First Generation College Student Awarded Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship

Friday, November 1st, 2019

Compassion and kindness is something is that Kylie Davis strives to exhibit throughout her life.

By Melanie Riehl

First-generation college student Kylie Davis is one of this year’s Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipients. An undergraduate at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), Kylie works 35 hours per week at 3 different jobs to finance her education and make ends meet. Despite juggling her course work and jobs, Kylie still manages to make the time to  participate in community service — a love of hers that stems from childhood.

Dedication to Community Service Instilled at a Young Age

From a young age, Kylie’s parents instilled generosity and empathy in her, dedicating their family to community service. She volunteered with them at a soup kitchen growing up, especially helping out during the winter months where more people in need would come in search of food and warmth. Kylie strongly values her community and shows her gratitude by giving back, saying, “My tie to my community is one of my many drivers. My parents taught me the importance of compassion and kindness and it is now something I strive to exhibit throughout my life, whether it be in the workplace or in my personal life.”

Service Work at CU

Kylie carried her commitment to giving back with her when she began her college career, taking on a role as a peer mentor as well as being a youth counselor for low-income middle school students. As a peer mentor through the Diverse Scholars Program at CU, Kylie guided freshmen through the trials and tribulations of their first year of college. She also helped organize community-building events as well as made significant efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all at CU. As a youth counselor, she taught middle schoolers basic accounting and finance, seeing herself reflected in the students and hoping to set an example for them to look up to. One of her goals is “to inspire and aid the success of others,” which she excelled at in these roles.

Alternative Spring Break to Teach Earth Science to 5th Graders

Kylie’s philanthropic spirit led her to apply for a Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship, where she was given the opportunity to travel outside of Colorado and engage in service work over her one week off from college in the spring. Kylie’s Alternative Spring Break took her to YMCA Camp Campbell in California where she taught earth science to fifth graders.  She was responsible for not only educating these students, but for establishing an engaging and safe environment for them, as the program is part of a sleep-away camp. She reflected on this experience, saying, “It had an incredible impact on me. Each of the ten kids I looked after really made a long-lasting impact on me.” This opportunity took her passion for mentorship to new heights, and she looks back on it fondly, saying, “Each child I spent the week with had such a unique personality, and it was so rewarding to get to know them.”

It is our privilege to reward students like Kylie with scholarships to follow their passion for community service and take part in a unique opportunity they would not otherwise be able to afford.

[Read about some of our past Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients]

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*Melanie Riehl is a sophomore Communications and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. She serves as a Copy Editor on the executive board of Fordham’s student newspaper, The Observer.

Foundation Scholarship Recipient Caroline King Pursues her Passion At Temple University

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

By Heidi Stimac*

Caroline will be entering her sophomore year at Temple University

Casey Feldman Foundation Springfield High School Scholarship Recipient, Caroline King, wasted no time in her first year at Temple University. Passionate about local news and reporting, Caroline and several other Temple students created a student run news organization on campus called What’s The T, which covers stories on Temple sports, world news, and pop culture. Exclaimed Caroline of her involvement in What’s The T, “It has truly been a great experience!”

Caroline’s experience in the SHS broadcast journalism class inspired her career goals

Caroline will soon be entering her sophomore year where she majors in Media Studies and Communication. She hopes to eventually work for a newspaper or TV station to report on local politics. Caroline believes that our society’s inability to agree on facts has caused a political divide in the United States, and hopes that becoming a reporter on local politics will help bridge the divide.

Caroline’s passion for journalism started at Springfield High School (SHS) and helped earn her the Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship in 2018. During her senior year, she was the co-anchor of The Growl and The Cougar Pause, where she helped broadcast student news and accomplishments.

Caroline also has a passion for helping others which is evident from her additional activities while at SHS. She was on the Cougar Service Team for three years where she spent fifteen hours a week participating in community service work throughout the school district. Caroline was a part of Amnesty International which focuses on human rights violations and pardoning those wrongly accused of human rights violations worldwide.  She was selected to be a Peer Facilitator at SHS where she volunteered her time to mentor and support students who were experiencing difficulties inside and outside of school.

