The Danny A. Robertozzi Superintendent Scholarship Fund gave out scholarships of $1,500 each to 10 top students at Linden High School. In total, $100,000 of scholarships were distributed at the annual LHS awards program. From left are Superintendent Scholarship Chairman Theodore Simonelli, recipients Piotr Zelazny, Love Desrosiers, Darius Lewis, Austin Urban, Brooke Beyer, Jaclyn Beviano, Ariana Eastwood, Siarrah Myers, and Daniel Lopez, and Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. Not pictured is recipient Asia Todd.
By Gary Miller
A $1,000 scholarship awarded in 1993 to a Linden High School senior named Danny Robertozzi is still paying dividends to LHS students today.
Robertozzi, now the superintendent of Linden Public Schools, had been selected to receive the Kenneth Hetem Memorial Scholarship, given to a lineman on the LHS football team with top grades.
“I was a student sitting in the audience on scholarship night, and I remember one of the speakers saying, ‘If you ever have the opportunity to come back to your community and give back, please make sure you do,’ ” Robertozzi said.
Those words stuck with him until the day he became superintendent in 2013, when he decided it was time to pay his scholarship forward.
He enlisted the help of his former high school guidance counselor Theodore Simonelli in creating the Danny A. Robertozzi Superintendent Scholarship Fund. In the first year, the fund paid out one $500 scholarship.
At this year’s LHS Scholarship Awards Program on Monday, May 13, Robertozzi announced that the fund will hand out $1,500 scholarships to 10 students, and was met with a roar of applause.
The seniors chosen to receive the awards this year are Jaclyn Beviano, Austin Urban, Brooke Beyer, Love Desrosiers, Ariana Eastwood, Darius Lewis, Daniel Lopez, Siarrah Myers, Asia Todd and Piotr Zelazny.
“Some of the finest kids in Linden High School,” Simonelli said.
The Superintendent’s Scholarships are supported solely through private donations. A fundraising dinner has been held for the past two years at Amici’s Restaurant, bringing together people from throughout the district and community to support the fund through ticket sales and raffles.
The recipients are chosen by a committee headed by Simonelli, based on an application and essay.
Robertozzi dedicates the scholarship to his parents, Nan and Tony Robertozzi, who he lost to illness a year apart while he was in college. In fact, the criteria for selection were inspired by his parents. Students are chosen for outstanding character or a pursuit of a career in education.
“I do it in the memory of my mom for character because my mom was the nicest person ever in the history of the world,” he said. “And she always told me to do the right thing.
“And my dad worked hard. He worked in a chemical factory for 30 years and never missed a day of work.
“So they taught me that through good character and hard work, you’ll always be successful.”
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The Superintendent’s Scholarships were awarded at Linden High School’s annual awards night, where $100,000 of scholarship were distributed.
“We celebrate the achievement of our students,” Principal Yelena Horré said in opening remarks to the crowded auditorium. “We give them accolades and a little bit more, and then send them off into the world knowing that we believe in them, the community believes in them. Congratulations to all the students and thank you to all the community members who support us.”
Board of Education President Gregory R. Martucci told the students that the scholarships will help them start off the road to success.
“Congratulation to all the seniors who are going to receive some great awards this evening,” he said. “After graduation, I wish you the best with all the bridges you will cross over in your lifetime and with the decisions you will have to make. I’m sure this is the first step of achieving many goals that you will set for yourself.”
The night was put together by school counselor Laurie Juliano, scholarship coordinator.
Here is a full list of the scholarship winners (names are not listed in order pictured):
DANNY A. ROBERTOZZI SUPERINTENDENT SCHOLARSHIPS
Jaclyn Beviano, Austin Urban, Brooke Beyer, Love Desrosiers, Ariana Eastwood, Darius Lewis, Daniel Lopez, Siarrah Myers, Asia Todd, Piotr Zelazny
LHS SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS & SUPERVISORS A.R. TARANTO SCHOLARSHIP
L.H.S.CLASS OF 1965 SCHOLARSHIP
ARMSTEAD SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Ricard Charles, Love Desrosiers, Ariana Eastwood, Hanan Hamilton, Darius Lewis, Siarrah Myers, Allan Pierre, Katrina Remo, Brielle Smalls, Courtney Theodule, Malia Timmons, Janai Williams
George Dorin Memorial: Lerany Jimenez, Gilbert Nolasco
NJROTC Distinguished Cadet Scholarship: Jaclyn Beviano
American Red Cross NJROTC Scholarship: Love Desrosiers
Vietnam Veterans Chapter 779 Dee & Linda Villani Memorial Scholarship: Gladalise Mendez, Shakirah Brown Roberts
American Legion NJROTC Scholarship: Melanie Churampi
Catholic War Veterans: Melanie Vargas
Veterans Of Foreign Wars NJROTC Scholarship: Jade Rich
NJROTC Parent Booster Club: Ariana Eastwood
ZHIYU (JIMMY) HU CHINESE SCHOLARSHIP
GATEWAY REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Katie Jean Baptiste, Ricard Charles, Asia Todd, Darius Olivo
KIWANIS CLUB OF LINDEN
Maurice Rakhin Award: Allan Pierre
Morris Raiffe Award: Ariana Eastwood
Chester Lobrow Award: Piotr Zelazny
Marilyn Zitomer Award: Erick Reyes
Janai Williams, Siarrah Myers, Melanie Churampi, Yasmeen Canty
KENNETH HETEM MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
VIDA EVANS NOGI AND LESLIE NOGI LUMINATI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
EDITH MacCORMACK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
WILLIAM TREUCHTLINGER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Hanan Hamilton, Daniel Lopez
HELEN MADEY SCHOLARSHIP
THE POLISH & SLAVIC CREDIT UNION
MARY KAY WANCHIK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
NJTESOL/NJBE RAQUEL SINAI NEWCOMER AWARD
VANDERVENTER SCHOLARSHIP FUND OF THE PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION
WILLIAM H. FELLER & EDNA B. FELLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND OF THE PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION
OTTO T. SALZER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FOR EXCELLENCE IN CHEMISTRY FUND
LINDEN HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH TEACHERS’ AWARD
SPANISH NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY
Maryam Elweshahy, Janai Williams
Katherine Polo, Diane Lopez
CHINESE NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY
UNION COUNTY CLUB’S MURIAL INGRAM SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
MARINE CORPS AWARDS
Distinguished Athlete Award: Brooke Beyer
Distinguished Athlete Award: Christopher Banks
Scholastic Excellence Award: Muhsin Khan
Semper Fidelis Award For Musical Excellence: Jade Rich