on working to accumulate money so I can start paying off loans once I graduate. In reality, without this scholarship, putting myself through college, RVCC or not, will be a struggle. I believe a quality educational background is a stepping stone for a solid career, and with this money I can start off a step higher than I would be able to on my own.
2015 Scholarship Winner
The Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship selection committee has named RHS senior Emily Brenner recipient of the 2015 Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship, a $10,000 grant.
A gifted artist, Emily will carry her creativity to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design this fall. Congratulations to Emily!
Following is Emily's compelling application essay:
Shtick is the Yiddish word for "weird habit". I am a young woman who has multiple "shticks", for I have always blinked, kicked, jerked and occasionally even snorted. These shticks first appeared when I was three years old and each would come and go after brief periods. My friends noticed but didn't care (they knew to sit to my right during lunch or else be kicked by a leg with "a mind of its own"). I did well in school and life went on.
I've always had a passion for painting, sketching, and expressing my emotions through the visual arts. I consider myself a very artistic and imaginative person, though I've had to manage a significant challenge in my life while trying to express this creativity. My once relatively innocuous shticks were seizing greater control of my body and mind as I entered into high school. Rather than dissipate, they lingered longer and longer. I started to tap a finger; however, the taps started multiplying faster and faster until the action monopolized my thoughts. Tap. Tap. Tap. I became distracted in school and at home. Tap. Tap. Tap. My finger bruised and calloused. Tap. Tap. Tap. I couldn't stop.
A visit to the doctor diagnosed not only Tourette Syndrome but even more disconcerting, an undercurrent of OCD tendencies which strangled my thoughts and dictated my everyday routine. With the aid of my very supportive parents, I began researching this often misunderstood and stigmatized disorder. The neurologist armed me with klonopin, a numbing narcotic. With the endorsement of my parents, I tore the prescription up as soon as I left the office. I was determined to combat this diagnosis on my own terms with a lucid mind and a clear strategy. Although controlling the manifestations of TS and OCD can be a formidable challenge, over time I realized that my physical tics were muted while painting and drawing.
Art serves as both an escape and a catharsis. When I paint, I channel my anxiety, frustration, excitement and emotion into my artwork. As my talents developed, I realized that my mind is completely focused on line, texture, shadow and form. Art developed into an escape, where I had the unabated freedom to express myself without being stymied by the hindering effects of TS. However, like an electric charge that needs to be released, the urge is never completely dormant. My canvas reflects this struggle. I grew a passion for chiaroscuro or the use of high contrast. Form is never completely encapsulated by line. An exaggerated level of focus on the subject in my paintings fulfills my artistic cravings in a way which also quells my involuntary physical twitches.
Even after years of behavioral therapy, which has helped me become nearly tic-free, this disorder will always be with me. Despite the occasional blink, kick, and twitch, expressing myself through art has allowed me to grow as a person and an artist, while helping me gain control over the effects of all my crazy little "shticks". I recently painted a canvas of a young woman holding a pair of scissors. The blades frame her eye and are poised to shut on her eyelashes. The image is unsettling as I wanted to arouse in the viewer the anxiety I experience when coping with OCD. However, upon closer inspection, the viewer realizes that the hand holding the scissors and the scissor's handle are not visible. The long silver blades trail to the edge of the canvas and then disappear, literally "cut off" from the mechanism which can cause the blades to open and close. She is safe. Likewise, while I will always have TS and OCD, I have learned how to manage the syndrome so that it neither defines nor hinders my potential.
Looking back over several years of struggle, I found that art was my way to break free.
2014 Scholarship Winner
Friday, April 4, 2014
The Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship selection committee has named RHS senior Grace Smith recipient of the 2014 Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship. Announced as a $9,500 award, the generosity of donors allowed the Ridge AMS Board to increase this year's grant to $10,000. Congratulations to Grace!
Following are excerpts from Grace's application essay:
Being one of the very few visually impaired students in the district, and the first transferring from a homeschool, I was a conundrum.
Neither I, nor my peers, nor many of my teachers knew what
to do. The choir director was worried about me moving on and off the risers. My
biology teacher and I were both frustrated trying to have me use an online
learning and communication tool. My peers did not know that I would not
recognize them and they needed to tell me who they were when they greeted me in
the hall. I was afraid to ask for help and to admit that I was not able to do
everything everybody else did. I did not want to appear too different, so I did
not use my cane.
