Annual Santora Scholarship Dinner Dance Held
The program provides more than $60,000 in scholarships each year to firefighters and public school students who seek higher education.
This year, the fund awarded six college scholarships of $8,000 apiece, two half scholarships of $4,000 and a one-time gift of $1,000. Additionally, two $200 savings bonds to elementary school winners and four $300 savings bonds to four middle school winners were also awarded.
The evening began with the showing of a short film about 9/11 and the impact that the loss of Christopher has played in the life of his mother and father. The film was made by a recipient of a scholarship last year, Edwin de Jesus, and was chosen to appear at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Following the film, Christopher’s parents Alexander and Maureen Santora presented the scholarships to local public school students. The awards are given based on an essay contest that students have to write on the topic of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The essays were reviewed by 43 volunteer judges.
“When the essays are submitted the youngsters’ identification is removed before it goes to the judges,” Maureen explains. “The judges don’t know who wrote them, what their ethnicity is or whether they were written by a boy or girl.”
This year’s recipients included School Scholarship winners Eden Lefebvre of P.S. 2, Izzabelle Ross of P.S. 122, Karina Cadena of I.S. 10, Jeremy Gurgis of I.S. 227, Hailey Lam of I.S. 141, Constantine Pougioukildis of Bayside H.S., Simone Wright of Townsend Harris H.S., Molly Doomchin of P.S. 122 and Nabeed Zaman of L.I.C.H.S.
The next three recipients have family members who are active FDNY members and they included Christie Frango, whose father belongs to Engine 260, Ryan Gayer, whose father belongs to Engine 307 and Emily Gallagher, who has family with Battalion 50.
Recipients of the George Crethan and David Smith CCC Award included Imani Wallace of Amalgamted Houses, Allison DeCrescenzo of North Queensview and Joseph Foti of East River Housing.
The Man Of The Year award was presented to FDNY Firefighter Glenn Corbett and a special merit award was given to Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.
“This is an occasion to not only remember our son Christopher but all those who lost their lives on that day and also those who have died while defending our nation,” Alexander Santora, himself a former firefighter, said.