YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Seventeen graduating seniors received a total of $170,000 in college scholarships – $10,000 apiece – May 19 at the annual event that Denise DeBartolo York calls her “favorite day of the year.”
For the 26th year, the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarship Foundation, founded by DeBartolo York and her husband, John York, to honor her father, rewarded college-bound seniors for their academic achievement, good character and community involvement.
“I’m overwhelmed by the goals you set and challenges you’ve overcome. You’re determined, hard-working and humble,” DeBartolo York said.
The scholarship awards luncheon, held at The Lake Club, was attended by the recipients and their families. More than 325 scholarship applications were received this year by the foundation, which has awarded more than $1.7 million since its inception.
Of the 17 recipients honored, 14 are planning to go into STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – professions, John York noted.
Among the students planning to pursue careers in business are Noah Minor from Lisbon and Abigail Rafferty from Girard. Minor will begin his freshman year at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and study business finance. Rafferty will enter Ohio State University and study accounting. Both took business classes in high school that led them to their career paths. Rafferty’s love of math made accounting her natural progression at Girard High School. Minor earned a certificate in entrepreneurship and small business at David Anderson High School in Lisbon.
Rafferty says she’ll likely stay in the Columbus area after she graduates – “We have family there.”
Minor says he might live outside the Mahoning Valley “for a little bit [after graduating from college]. But I know I want to come back here and eventually start my own business. Maybe real estate. And I’d love to own a Chick-fil-A.”
As their parents and grandparents watched, John York recognized all 17 scholarship recipients by name along with the schools they plan to attend and their likely fields of study.
“Get involved [on campus] in your first year of college. But don’t get involved too much,” he advised. “In your first year of study, get your studies down.”
The 2023 DeBartolo scholarship recipients and their schools are:
• Caydin and Sadie Barker, Sebring.
• Rachelle Christy, Western Reserve.
• Lillian Dilts, Austintown.
• Emari Edmonds, Warren Harding.
• Kylee Kocanjer, Columbiana.
• Abbey McCabe, South Range.
• Noah Minor, Lisbon.
• Abigail Rafferty, Girard.
• Madelyn Ray, Poland.
• Jayme Richardson, Girard.
• Mia Russomanno, Chalker.
• Devyn Tusinac, Boardman.
• Will Varley, Cardinal Mooney.
Pictured at top: Noah Minor attended the luncheon with his mother, Heather Smith, and grandmother, Mary Lou Smith. He hopes to one day start a business in the area.