But through many supportive conferences, I grew more confident and outgoing. My teachers listen as I advocate for myself, my friends tell me their names when they greet me, and I bring my cane to school every day. I never fell off the risers, I laugh when I accidentally bump into something, and make regular jokes about how the focus of some of my classes often turns to cars, which I will never drive.
I did face other challenges at home. These intensified the adjustments I had to make in school, but with determination and help, I was able to move past these setbacks. One of my English teachers saw my love for writing and literature, and encouraged me to develop those talents. The choir director pushed me to work through excuses to achieve the quality performance she knew I could give.
I eagerly look forward to attending college after
graduation, where I plan to study literature and writing. I have so many
stories waiting to be told.
If I am awarded this money, I can fulfill that goal and move forward on the path to writing great stories.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Following are excerpts from Sarah's application essay:
"Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"
On a chilly afternoon in temple, my rabbi stood up and asked this very question to the congregation. (He told a story) centered on a girl who was complaining about how hard life was. Her mother boiled three pots of water: one with a carrot, one with an egg, and one with coffee beans.
After being boiled, the expected happened: the carrot softened into a tender, deep orange, the egg hard boiled to form a rubbery bright white outside and pasty yellow inside, and the coffee beans turned the water into rich, dark, aromatic coffee.
When faced with a tough decision or difficult situation, did she weaken like the carrot, build a hard interior like the egg, or change the environment around her to make the situation better like the coffee beans?
I am proud to say I am a coffee bean.
When I was three years old, my father passed away suddenly. Like the egg, I could have grown up with a tough interior, not trusting or letting anyone in, and refusing to establish any meaningful relationships. Instead, I grew stronger and independent.
Just a few years ago, my family's income dropped dramatically. Like the carrot, I could have weakened and started spending time with the wrong crowd to fit in, or simply given up. Instead I acquired several jobs, and continue to buy everything I need.
This coffee bean has faced a lot of adversity and tragedy in my short seventeen years, yet I am a happy and optimistic person. My hardships have taught me how precious and fleeting life can be.
I make a strong brew.
I want to surround myself with small smiling faces, miniature bundles of joy, runny noses and aching stomachs. I want to make sick children healthy again. I want to help families, and travel the world and work with people of different cultures and find cures. This is my dream, to become a pediatrician. And sometimes I think my dream cannot come true.
This amount of money may not appear to be so much to some people, but it would mean everything to me. It would make it possible for me to go to college and fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Following are excerpts from Yodalio's application essay:
I moved to Basking Ridge my sophomore year, and I didn't know whether it
They made my high school career an experience I will never forget.
Character Achievements Can Earn Scholarship
Vol. 8 No. 2, November 4, 2011.
BERNARDS TWP. – Character and nontraditional achievements can earn a Ridge senior $6,000! Think it takes a 4.5 Gpa and 2400 sats to receive a scholarship? Think again.
The 2012 Ridge Alumni Memorial scholarship is looking for graduating seniors who have demonstrated “character, determination, and nontraditional achievements” during their tenure at rhs. This year’s award is $6,000.
The award recipient may use the funds for virtually any educational, vocational or personal growth expenses — meaning tuition, a gap year, a car to get to work, studio time, or something a graduating senior needs that ridge ams organizers haven’t yet thought of.
Last year, Ridge AMS awarded its largest grant to date, $6,000, to Jeremy Baum (RHS ’11). The group was able to maintain this year’s scholarship at the same level, thanks to the generosity of donors. “A $6,000 award stretches our coffers a bit,” according to Jane Cullinan (RHS ’67), who chairs the Ridge AMS board of trustees. “But we recognize that life after high school stretches the budgets of plenty of Ridge families. We're committed to making a meaningful contribution to a deserving senior's future. That’s the purpose of the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship – honoring the past by supporting the future.”
Graduating Ridge seniors can learn more at the Ridge AMS website, or by contacting RHS guidance counselors, who will collect scholarship applications for the Ridge AMS selection committee.
Deadline for applications is March 5, 2012.
Ridge AMS is funded entirely by donations, and administered in partnership with Bernards Township Education Foundation. Ridge AMS contributions are tax-deductible. The Bernards Township Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organization focused on program development and process management for public education, community outreach, and leadership formation.
