By Jack Elliott
In his opening remarks at the 5th Annual Morristown Airport Scholarship Awards Breakfast, Bill Barkhauer, airport director, told the guests in attendance, “We’re giving something back to our community and to our neighbors.”
Sixteen students from neighboring high schools who will be entering colleges this fall each received checks for $1,250 toward their college education. The scholarship winners were Alissa B. Cerny, Lawrence J. Galante, Mark A. Hess, Kevin Hsu, Kyle N. Osborne, Mihaela Mihai-Bronson, Robbie Nashi and Jessica Park, Morristown High School; Stephen J. DiMaria, Tina W. Hwa, Lauren M. Senko, and Yihsin Wang, Whippany Park High School; David M. Capizzani, and Concepta A. Fanelli, Hanover Park High School; and Leonardo A. Acevedo and Lisa J. White, Madison High School.
The guests at the Park Avenue Club included State Senator Tony Bucco and Assemblymen Alex DeCroce and Rick Merkt. Dan Gicas represented State Senator Tom Kean and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick. Mayors present included John “Jay” Delaney of Morristown, Ron Francioli of Hanover, Elwood “Woody” Kerkeslager of Morris Township, and Scott Rosenbudsh of Morris Township. Representatives of each of the graduates’ high schools were also in attendance.
This year’s scholarship awards brought the total presented by D.M. Airport Developers, Inc., operators of Morristown Municipal Airport since the program began, to $76,000. D.M. Developers funds the grant programs and defines the selection criteria. The selection of the winners, though, is actually done by an outside firm, Scholarship Managers of Cherry Hill, N.J., a division of Career Opportunities Through Education, Inc., which administers the program by receiving and evaluating individual applications.
In explaining the criteria for the awards, Barkhauer pointed out that airport management structured them to reflect the same qualities as the college graduates they seek when hiring.
“The awards are based on the overall achievements and activities of the student,” he said. “We want to emphasize that grade point average is only part of the criteria. Good grades are important, but so is the student’s involvement in extracurricular activities within the school and community, as well as work experience.
“That philosophy mirrors our hiring practice at the airport, where we look for recent college graduates who not only did well in their college studies in aviation management, but who also exhibited a successful work history and a record of community involvement. We’ve found that this type of well-rounded individual serves the airport and its tenants best.”
The colleges winners will be attending are Harvard, the Georgia Institute of Technology, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, the University of Virginia, Fordham University, Lehigh University, The College of New Jersey, the University of Arizona, the College of the Holy Cross, the College of William and Mary, and the Citadel.
Morristown’s Mayor James Delaney summed it up well when he said, “Education is the great equalizer. It gives you opportunity.”