Caroline played soccer all four years at SHS

Caroline also worked with the Steve Stefanie Dance Marathon all four years where she served as captain for two of those years, raising thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer care patients. Caroline hopes to continue to play a role in finding a cure for pediatric cancer. “Throughout my middle and high school career, this cause has been front and center in my mind. I have seen the impact that hard work can have in raising money and awareness to this important research,” Caroline says.

While at SHS, Caroline somehow also found the time for sports. Caroline played junior and varsity soccer all four years, received the Coaches award and was co-captain of the team her senior year. She also participated in junior and varsity indoor track during her last two years of high school.

When asked where Caroline sees herself in twenty years, it’s no surprise that she said she hopes to look back on a world where she helped create positive energy, truth, integrity and drive. Caroline is on a mission to “bring integrity, fairness and facts back to reporting.”

Caroline is a well deserving recipient of the 2018 Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship. We can’t wait to see the positive change that she will continue to make into the future!

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*Heidi Stimac is a first-year graduate student at King’s College London studying Emerging Economies and International Development. Originally from Chicago, she recently graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in International Affairs and was the recipient of The Casey Feldman Foundation 2018 PIIE Scholarship. She loves writing, pilates, and snuggling with her cat Oliver.

An Exceptional Student, Jason Breslin Receives the Casey Feldman Foundation Springfield High School Scholarship

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

By Heidi Stimac*

The Casey Feldman Foundation is honored to have awarded this year’s Springfield High School (SHS) Scholarship to an outstanding applicant, Jason Breslin. Jason is a leader, an athlete, has been on the honor roll every semester since 7th grade, has a 4.0 GPA and is gifted in physics and math as well as in the performing arts.

Jason has taken 8 honors classes and 8 AP classes, scoring a 5 on the AP exams in U.S. Government & Politics, Calculus, as well as in Physics, with an outstanding score also in English Language & Composition. He has been a been a teacher’s assistant this past year in AP Calculus. In his spare time, Jason likes to challenge himself with physics questions and math puzzles for the “pure joy” of having the eureka moment when he discovers the answers.

Jason enjoys helping other students find the answers as well. “As an active participant in my classes, peers approach me to ask questions or form study groups,” says Jason. “I always do my best to help them get a better grasp of the material or see if I can offer them a new perspective.”

Jason has received the National Spanish Award 2 years in a row and the John Hopkins Book Award. He is a member of the National Honors Society and the National English Honors Society.

Jason is not all academics however. He is also an accomplished swimmer.  He has been on the Springfield Swim Club Team for 12 years and on the SHS Swim Team for all 4 of his high school years, breaking the SHS record last year in the 200-yard free relay at the district meets. He received the Coaches Award last year and served as Captain of the team this past year.  Summers are spent lifeguarding as well as is part time work during the school year.

Somehow, our exceptional recipient has found the time to also make the performing arts a significant part of his high school experience. Jason has been a member of both the Springfield Singers and the Treble Makers ensembles during his time at SHS. He has performed in 6 musicals and 2 plays at SHS, with principal roles including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as Benjamin, Once Upon A Mattress as King Sextimus the Silent, Antigone as Haemon, Seussical as Mr. Mayor, Junie B. Jones as Herb, and Into The Woods as both the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince.

Time yet for more performances? Outside of school, Jason has also performed in 7 musicals with The St. Francis Players. “Every show I participated in has forced me to develop skills for both on and off stage, from stage presence to practical skills like time management so I could keep up with my course load,” says Jason.

Jason’s time management skills and his desire to assist pediatric cancer patients has also led him to be an active participant in the Steve Stefani Dance Marathon at SHS where he served as Captain of the Rules and Regulations Committee this past year.

Jason plans on continuing his involvement with musical theater at Temple University this fall, as well as audition for a cappella groups. He will be majoring in physics and minoring in math with the goal of ultimately pursuing a career as a theoretical physicist. “Doing research in a field I am really passionate about, working on things that no one else might be considering, that is what I want to do,” says Jason. Inspired by a returning alum of SHS who was a physicist, Jason hopes that one day he too will be able to come back to SHS and encourage others to pursue their true passion.

