YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – They were spread out – three family members to a table, wore masks and observed social distancing, even in the traditional group photo, which this year was taken in two parts.
For the 15 recipients of scholarships from the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Foundation, the distance to achieving their educational goals was shortened by $10,000 apiece June 19 during the annual awards luncheon hosted by Denise DeBartolo York and Dr. John York.
“It has to be scary for them, going to college at this time with everything that’s going on in the world,” said DeBartolo York as she watched the young men and women get in position, six feet apart, for the group photos.
“Maybe they are setting their goals higher.”
It certainly seemed that way as John York read aloud their names, where they will go to college and what they plan to study. Three want to become nurses, two will pursue veterinary medicine, two plan to become physicians, one will study public health – “perhaps our newest Amy Acton,” York observed – and one hopes to become a social worker.
Another recipient plans to study mechatronic engineering, “a new engineering program coming out of STEM education,” York explained.
One by one, the recent high school graduates walked to the front of the room at Stambaugh Auditorium and were positioned for pictures on one side of the portrait of Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., his daughter, DeBartolo York, on the other side.
“Once you reach your goals, take time to look around and help those around you,” she said. “I know you will make the world a better place.”
Kayla Johnson, a graduate of Brookfield High School, was 9 years old when a family tragedy led her to dream about making the world a better place. Her brother David – then age 19 – suffered irreversible brain damage in an automobile accident.
“Seeing how he’s never going to get back to normal makes me want to help people in that situation,” she said.
Johnson will study neurology at the University of Pittsburgh.
The DeBartolo Scholarship Foundation was established 23 years ago by DeBartolo York’s father and a few of his friends. It has since awarded more than $1.4 million in scholarships, an endeavor the Yorks continue in DeBartolo’s honor.
This year more than 300 scholarship applications were received by the foundation, which bases the awards on academic achievement, community involvement and financial need.
The Class of 2020 recipients of the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarships are:
• Brooke Briggs, Beaver Local High School. Plans to attend Wheeling University, to study business marketing.
• Nicholas Clementi, Warren G. Harding High School; Kent State University, to study communications.
• Emily Hasson, Beaver Local High School; University of Akron, to study business and financial planning.
• Julia Hum, Columbiana High School; Youngstown State University, to study nursing.
• Kayla Johnson, Brookfield High School; University of Pittsburgh, to study neuroscience.
• Dalton Keeley, Southington Chalker High School; YSU or Kent State University, to study education.
• Gavin Leek, West Branch High School; Kent State University, to study mechatronics.
• Isabella Minotti, Girard High School: YSU, to study nursing.
• Gina Mondora, Cardinal Mooney High School; YSU, to study nursing.
• Johnathan Morris, Struthers High School; Lawrence University or Carnegie Mellon, to study linguistics.
• Sophia Neddy, Canfield High School; Ohio State University or University of Pittsburgh, to study public health.
• Samantha Plocher, West Branch High School; Mississippi State, to study poultry science/pre-veterinary medicine.
• Adeline Schweers, Poland High School; Cleveland State University, to study social work.
• Alexa Senvisky, Ursuline High School; YSU or Kent State, to study veterinary science.
• Elizabeth Vennetti, Cardinal Mooney High School; University of Pittsburgh or Ohio State University, to study pre-medicine.