On Thursday, May 17, Fort Hamilton High School hosted the recipients of the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship.
Former Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) president and Fort Hamilton High School math teacher David Whitebook and BRCC member Barbara Vellucci presented the awards to the students.
Whitebook was recently recognized by the BRCC for his community service and illustrious teaching career, which spanned from 1966 to 1990.
Civic leaders attending included BRCC president Ralph Succar, 96-year-old BRCC member Jane Kelly and Fort Hamilton High School Principal Kaye Houlihan.
The Kassenbrock fund honors the memory of Walter and Vincent Kassenbrock, two community leaders who founded the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) in 1951. Since its creation in 1972, the scholarship has awarded Bay Ridge students for their work in the community, academic excellence and leadership.
The BRCC is composed of prominent civic, business and religious groups in the areas of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
“We, the trustees of the Kassenbrock Fund truly believe that these students exemplify all that is good on our community,” Vellucci told this paper. “Their volunteer work in so many diversified charities shows that with encouragement, family support and recognition from the community there is great hope in our future as a society.”
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have good grades and be able to document their community service. Students have been awarded Kassenbrock money for cleaning up local parks, volunteering at hospitals and nursing homes, tutoring, organizing blood drives and conducting graffiti removal projects.
The fund, which is operated by a board of trustees, handed out 16 scholarships this year ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
The winners of this year’s scholarships were Sarah White (Marymount High School), Ari Paloumbis (Xavier High School), Evangelos Eleftheriadis (Fort Hamilton High School), Anastasia Stavropoulos (Fort Hamilton), Samantha Stavropoulos (Fort Hamilton), Kari Larsen (Fort Hamilton), Victoria Rushtlion (Fort Hamilton), Mark Hachicho (Fort Hamilton), Jana Taoube (Fort Hamilton), Christine Kuang (Fort Hamilton), Lemonia Tzanides (Fort Hamilton), Maria Pondikos (Staten Island Tech), Amber Chau (Fort Hamilton), Kerry Daly (Fort Hamilton), Sabrina Geller (Fontbonne Hall Academy) and Kaylene Ris (Fontbonne Hall).
Pondikos earned her community service volunteering at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and Holy Cross Greek School. “I want to teach others about my passion for my culture and I also want to run a political campaign on Staten Island,” she said.
Kuang, who volunteers at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn told this paper, “We all volunteer because we all have a part and I know that each and every student here tonight will continue doing work here in the community even after they go on to college.”