Scholarship Recipients

2018 Scholarship Recipients

 

Six outstanding local high school seniors were honored in June 2018 at Community Crossroads in Atkinson, NH.  Each graduate was presented with a $750.00 scholarship.  These outstanding young leaders achieved positive change that resulted in a more welcoming and accessible community for people of all abilities. The honored recipients included John Bucciero and Kaitlyn Wilson from Salem High School, Molly Antkowiak from Timberlane Regional High, Angela Garozzo from Pelham High School, Katarina Stasinos from Sanborn Regional High, and Sofie Chirichiello from Pinkerton Academy.

Molly Anthkowiak


She had never thought about hanging out and getting to know peers who experienced intellectual and physical disabilities until getting involved with her high school’s Best Buddies program.   To her surprise these peers taught her important life lessons about accepting your differences and not worrying about what other people think, learning to overcome challenges, and facing your fears, etc.  While learning was a two way street one of students she got to know well experienced Autism and it was him that encouraged her to find the courage to do public speaking and take a leadership role as Vice President of the organization.    Given this deeply rewarding experience Molly has decided to pursue a degree in Special Education and as a teacher so that entire school communities can see the talents and abilities students with disabilities have to offer.  She will also intends to establish more unified sports opportunities so that every kid can achieve a sense of belonging in their school community and beyond!

John Bucciero


Promoting inclusion at school, on the job, and in the community is a passion for John.  Upon first joining Salem’s Special Olympics back in 2012 he wasn’t sure what to expect, but his connection with his peers grew and he enjoyed playing and sharing his passion for basketball, soccer and track and field.  While working closely with a student who could not speak he began to understand the other ways in which he communicated and they became permanent partners.  This connection and experience fueled his passion to support meaningful inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities at his school where he joined his school Best Buddies Club and served as Vice President and developed long lasting friendships and promoted an inclusive educational and social climate.  John served in a variety other community service organizations, distinguished himself academically in the National Honor Society, and plans on pursuing a degree in Special Education to assist students with disabilities achieve their greatest academic potential, develop meaningful social connections and be as independent as possible.

Sofie Chirichiello

The determination of the human spirit is a powerful thing.  Sofie’s involvement with a school bowling team made up of students with disabilities helped her discover her passion for recreational therapy and the importance for everyone to enjoy recreational sports and activities.  The students shared a passion and excitement for bowling regardless of their challenges.  With modifications and/or accommodations no matter the ability everyone can and should have these opportunities.   Sofie also learned that we all have power to choose to respond in a positive way to challenges in life and rise above them.  She plans to earn a degree in Recreational Therapy to directly impact kids in her community.  Her goal is to learn how to accommodate the needs of all students with disabilities so they can have the same access and opportunities in school and local sports programs and grow to be happy and healthy members of the community!

Angela Garozzo

Serving as a volunteer to mentor and provide academic support to elementary students with disabilities opened Angela’s eyes to unique challenges and contributions everyone experiences.   It was both a pleasure and challenge supporting a variety of children with diverse physical and emotional needs.  Angela learned quickly to take cues from the kids and approach the students with compassion and patience.  Along the way they shared lots of laughter and watching them learn and develop confidence was truly rewarding.   Over this time Angela also became keenly aware of current social justice issues in her community and nation around inequality particularly how it impacts people with disabilities, who she felt are often marginalized and ignored.  She participated in marches to protest inequality and also lead a school group to organize students around other issues.  Angela plans to pursue a degree in Political Science so she can become more involved with social justice issues and become a civic leader to help ensure all voices are heard and to promote awareness and social acceptance of all people including people who experience disabilities.

Katarina Stasinos

From the time she can remember Katerina always had a sense she was unique and different.  Her interests were different and she responded differently in different situations.  She was sensitive to loud noises, easily frustrated, and rarely spoke or cried.  By age three she was diagnosed with Autism and began therapy to help her learn how to express herself.  It was during high school where Katarnia gained more independence and learned to speak up as a self-advocate.   Katarina has been inducted into two honor societies and has demonstrated a high level of academic achievement despite experiencing and working hard to overcome a learning disability.  While having Autism has brought many challenges, learning to navigate around them has helped Karaina discover her core values, creativity, and independence.   She plans to earn a degree in Psychology and research Autism Spectrum disorder in hopes of finding a cure for Autism.

Kaitlyn Wilson


Keenly aware of the discrimination and isolation people with developmental and intellectual disabilities often face in society Kaitlyn has been dedicated to volunteering her time at school and in the community to remove barriers and support meaningful social and recreational opportunities for students of all abilities.  She established a Best Buddies club at Salem High and also served as President to help foster genuine friendships between students with and without disabilities and attended the international leadership conference multiple years.  During Kaitlyn’s extensive involvement with TOP Soccer, an adaptive youth soccer program in Salem NH, she mentored students with disabilities and shared her skills and passion for soccer.   Her support of Special Olympics NH has also helped raise funds to provide year-round adaptive sports training.  Next fall she will pursue a degree in Education at Keene State College where she will continue advocate for people who experience developmental and intellectual disabilities.

40

-number of consecutive interagency collaborative trainings between Community Crossroads and Center for Life Management.