Wow! To simply say that Jason is an impressive young man is an understatement. We couldn’t imagine a more exceptional student to receive the SHS scholarship that bears Casey’s name than Jason.

Congratulations Jason for receiving the 2019 Casey Feldman Foundation Springfield High School Scholarship. We can’t wait to see what your future holds!

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*Heidi Stimac is a first-year graduate student at King’s College London studying Emerging Economies and International Development. Originally from Chicago, she recently graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in International Affairs and was the recipient of The Casey Feldman Foundation 2018 PIIE Scholarship. She loves writing, pilates, and snuggling with her cat Oliver.

 

 

Foundation Cappies Scholarship Recipient Lionel McCulloch is a Star in Theater and his Community

Monday, July 1st, 2019
 

By Dianne Anderson

WOW! Who could have imagined a more outstanding student to receive the 2019 Casey Feldman Foundation Greater Philadelphia Cappies* Scholarship than Lionel McCulloch of the PA Leadership Charter School’s Center for Performing and Fine Arts (CPFA). The Cappies, an international awards program that trains and recognizes high school theatre and journalism students, has 38 participating high schools in the Philadelphia region. Among the multitude of students recommended for the scholarship, Lionel stood out this year as clearly, the most deserving. 

Lionel with Rachel Wilkin in the Teen Challenge production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown ” at the SRP

Involved in all aspects of theater since the age of four, Lionel has also worked to make theater participation accessible to those less fortunate. He has worked as a summer theater camp counselor at the Steel River Playhouse (SRP) in Pottstown, PA for the past four years and took the lead last summer when he learned that the theater did did not have enough money to provide scholarships for students who could not afford to attend summer camp. He spearheaded the Five Day Teen Challenge Project with the help of his theater friends and produced You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. He publicized, costumed, designed, acted in and directed the show all within a one week period, raising over $2,000 in scholarship money.

Lionel is currently engaged in an effort to involve students in theater who have unique learning abilities. He has been working to help organize a new free community theater in Morgantown, PA at a church near his home. His goal is to accept all students regardless of ability and is looking forward to opening the company with productions this summer.

In the last year alone, Lionel has been involved in a dozen productions at his high school, The Baldwin School and the SRP. He has been an actor, director, assistant director, lighting designer and choreographer. He has worked in tech support and sound design and has been a videographer, photographer and playwright. In addition, Lionel has also been an extremely busy Cappies critic, reviewing a multitude of shows and has been published several times.

Lionel performing as Jimmy Powers in the CPFA’s production of “City of Angels”

His two largest roles this past year were as Henry Higgins in Pygmalian and as Sweeney Todd in the musical, Sweeney Todd at the SRP. Other shows just in the last year at the SRP were Annie Jr. (Asst. Director), The Tempest (Ferdinand), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Kids (Asst. Director), The Phantom Tollbooth (Tech Support) and Seussical (Camp Counselor/Lighting Design).

He played the role of Frog in A Year with Frog and Toad with the Theater For Young Audiences Touring (TYA) production at the SRP as well, in which 1,000 students were able to see the production for free.

In The Baldwin School’s production of Hairspray, he played the role of Edna, was Sound Design Assistant and involved in the choreography of that show as well, with the choreography team receiving the Philadelphia Independence Award for Creative Leadership. The year before at Baldwin, he played the role of Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing and was nominated for a Cappies award for Outstanding Comedic Actor.  

He performed as Alonzo in The Tempest and Jimmy Powers in City of Angels at CPFA, again receiving a Cappies nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.

Lionel (L) as Sweeney Todd and his brother, Tiernan McCulloch, as Judge in “Sweeney Todd” at the SRP

Also a distinguished playwright,  Lionel’s original musical, Making Bacon (a retelling of The Three Little Pigs featuring a vegan wolf who didn’t want to eat the pigs), was produced by The Vagabond Acting Troupe a few seasons ago. Lionel has collaborated as a playwright on several other produced works including Dracula: A Cautionary Tale for Children, and a musical version of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Lionel’s play Quantum Suicide was 2nd place winner in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival in 2018. 

