Four students from Point Pleasant Borough High School and one student from Point Pleasant Beach High School were among 140 Shore-area students who received scholarships from the OceanFirst Foundation.
Borough graduates Sara Brendel, Alicia Capezio, Jessica Kinsley and Sara Romassa and Beach graduate Tyler Sartori were among those honored at a foundation banquet at Doolan's Shore Club in Spring Lake Heights on Tuesday night.
Last year, the OceanFirst Foundation decided to give back to the community of high school graduates through the creation of a scholarship program. This year, the foundation again awarded scholarships.
On Tuesday night, 140 shore-area students attending Brookdale Community College, Georgian Court University, Monmouth University and Ocean County College gathered at Doolan’s to receive a combined $200,000 in college scholarships.
The $200,000 scholarship program is a partnership between OceanFirst Foundation, and the participating colleges, according to John R. Garbarino, Chairman of OceanFirst Foundation and Chief Executive of OceanFirst Bank.
The foundation awarded each college with a $50,000 grant to provide scholarship assistance to recent graduates from local high schools. The recipients attending community college each received $1,000 awards and the university students received $2,500 awards.
“This year we have 40 $2,500 scholarships and 100 $1,000 scholarships,” Garbarino said. “We let the colleges make the selection [of students.] The only thing we ask is that they’re local, shore-area high school students.”
It was a night to remember as students and their family members gathered in the banquet hall of the Route 71 venue. Tables were divided by colleges and universities, with hopes to create some friendships before the school year starts, Garbarino explained.
“We get the kids to sit together, so hopefully they’ll strike up a conversation and meet some incoming freshmen,” Garbarino said.
As the new graduates enjoyed dinner with parents, siblings and family members, they expressed their excitement for the fall, and looked forward to beginning their future.
In the banquet hall, Shannon sat with Nicole Way, Jackson, and her family, a fellow upcoming Georgian Court freshman. Nicole graduated from Jackson Liberty High School this month.
“I plan to study graphic design and advertising,” Nicole said Tuesday. “I have heard a lot of great things about the school. [I heard] that the girls are really nice and the faculty is nice, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
At one of the Ocean County College’s tables, Jackson’s Madison Schaefer and Mantoloking’s Anthony Reale enjoyed the dinner.
Madison graduated from the Performing Arts Academy and will continue to Ocean County College to study liberal arts.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and not being in high school anymore,” Madison said.
Anthony will study criminal justice in the fall, after moving on from Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch. Anthony looks forward to “finding out my career,” he said.
“It’s nice to invite the kids and their parents here tonight,” Garbarino said. “This is a great experience for the students, and we have a great turnout.”
Katherine Durante, foundation executive director, put together bags for each student to take home. They included items such as sweatshirts from their future schools.
“Every year about $1.5 million goes back to the community,” Garbarino said. “We put money toward performing arts, hospitals and more, and we wanted to establish this scholarship program as part of our contribution.
“We are a local institute and this reflects our company well,” he continued. “I think it’s important to give back to the community and hopefully one day these students will be our customers.”
The other Ocean County graduates that received OceanFirst Foundation scholarships are:
Brick Memorial High School: Pamela Cousoulis, Staci Laubauskas, Nicole Perry, Justin Roselli, Mark Torlucci, Christine Wersinger and Alex Zytko
Brick Township High School: Nicolette Columbus, David Goldsmith, Mark Mohwinkle and Sean Templeton
Calvary Academy: Rebecca Santos
Central Regional High School: Mitchell Albanese, Stephan D’Amato, Taryn DeFreitas, Theresa Firetto, Sara Moran, Danielle Neividomski, Chelsea Sikora and Daniel Vivanco
Jackson Liberty High School: Jenny Hulse, Brittany Kaminski, Mantas Lukosius, Alexis Pollina, Kisha Rayner and Nicole Way
Lacey Township High School: Nicholas Gardner, Stephen Lapsley, Leanna McGann, Michele Suchar and Rosina Valeri
Lakewood High School: Lesia Didukh, Tyler Floyd and Shannon Lafortezza
Manchester Township High School: Amanda Demauro, Kristi Cannella, Sarah Kelshaw, Shannon Lightbody, Jeffrey Marchlewski, Kathryn Robbins, Kristen Smith and Ariana Tepedino
Monsignor Donovan High School: Alexa Anderson
Ocean County Vocational Performing Arts: Madison Schaefer
Pinelands Regional High School: Christine Garbaravage, Kyle Honey, Megan Honey, William Prata, Allyson Principato and Kelly Sesta
Southern Regional High School: Jenna Anderson, Ashley Brierley, Courtney Cardinali, Brandon Cruse, Benjamin Davis, Marrisa Duke, Thomas Durborow, Christina Luell, Nancy Rahner, Anthony Realse, Jeffrey Wisniewski
Toms River High School East: Nicholas Ford, Samantha Schultz and Erik Zingler
Toms River High School North: Alexandra FIlippone, Steven Grant, Francis Jasinski, Melissa Quinn, Nicole Rapolla, Lisa Sheremet, Holly Straube and Jennifer Weingarten
Toms River High School South: Kristine Blanco, Emily Famularo, Kyra Kosh, Kerveens Moly and Raymond Newman
The Monmouth Country graduates that received OceanFirst Foundation scholarships are:
Allentown High School: Kimberly Gellman, Adam Levinson, Rachel McGarvey and Samantha Sloane
Coller High School: Matthew Schnitzer
Colts Neck High School: Lisamarie Mercogliano
Communications High School: Michael Burke
Freehold Borough High School: Maria Sulinski and Shannon Tull
Freehold Township High School: Morgan Abrams, Nicole Andre, Kristina Gallucio, Mark Graf, Alyssa Granato, Allrich Jean, Danielle Marzilla, Jenna Methven, Rosalia Musto, Ronald Rucinski, Logan Ryan and Megan O’Shea
Howell High School: Toni Ann DiPasquale, Harrison Forsyth, Kristen Gouge, Mathew Langenberger, Alexandra Palumbo, Tyler Skrobacz, Amanda Spengler, Bianca Valentini, Dana-Lynn Waggner and Erica Bertinelli
Kiva High School: Andrew Simmons
Manalapan High School: Gabrielle Dolgin, Dmitriy Kozorezov and Megan Meyer
Marlboro High School: Garrett Bargiacchi
Matawan Regional High School: Steven Caldwell and Lauren Caruso
Raritan High School: Frank Brock
St. John Vianney High School: Erin Doyle
Saint Rose High School: Teshia Alston
Wall High School: Petros Dimitroulakos, Alexis Coussouis, Daniel Renna and Erica Jane Tenpenny
Monroe Township High School: Michael Steele and RaeAnne Vellucci