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Belleville Students Awarded Scholarships

More than 80 separate scholarships totaling more than $65,000 presented to Belleville High School students at the high school's Connie Francis Theatre.

Nearly 70 separate civic groups, families and individuals handed out more than $60,000 in college scholarships earlier this month.

The 35th Senior Awards Ceremony was presented by the Belleville Student Personnel Services Department June 7 at the High School's Connie Francie Theatre.

For a complete list of scholarships and winners, see the attached pdf. Patch will feature some of the winners and their college and career plans as the 2012 class approaches graduation, with Commencement set for June 20.

Barbara Correnti, director of Student Personnel Services, described the program's purpose.

"By providing financial support, all who are giving scholarships tonight are helping to shape the foundation of students' lives," Correnti said.

She gave a list of the colleges that seniors will attend, from state universities and community colleges to the Ivy League and points throughout the United States.

Each award came with a story. 

Marie Strumolo Burke, and Angela Cuozzo-Zarro presented two $500 scholarships as part of the Silver Lake Civic Association. Burke, Belleville's First Ward councilwoman said the civic group has been helping students for parts of the last three decades, and told the students, "to do your very best." 

Former Mayor and School Board President Angie Paserchia presented several scholarships on behalf of her late son, Carl, who died from a drug overdose, and her late husband, Angelo. She urged the students to "be the best you can be." Paserchia's scholarship program has given out more than $150,000 throughout the years, according to Paserchia.

Richard Yanuzzi and Lisa Kistner helped present the Athletic Advisory Council Scholarships. Yanuzzi said the advisory council has focused more on fund raising in the past three years, and the amount given has gone from four, $250 scholarships three years ago, to four, $500 scholarships two years ago and now four $1,000 scholarships this year.

The announcement drew applause from the packed auditorium. 

Grace Constantio presented the Charles J. Cuozzo Memorial Scholarship, named for a Belleville High School graduate who worked as a hair stylist for more than 40 years. Rita Charles and Angela Cuozzo-Zarro presented the Kenneth R. Zarro Memorial Scholarship, named for a 1963 BHS graduate who ran an accounting firm in Belleville. 

Steve Rovell presented several awards, including the Belleville Foundation Grant, The Belleville Unico Frank M. Garruto Memorial Scholarship, the Nicholas Martini Memorial Scholarship, and the Brian Piccolo Award.

The Piccolo Award is named for the late Chicago Bears halfback whose courage was chronicled in the 1970s movie, "Brian's Song," and went to both the young man and woman who best exemplifies the spirit, determination and accomplishments of Piccolo, Rovell said.

Charles Hood presented the Mary Lou Hood Memorial Scholarship, named for his mother, the longtime Belleville Township Clerk.

Kelly Cavanaugh and her family presented the Kathleen Nash Memorial Scholarship.

Both the Hood and Cavanaugh scholarships fell under the larger umbrella of the Kevin Kennedy Civic Association Scholarships, named for the At-large councilman, who raises funds each year through a pancake breakfast and other activities on behalf of his family.

Eleanor Strollo presented the Belleville High School Class of 1946 Class Reunion Scholarship. Strollo and her group recently celebrated the 65th anniversary of the class of 1946.

Carole Casale presented five scholarships on behalf of the Belleville Women's Club. The club was organized in 1916 and sponsors several young women in many programs.

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