WOW is right! Lionel is headed to West Chester University this fall. Do we even need to guess at what he will choose to study?

 

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*The Foundation began awarding a Cappies in 2011, two years after Casey was tragically killed by a distracted driver. Casey was heavily involved in high school theater and became Springfield High School’s (SHS) first lead critic in 2005.  She was nominated for a Cappie herself for best actress at the 2006 Gala for her role as Gwendolyn Pigeon in SHS’s production of “The Odd Couple. Casey accepted the Cappie that year on behalf of the entire Odd Couple cast, which won the Cappie for best play.  In 2010, Casey was awarded an honorary Cappie that was accepted by her parents on her behalf. [Read about our former Cappies scholarship recipients]. 

Lionel in the Teen Challenge production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” at the SRP

Immigrant Scholarship Recipient Hopes to Pursue a Medical Career

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

By Morgan Steward*

 

Our Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipient, Gabriela Solano Serna has had to overcome many challenges in her young life. Emigrating from Mexico at age 10, Gabriela and her family left behind everything in order to start a new life in the United States. Unable to receive any government aid, including food stamps, medical care or scholarships through FAFSA, Gabriela and her family have struggled to make ends meet. But, instead of discouraging Gabriela, it has motivated her to volunteer in her community to make a difference for those facing hardships like her family.

The Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship stipend enabled Gabriela to travel to Atlanta last year over her spring break to work with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC). The alternative spring break trip was one of many organized by the Volunteer Resource Center at the University of Colorado Boulder where Gabriela is a student. The AHRC  works to build relationships with individuals who are either suffering from or in danger of contracting HIV/AIDS, STD’s and Hepatitis Viruses and is the only comprehensive harm reduction program in the entire state of Georgia.

During her week in Atlanta, Gabriela did a lot of hands-on work with the coalition in underprivileged communities and visited the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about the long-term benefits of the work she just participated in. One activity in particular stood out to Gabriela—a needle exchange. A needle exchange is a program that provides drug users with clean needles to prevent them from sharing and re-using contaminated needles, thus drastically lowering the chance of spreading diseases like HIV and AIDS.

“We helped distribute and make safety packs, which [are handed out] to individuals during the needle exchange in a poor community known as the ‘Bluff,’” Gabriela explained.  “After visiting and interacting with individuals from this neighborhood, I was able to see the unprivileged side of the community and learn how the state plays a role in helping the community.”

“I would say that this opportunity helped me—it was definitely an eye opener, but [also] a motivation to pursue a career in the medical field,” Gabriela explained. She hopes to use her talents to become an Obstetrician Gynecologist to honor her sister who passed away in Mexico due to the lack of medical attention.

So what does this remarkable scholarship recipient hope to accomplish in the future? “I am passionate about providing medical care to those in the US that struggle every day to sustain families and who do not have as much access to adequate medical assistance, public benefits (like Medicare) or health care insurance as other privileged groups do,” Gabriela said. As an undocumented immigrant herself, Gabriela’s future plans also include opening a clinic to provide medical assistance, regardless of the patients’ immigration status.

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morga -steward*Morgan Steward is a sophomore Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media. She is the Arts & Culture Co-Editor of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

Scholarship Recipient Volunteers in Aftermath of Louisiana Flood

Friday, October 27th, 2017

By Jacinda Romo*

University of Colorado (CU)  sophomore, Juwan Harris is a 2017 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipient. Majoring in integrative physiology with a certificate in public health, Harris hopes to one day become a trauma surgeon and work with Doctors Without Borders. A Colorado native who enjoys Boulder’s culture and atmosphere,  Juwan’s compassion for others has propelled him into extensive community service,  which has included volunteering at the Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House and the Denver Soup Kitchen.

Juwan is one of three brothers raised by a single mom who battled constant financial instability. He was the recipient of a Daniels Fund 4-year college scholarship as the result of his exceptional character, leadership, and community service.  Despite his childhood memories of hardship,  Juwan sees himself as quite fortunate and feels that the daily issues that he faces are trivial in comparison to those who are genuinely struggling. This motivates him to want help others experience the “chance at a life and a future.”

