“A World of Possibilities”

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Anna Dooner

Anna Dooner received the Casey Feldman Foundation’s Springfield High School Scholarship this year for her ambitious career goals and her touching and impressive essay, “A World of Possibilities.” She graduated from Springfield High School in 2021 and is now a freshman at Temple University. Anna’s response to the question “Where do you envision yourself 20 years from now?” is published below. 

A World of Possibilities

From the beginning of education, even as a child, everyone is asked what they want to be when they grow up. While we are young, our ambitions are high and we believe we can conquer the world by becoming president, an Olympic athlete, or any other nearly impossible goal. As our age climbs, reality sets in. We come to face the fact that those goals are not necessarily attainable, unless you are one like former president Barack Obama or four time gold medalist Laura Trott. Looking back now, I can remember being asked this question in almost every year of school, and every time I had one similarity between my answers— to help others, or more specifically, the Earth and all that is part of it.

Like every other child, I jumped from this to that in terms of where I will be in 20 years, but I almost always came back to one specific goal—  to care for the environment. When I was six years old, I started telling people I would become a marine biologist and help save the Earth.

Ambitious, I know. Honestly, I doubt I even knew what a marine biologist was then but something in my gut told me that’s what I was meant to do. I saw how people disrespected Earth and didn’t care for the one place that is our main source of life, and it broke my heart as a young girl. That was where my yearn to help others began. When I was seven years old, I began collecting donations for the local animal shelter and discouraging the use of plastic water bottles at my school. For my eighth birthday, I used the money given to me to sponsor three cats in a shelter so they could find a home. At ten, I heard about the tsunami that hit Haiti and how it left the people struggling to cope, so I began a raffle basket and performed concerts for my neighbors to raise money and gave it to an organization that helped with relief. Since then, I’ve been contributing to the environment by cleaning waste off of the beach, discouraging plastic use, becoming a social media ambassador for an eco-friendly brand, and overall creating a more sustainable lifestyle. In 20 years, I see myself still doing this, but on a larger scale.

I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world, like many people, but I hope to incorporate this into my career. Perhaps I’ll be a spokesperson for a green company that educates people around the world on the importance of fighting global warming, or work in politics and  meet with ambassadors to unite and fight it together. There are those huge ambitions again, but what’s life without dreams? I’d be okay with working at a small company in one place or an activist for a non-profit if I meant I was making a difference. I’ve also never loved studying science, but if it means I will do what I love for the rest of my life, then it is worth it.

So, in all honesty, I’m not sure of where I’ll be in 20 years. I know I’ll have a career in an environmental-related area, probably living in small house by the beach with lots of cats and a dog (I’m a sucker for pets, especially strays), a big garden where I can grow my own fruits and vegetables, I know I want to foster kids or maybe have my own, and I hope to eventually own a bookstore cafe. If I can achieve all of those things, I’ll have attained the dream life, but I can’t say I know exactly where life will lead me. To say the least, I am a very indecisive person with a great deal of dreams in a world of endless possibilities.

I’m unsure exactly what my career will be or if I will be married with kids or where I will be living, but I know in 20 years, even 50, I’ll still be the little girl who picked up microplastics off the beach with a strainer and saved frogs in my neighbors chlorine-filled pool. I’ve always been that girl and in my future, I still will be.

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Read about our other Springfield High School scholarship recipients

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to help other students realize their dreams

Springfield High School Senior Produces New Casey Feldman Documentary

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Samantha Kemmey was just 6 years old when when her older sister, Rachael, first met Casey Feldman as a freshman in high school. She got to know Casey as a younger sibling would when Casey would frequent the Kemmey household to spend time with Rachael. Eleven years later years later and a now a Springfield High School (SHS) senior, the impact that Casey’s death in 2009 had on Samantha is evident. Hoping to share about the vibrant life lost in a senseless tragedy and raise awareness about the impact of distracted driving,  Samantha produced a documentary for her high school film production class about Casey. The documentary has aired on the SHS morning TV news station each morning for one month. View Samantha’s video here:

“If everyone had her sense of giving there would be less suffering” – Our 2015 SHS Scholarship Recipient

Friday, December 4th, 2015
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Erin Gamble

By Dianne L. Anderson*

One could not think of a more deserving recipient of the annual scholarship that bears Casey’s name at her high school alma mater than Erin Gamble. Recommended by her Springfield High School (SHS) teacher, Pat Delaney, Erin received a scholarship from the Casey Feldman Foundation to attend Mount Saint Mary’s University this year where she is majoring in health science in hopes of becoming of a nurse or physical therapist.

