2005-01-14 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter Cardinal Eagan Promotes Scholarships

With Beverly Baxter
Cardinal Eagan Promotes Scholarships

BEVERLY BAXTERBEVERLY BAXTER For many Rockaway parents, raising children in today’s society is all too often daunting task. There are a confluence of negative forces that interfere and impede with a parent’s particular wishes and standards for their child’s educational needs. To make matters worse, there is little support from an education system that has been in a state of shambles for many years. 

Most poignant in this most recent political election cycle was the issue of morality, faith, and family values. In fact, more important than terrorism, the economy, or the war in Iraq, it was the issue that defined, and ultimately, drove the campaign.

Since there is a growing sentiment among many parents who view the public education system as adversarial in their struggle to raise their children, more and more parents opt for alternative parochial or private school settings.

However, if you are a parent of four school-aged children, funding their parochial or private school education could seem nearly impossible...but there is help out there. 

I recently attended a holiday cocktail party at Ponte’s restaurant hosted by Cardinal Eagan and the Tri-State Italian American Congress. Celebrating its second year, scholarships based on academic performance and financial need were awarded to twenty-five students of Italian-American heritage who attend Catholic elementary and high schools within the archdiocese. Four students from within our area (three from John Adams and one from Howard Beach) received awards. High school students receive $4000 and elementary winners earn $2000. To be eligible, students must be of Italian-American heritage, demonstrate academic excellence, and have a dire financial need for the assistance. Although it is unusual, families with more than one winner, share the award. 

 The archdiocese contacts the parochial schools directly to solicit recipients. The scholarship program was founded by a core group of business leaders. They are movers and shakers within their chosen professions who through educational philanthropy have made a significant difference in children’s lives. I am honored to have been befriended by one such man, George Greco, who is a founding member of Tri-State’s board of directors. Other dignitaries of the organization include former United States Senator Alphonse D’Amato and John Palladino who serve as Honorary Chairman. The alliance between Tri-State and the archdiocese was formed many years ago when the Honorable Judge Louis J. Fusco, who serves as Chairman, first met his eminence Cardinal Eagan when was still a Bishop in Bridgeport Connecticut and brought him into the organization. Through fundraising events such as their annual dinner dance and golf-outing, as well as through private and business donations (White Rose Foods has been a primary underwriter), theTri-State Italian-American Congress has awarded over one hundred-twenty thousand dollars in academic scholarships during this past year alone. For more information about this worthwhile organization, contact George Greco or your parochial school administrator. 

***On behalf of the Rockaway Homeowners and Residents Association and its board of directors, I extend our sincere appreciation to the following people and businesses that helped make our holiday party such an enormous success. They are: The Harbor Light, Danielle’s Florist, Jameson’s Pub, Curran’s, East Meets West, Plum Tomato’s, Blockbuster Video, Belle Harbor Steak House, Sunset Diner, Dragon’s Den, Paper Panda, Country Nails, Rockaway Perfume Shop, The Gift is Love, Artist Geoff Rawling, the Lenihan family, Edward Re, and Bernie Warnock. Thank you again and again for your generosity!

***Special belated  birthday wishes to a very special lady, Teresa Baxter.

***See you...at our annual Hearts and Shamrocks dance at St. Camilus on Sunday January 23, from 4-8pm. to benefit our St. Patrick’s Day Parade!     

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