Copyright © 2011 Ridge PTO Monthly.
May 18, 2009
An anonymous donor to Ridge AMS sponsored this tee marker at the 2009 (and subsequent) Ridge High School Golf Classic event, presented by the Ridge Sports Foundation. The marker urges support for Ridge AMS. Ridge AMS continues to devote 100% of donations and earnings to grants for students and to building its endowment for future recipients.
Bozzi to receive Ridge Alumni scholarship
May 15, 2009 7:11 AM EST
BERNARDS TWP. - Ridge High School senior Caroline Bozzi has been named the recipient of the 2009 Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship (Ridge AMS), a $4,000 award that continues a tradition launched in 2008.
“Caroline’s essay was a great match for our selection criteria,” said Carol Mason Schoenig, a founding member of Ridge AMS. “She’s handled difficult challenges with courage and optimism, and that’s exactly what this award is about.”
Copyright © 2009 The Bernardsville News.
New "Non-Traditional" $1000 Scholarship for RHS '08 Grad Announced and then Doubled to $2000
Vol. 4 No. 4, January 2008.
BERNARDS TWP. – For some Ridge High alumni, high school friendships never die. In November, members of the Class of 1967 honored Ridge friends who have passed away by launching the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship (Ridge AMS), and "erecting" a Virtual Memorial.
So generous were donors - Ridge alumni from various classes as well as RHS friends - that after just two months, organizers have doubled the first Ridge AMS scholarship from $1,000 to $2,000. Future awards will depend on contributions and earnings. The Ridge AMS scholarship is unusual in that it rewards a graduating RHS senior for character, determination and non-traditional achievements, rather than GPA and test scores. While grants may go to college-bound students, they could also help high caliber applicants pursue the arts or non-academic endeavors after graduation. Funded by donations and administered in partnership with the Bernards Township Education Foundation, contributors can post messages of remembrance on the Ridge AMS "Virtual Memorial" at http://sites/google.com/site/ridgeams2.
The scholarship fund began as a memorial to John Peterson, RHS '67. Less than two years after graduating, Peterson was killed in Vietnam. "He died before his potential could be realized," notes Ed Lincoln, an Ridge AMS founder and Class of 1967 valedictorian. "John was a great guy who should have had a wonderful future. We owe him." Peterson was admired for his warmth, optimism and perseverance, and for overcoming hardships to tackle life with joy. Classmates decided to make his virtues - determination and nontraditional achievements - the criteria for scholarship recipients. "What John had was character," says Lincoln. "That's what this scholarship will reward."
"We also wanted to recognize other Ridge friends who are gone," says Carol Mason Schoenig, another Ridge AMS founder and 1967 class president. "We were surprised to find there was no award like this. Reaching out to the Ridge community, we've been deeply touched by the outpouring of support and affection for alumni who have passed away. We hope this year, and in years to come, we can make a significant difference in the future of a Ridge graduate who demonstrates the kind of character John had."
Parents, alumni and friends of Ridge High can visit http://sites.google.com/site/ridgeams2/. The website's Virtual Memorial is filled with thoughts and remembrances of donors about classmates and teachers who have passed away. "In the first two months, three dozen messages were posted," observes Chris Sullivan, Ridge AMS founder and 1967 Student Council President. "Entries range from humorous to touching and poignant. These are people we grew up with," adds Sullivan, who developed the web site. "We all have a story to tell about them."
Ridge seniors interested in this scholarship can learn more at the website, or from their guidance counselors. The Ridge Guidance staff will recommend scholarship winners, who will be confirmed by a Ridge AMS committee.
Organizers donate all expenses associated with Ridge AMS, including legal counsel, website development, logo design, and brochure production and mailing. One-hundred percent of donations go to scholarships.
Ridge AMS's partner, the Bernards Township Education Foundation, is a not-for-profit organization focused on program development and process management for public education, community outreach, and leadership formation.
Copyright © 2008 The Ridge Bridge.
Ridge High alum launch memorial scholarship
BERNARDS TWP. – At the 40th anniversary reunion of the Ridge High Class of 1967 on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Olde Mill Inn, alumni did much more than reminisce about the old days.
Copyright © 2007 The Bernardsville News.
|Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship Contact:: RidgeAMS@gmail.com|