Allentown-West Rotary awards scholarships
The Allentown-West Rotary awarded nine $1,000 scholarships to students from Northwestern Lehigh and Parkland high schools, Lehigh Career and Technical Institute and Lehigh Carbon Community College May 16 at the Rotary’s scholarship breakfast at LCCC.
A very special $500 scholarship in memory of Rotarian Michael Henry was also awarded.
Students applied for these scholarships by completing a new online application requiring general information including academic performance and paragraphs describing school and community service involvement, leadership skills, and future career goals.
Service and leadership were the twin characteristics which formed the basis of the selection process along with a strong academic record.
The scholarship selection committee met and reviewed the 40 applications.
The selection committee members included Amir Famili, Gwenn Carr, Cindy Rosevelt and Jerry Frank.
Dr. Barbara Kistler served as chairwoman.
Jeff Wilner, general manager at Amazon.com, Breiningsville, and the Human Resources Manager Mary Singer presented each of the winners with a Kindle Fire, compliments of Amazon.com.
Lehigh Carbon Community College winners were Aldaine Alphonse and Alyssa Smith.
College representatives included Transfer Counselor Ginny Mihalik, Vice President for Academic Services and Student Development Dr. Tom Meyer and Student Affairs Director Gene Eden.
Alphonse, who came to the United States in 2016 from Haiti, pursued a business Associate degree from LCCC.
Although academic life at first was very challenging — particularly overcoming language barriers — she overcame many of difficulties by using resources available to her and developing a strict study schedule.
Alphonse used LCCC’s tutoring center and her strong work ethic helped her achieve a 3.6 grade-point average.
She also joined organizations including Student Government, Business Club, Psychology Club and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, for which she serves as treasurer.
Alphonse helped develop a payment plan for low-income students wanting to be part of PTK and also joined the American Red Cross as a home fire volunteer.
She not only installs fire alarms but teaches fire safety procedures.
Alphonse will be attending Bucknell University majoring in business.
Smith, a leader at LCCC, participated in a commercial for the college.
She is an officer in the various organizations of which she is a member.
In Phi Theta Kappa, she organized a group to run in a 5K supporting the Truth for Women home for victims of sexual violence.
She has completed a criminal justice degree and she has already worked for the assistant district attorney in Carbon County, helping clients navigate the legal system before trials.
Smith volunteers giving prospective students tours at LCCC and has served as a student spokesperson.
Smith will attend Cedar Crest College majoring in criminal justice.
Lehigh Career and Technical Institute student winner was Alya Wezza, whose home school is Parkland High School.
LCTI was represented by Dr. Mark Covelle, newly named academic center principal.
Wezza, who is part of the Emerging Health Professionals program at LCTI, helped raise nearly $238,000 in total for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
She, herself, raised more than $10,000.
Wezza has been involved with many clubs at Parkland High School including Key Club and Leo Club and Rotary’s Interact Club.
All of these clubs provide students with opportunities to serve others.
She also volunteers at Country Meadows where she organizes bingo nights and gets to know the residents who live in the retirement community.
She participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters, seeing her “little sister” once a week, helping her with assignments and reading to her.
Wezza will attend Moravian College in the fall.
Parkland student winners were Habeeb Salau and Garima Patel.
Parkland High School Assistant Principal Jude Sandt represented the school.
Patel and Salau are active Parkland Interact Club students, who monthly assist with the Snack Pack program at the school.
Salau, who is current president of the Interact Club.
Besides serving as president of the Interact Club, Salau is captain of the Parkland’s Varsity Debate Team, which won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Debate championship earlier this year.
He is also captain of the varsity track team and was on the 1600 meter team that set a league record and qualified for states.
Salau started his own SAT prep class.
He recognized there were students who were disadvantaged and were trying acclimate themselves to an American culture.
He contacted a community center where he could get a room on Saturday mornings and he started with three students coming to his free SAT prep class.
Since then his class has mushroomed to 15.
His first batch of students took the SATs for the first time March 10.
Salau is going to MIT majoring in chemical engineering.
Patel is a member of Key Club, Math Internship, National Honor Society and Club Med, where she participates in all their service opportunities.
She volunteers at Country Meadows and Cedarbrook nursing homes through the Emerging Health Program and also helps out at her temple by cleaning and assisting in major celebrations staying up all night making food and decorating.
Patel leads youth sessions at her temple every Saturday, reading and discussing religious teachings.
She has been a camp counselor for her temple for more than five years.
Patel is the first in her immediate family to be born and raised in America.
Her parents sacrificed both professionally and economically by coming to America from India to give their future children a better life.
Patel would eventually like to become a doctor studying at the University of Pittsburgh.
Mike Henry was a beloved Rotarian who died on April 27.
Funds given in his memory were designated to be used for a scholarship. Henry believed in service above self.
This year’s Michael Henry Scholarship Award winner was RJ Corba.
Corba has been a Student of the Month at Parkland and has participated in the Interact Club.
He helped found the Bikes for Tykes service project last year.
He serves as an officer of the National Honor Society and is a student representative on Parkland’s Community Advisory Commission to the assistant superintendent.
He is a member of Math Honor Society and English Honor Society as well as the National Honor Society.
At Parkland, he has played three different sports lacrosse, volleyball and golf.
He is in the engineering track and loves math and science taking several AP courses in each.
He placed second in the state with his science fair project.
RJ plans to attend Hamilton College and play lacrosse.
The program concluded with singing of one verse of “America the Beautiful,” saluting the flag and reciting the Club motto, “one profits most who serves best.”