Juwan was part of a group of CU student volunteers this spring who participated in the “Natural Disasters and Rebuilding” Alternative Spring Break trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A stipend from the Casey Feldman Foundation covered Juwan’s expenses for the trip to Baton Rouge to help in the aftermath of catastrophic flooding which occurred in August, 2016. Thousands of homes and businesses had been submerged in waters and Harris volunteerred with a local organization that rebuilt homes for those who were physically and financially unable to do so themselves. Starting at 7 am each morning, Juwan worked on the home of a man who was confined to a wheelchair and living in a makeshift trailer on his property. Juan’s labor included removing moldy insulation and ultimately, repainting the entire home.

Juwan was able to get to know the grateful homeowner, who he described as “the most genuine, caring, and humorous man I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,”  adding that “southern hospitality is a real thing… I helped him not because I had to or because I signed up for the trip but because after meeting him the first day I felt as though I needed to help him. He was the driving force of why I woke up every morning that week at 7 am to work all day.”

“I feel like whenever a natural disaster happens it’s so easy to post a status about praying for that city or to post about donating $1….Being physically present and helping the cause hands-on is so much more meaningful,” said Juwan.

Since 2010, the Casey Feldman Foundation has provided funding for some 5 to 10 college students annually to participate in an Alternative Spring Break trip. To continue to make this scholarship stipend possible and enable students to experience the joy and gratification of volunteer service, please DONATE here.

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*Jacinda Romo is a current sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in political science with a minor in leadership and ethnic studies.  She plans to influence others through education and empathy as she pursues a career in social justice and civic engagement.

2013 Scholarship Recipient Creates Health and Wellness Business

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Jaclyn DiGregorioOur 2013 scholarship recipient from Springfield High School, Jacylyn DiGregorio, was quite accomplished four years ago, graduating 4th in her class, serving as a class officer and raising almost $200,000 for pediatric cancer patients, among many other things. Jaclyn just graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in marketing and international business and, as a result of finding a solution to her significant weight gain which occurred in her freshman year, has written a book and started her own health and wellness business.

Jaclyn has combined her new found  passion with the skills she learned in the classroom to launch CUSP Three Six Five, the first holistic and transformative health and wellness brand to promote rule-free lifelong nutrition.

“I gained about 30 pounds during my freshman year of college and it was very tough emotionally. Without as much confidence as I used to have, I just kind of failed more often in life in general,” DiGregorio recalled. “I realized the problem… was that I was following a very restrictive diet. [The diet] was actually causing me to gain weight because I would end up overeating as a result of dieting,” she said.

Once DiGregorio realized this was the problem, she began to research the phenomena a bit more and discovered the lots of people, no matter their age or gender, tend to have a similar problem. Fascinated by the discovery and inspired by a newfound passion for health, Jaclyn became certified as a nutrition coach and began to implement the business knowledge she had acquired in her classes to create a new company that could help individuals manage or lose weight in a safe and effective manner.

Jaclyn created the CUSP method, a four-step program that individuals could apply to their daily lives to not just lose weight, but become healthier individuals overall. The method is outlined in DiGregorio’s debut novel, also aptly titled “The CUSP Method.” “[CUSP] stands for concentrate, understand, supplement and portion,” DiGregorio explained, “I wanted something that people could apply in their life… all 365 days of the year.”

DiGregorio explained that for her, writing a novel was the natural first step in creating a company. She credits this knowledge to one of her professors, who she said acted as a great mentor to her. “I was under the mentorship of an amazing professor who taught me that you can learn about entrepreneurship through writing a book because that’s kind of like your first product,” she said. “It’s a way for you to make a name for yourself, to establish yourself as an expert in whatever industry you’re interested in.”

Along with her book, Jaclyn also offers fitness coaching and sells pineapple portion control plates to help clients learn the ratio of fruits/vegetables to protein and starches that they should be eating each meal. The portion plates follow the guidelines set forth by the USDA: half of each plate should be fruits and vegetables, with the other half split evenly between protein and starches.