During high school Erin volunteered each summer for the Appalachia Service Project, where she repaired homes for low income families in Central Appalachia making their humble abodes warm, safe and dry.  She also volunteered at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and made meals for Aids For Friends – an outreach program for the elderly.  In school, Erin was part of Freshmen Mentors, The Turkey Fund and the Steve Stefani Dance Marathon which raises money to fight childhood cancer.  Erin found time for all of these charitable activites while playing varsity soccer, running track and maintaining a focus on her studies.

In recommending Erin for the scholarship, Pat Delaney stated, ” Erin is a student who will work with ANY other student in the classroom, with a welcoming, cheery smile.  It amazes me to see her optimism shine through in situations that would stymie many others.   Erin’s compassion for others – in the classroom, in her community, and in the world is humbling to observe. If everyone had her sense of giving there would be less suffering.”

Erin is currently winding down her first semester in college where she played division I soccer, contributing to one of Mount Saint Mary’s best seasons ever. She has continued her service in college,  participating in organizing a campus Special Olympics as well as working to repair a home in Philadelphia for a needy family.  According to Erin,  “Now that my schedule is loosening up and soccer is over for the season, I look forwarding to engaging in more service work!”

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Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

*Dianne Andersonis the mother of the late Casey Feldman and co-founder of the The Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project, EndDD.org.

Meet Valerie Vecchione, Our Springfield High School 2014 Scholarship Recipient

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Valerie Vecchione SHS 14'By Dianne L. Anderson

“Val is a terrific young woman who possesses many of the qualities that Casey did as a student here at SHS,” stated Springfield High School (SHS) Director of Bands, Scott Blanford in nominating Valerie Vecchione for the 2014 Casey Feldman Foundation SHS scholarship. “She has a natural talent to perform, a superior work ethic, excellent leadership qualities, and is caring, supportive, and just a downright good person.” SHS teacher, Lisa Shughart, who also nominated Valerie, stated that Val is a ” loving, caring, young woman who holds much promise.”

Valerie has used her scholarship proceeds toward West Chester University where she is currently in the first semester of her freshman year, studying to become an elementary school teacher.

While at SHS, Valerie was involved in multiple activities. She held the leadership position of Guard Captain of the SHS Marching Band. In that position, she consistently demonstrated the ability to work hard behind the scenes, perform under pressure in front of thousands of people, and connect positively with her peers. Valarie constantly put the focus on the members of the guard and demonstrated “an amazing level of loyalty and honestly with her peers,” added Mr. Blanford. “The students in the band looked to her for her leadership, guidance, and support.”

As an active participant in the music program while at SHS, Valerie was also a member of the indoor guard and school choirs. She has also participated in the SHS Dance Marathon, an annual event that has raised over $225,000 in the last 13 years for the Hershey Medical Center’s Four Diamonds Fund.

In her aspiration to become a teacher, Valerie has taken advantage of summer activities to become involved in different ways with her chosen profession.  As a sophomore she volunteered with StageStormers, a children’s summer theater program that she herself was active in during her grade school and middle school years. As a high school volunteer there, she assisted the director with teaching the children their lines, singing, and games. As a junior and following her senior year, Val volunteered in Scenic Hills Elementary School’s summer program helping students with reading, math, and other assignments.

Last but not least, Valerie volunteered after her freshman year in high school with CatNip Animal Rescue, one of the many causes particularly near and dear to Casey’s heart. While at the animal rescue, Val helped to nurture sick and/or injured cats and kittens back to health; provide information to potential adopters and others; and, place homeless cats with their forever families.

We at the Casey Feldman Foundation could not be more honored to have Valerie Vecchione as the 2014 recipient of the SHS scholarship that bears Casey’s name. We also could not agree more completely with Mr. Blanford in his comment that Valerie  “will continue to become a well-rounded, compassionate, and responsible citizen of the global community.”

Thank you SHS’s Scott Blanford and Lisa Shughart for nominating this outstanding young woman! And, best wishes Valerie,  for your success in college and ultimately as an elementary school teacher.

Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to help more students achieve their dreams.