SOUTHINGTON - Over 500 guests filled the Aqua Turf Club Wednesday night, to celebrate the 381 recipients of the Robert T. Kenney Scholarship given by the American Savings Foundation.
“I would like to welcome all of the scholars .... I also, want to welcome the friends, family, siblings, community leaders and past scholars who are here with us to help celebrate tonight,” said Maria Falvo, president and CEO of the American Savings Foundation, as she opened up the program.
The American Savings Foundation is based in New Britain, but invests in 64 communities including Bristol, Plainville, Southington and Newington.
“The foundation responds to need in these communities, primarily through our community grants program and the Robert T. Kenney Scholarship program,” its website states.
The Robert T. Kenney Scholarship program has provided nearly $12 million to almost 2,500 local students to help them with their higher education.
“By working hard in your studies and in your future careers you will help us on our legacy in improving the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Charles Boulier III, chairman of the foundation. “If this is your first year receiving this scholarship don’t forget this is a renewable award and most of our scholars receive funding for all four years of college.”
One of the recipients Wednesday night was Mellany Gomez of New Britain, who was receiving the scholarship for the third time.
“I received it as a high school senior for freshman year (of college) and then for sophomore year, as well,” Gomez said. Gomez is going into her senior year at Ana Maria College as a music therapy major, which uses music in a clinical way to help achieve a physical, behavioral, emotional or mental goal. Music, soccer and community service are huge passions of hers and this scholarship award has helped her financially so she can focus on those interests.
Isahus Maldonado, 19, of New Britain, was also at the event.
“This is my first time receiving this scholarship and I plan on applying for it again,” said Maldonado. “It definitely made me feel happy. I feel accomplished with myself and I was more so happy that my mom, step-dad and everybody were very happy for me and I made them proud,” he said. Maldonado wants to pursue studies in the music industry and ultimately become a producer by doing two years at Capital Community College in Hartford then transferring to Ohio State. The scholarship was the motivation he needed to continue his higher education.
During the event, one of the foundation’s longtime board members, Gregory B. Howey, was remembered. He passed away in late 2018.
At Wednesday’s program, a memorial award was granted in his honor to scholarship recipient Celeste Davis. Howey was a businessman, humanitarian and community leader committed to making the world a better place.