A CUSP Three Six Five mobile app is also on the way, after DiGregorio successfully raised just over $20,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. “The app is going to be a way that people can enjoy healthy meals based on their taste preferences. It’ll have all kinds of options based on a profile that it creates for each person that they can completely customize with what they like and what they don’t like. Then they’ll be able to pick through a database of thousands of meals,” DiGregorio explained.

She described the app as being “a lot of hands on work.” She must provide the coder and the graphic designer she has hired with the money from the campaign with sketches displaying exactly what she wants the app to look like—from the colors used to what button will lead to what screen.

As for the goals of CUSP Three Six Five, DiGregorio stated that she hopes “people get relief from dieting from this. For people who have felt like they have been on and off different diets their whole lives, I hope that they find that they can be healthy and that they can hit their ideal weight, whatever it might be, and enjoy their life.”

Way to go Jaclyn!

Related Link:

CUSP Three Six Five

“2013 SHS Scholarship Recipient in 2nd Year at Georgetown“, Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates, 22 November 2014

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morgan steward*Morgan Steward is a sophomore Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media. She is the Arts & Culture Co-Editor of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

John Guerin Awarded 2017 Fordham University Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship

Monday, January 16th, 2017

By Peter Force*

John Guerin

Fordham University scholarship recipient John Guerin will be interning at Film Comment Magazine this spring semester

We are proud to announce that this year, the Fordham University Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to John Guerin, a dual major in both Film and English at the Fordham College Lincoln Center campus. The scholarship money will benefit him during his unpaid spring internship at Film Comment Magazine, where he will work in the editorial department. This opportunity is a dream come true for John, who says he couldn’t be more excited “to work alongside writers I greatly admire and for a magazine of which I’ve long been a reader.”

The Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship was first awarded in 2010 and has since assisted Fordham University Fordham College Lincoln Center  students with internships at CNN, Fox News, Redbook Magazine, the Museum of Modern Art, and now, Film Comment Magazine. Specifically, the scholarship is awarded annually to a student in the Communications and Media Studies department, Casey’s alma mater and her field of study at the time of her death. The scholarship helps by awarding students who take an unpaid internship with a $3,000 stipend that, in John Guerin’s words, “will ensure my ability to afford living in New York City while working toward a career in media through a coveted internship.”

Because of the competitiveness of any media or communications department in New York City,  most who pursue a career there will start off by essentially doing volunteer work for magazines and news outlets,  while going to school at the same time. The Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship recognizes students in financial need who are trying to make their dreams come true in such a competitive environment.

During the Spring and fall of 2016 John Guerin interned at the film distribution company Kino Lorber, an essential branch of the film industry. While John is grateful for his time spent at Kino and all that he learned there about distribution, he says he is looking forward to his internship at Film Comment because “it combines my love of film and my interest in writing. In pursuing a career in media, either in an academic, editorial or business setting, such an internship grants me the experience needed to unlock doors, hone my skills, and ultimately begin a professional career.” Aspects of this internship include “copy- editing content for both print and digital articles, conducting interviews with filmmakers, and assisting writers and editors in ensuring the success of the magazine.”

Congratulations, John! We wish you the best of luck at Film Comment Magazine, and hope that this experience will be a stepping stone to your success.

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

2016 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Alyssa Figueiredo Sets Her Sights on Nursing

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Alyssa Figueiredo

Alyssa Figueirdo

Alyssa Figueirdo was awarded the Springfield High School (Casey’s alma mater)  Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship this year not only for her academic prowess–she managed to take on the extra coursework of AP and honors classes while still remaining at the top of her class–but for her continued devotion to volunteer work and humanitarian extracurricular activities. After learning of all the many ways Alyssa has challenged herself to help others through high school, we’re not surprised at all to hear that, after a semester of finding her footing at The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, she has decided to pursue a career in nursing.

Here’s just a partial rundown of Alyssa’s achievements in high school that got her the nomination, and the scholarship: She is part of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Leadership Team, where she helped to organize participation in the annual Philly Aids Walk and raised funds for Valley Youth House (a safe house for homeless LGBQT youth). In her senior year she attended West Chester University’s GSA Leadership Conference where she co-led a workshop on how to run a GSA with a focus on social activism. She was also a member of the Community Service Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and part of SHS’s annual Dance Marathon, which raises funds for the fight against pediatric cancer.

That’s in addition to her being part of the school’s Med-Tech team: a small group of students who arrive at school early (6:30 am, to be precise) and travel to local hospitals where they experience first-hand what it takes to be in the medical profession on a daily basis.

And those are just her school extracurriculars. She also volunteered at at St. Christopher’s Hospital in the Child Life Department and shadowed doctors in the Neurology Department. At The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Alyssa has joined the Alliance (a club similar to the GSA she led at SHS), and is a member of Kickstart Kid’s Hearts, a club that raises money for the PA Chapter of the Children’s Heart Foundation.

After taking a course on medical careers through the Delaware County Technical School, Alyssa decided that through nursing she “can make more of an impact on my patients’ lives since nurses are the ones who see them the majority of the time. With nursing I will get more clinical experience, which would help me to be a better doctor, should I choose to attend medical school.”  After graduating from high school, Alyssa volunteered in the Sleep Lab at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children this past summer before she headed off to college.

Alyssa wears her pink Casey Feldman bracelet every day and welcomes the “opportunity to spread awareness every time I get asked about it.”

We salute you, Alyssa, not only for spreading awareness of the potentially tragic consequences of distracted driving, but for truly embodying the spirit and generosity of Casey in all of your endeavors.

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

Bridget Clawson, 2012 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Pursues Her Dreams

Monday, December 12th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Bridget Clawson 2016

Bridget with her friend’s new baby in Nov. “I take care of babies all night at work but still nothing beats this.”

What has Bridget Clawson been up to? Since receiving the Springfield High School (SHS) Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Scholarship in 2012 to attend Temple University for nursing… the answer is, well, a lot! After graduating from Temple with her B.S. in nursing and passing her NCLEX exams in May, she told us that as “the year 2016 has been my busiest year-to-date for sure!” We all know how much time and energy nurses put into caring for their patients and Bridget is no exception. But she’s been keeping herself busy in a variety of different ways, too, in addition to her day (and sometimes night) job.

Working in the healthcare field has always been a passion of Bridget’s – she’s wanted to be a nurse since she was in 5th grade, specifically in the maternity and pediatric fields. “All of this happening now is just the culmination of a dream I’ve had forever” she said. She officially began working at the Lankenau Medical Center this July after putting in time as an extern for over a year. But it’s not only the babies she’s passionate about – she also said that helping the mothers “during probably the newest, most exciting part of their journeys gives me so much joy.”

As demanding as being a maternity nurse can be, Bridget has far greater ambitions. Her passions for yoga and meditation go back to her time in high school, but have especially helped to center herself during the stressful transition from college to the professional working world. She hopes in the future to continue working with children and parents alike by sharing what she has learned during her yoga training. “I firmly believe that bringing mindfulness to the community is so important. It makes us better people,” she told us. Bridget will finish her 200-hour Svadhyaya Yoga Teacher Training course at Priya Hot Yoga in January 2017 which culminates when she teaches her first community class.

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds from the 1st community yoga class that Bridget will teach in Jan. will benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

In the near future, Bridget has a trip to Iceland planned and hopes to continue traveling abroad at least once a year for as long as she can, whether it be for service or just the thrill of experiencing new cultures. She recently completed a course in photography that will help her document her travels and her yoga practices. She also loves to write and plans on starting up a blog to document her experiences.

As for the not-so-near future? “Going to school for an advanced nursing degree is always in the back of my mind,” she told us, in addition to continuing her yoga training in meditation, reiki, and other holistic health practices. Most importantly, “having Casey in the back of my mind to this day still drives me to make a difference in the world.”

We’re so proud of you Bridget, for your hard-earned successes and your desire to continue striving for the betterment of yourself and your community!

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com