20 Seniors Share $125K in DeBartolo Scholarships

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Jenna Binion takes college prep and Advanced Placement courses and works 30 hours a week at Dunkin’ Donuts in Struthers. “I lose a lot of sleep,” she laughs, and is determined to achieve her dream – becoming a defense attorney.

Binion’s father died when she was 6, her mother battles addiction issues, and three years ago she came to Struthers to live with her sister’s family.

“Jenna struggled but she worked through it. She’s very dedicated and needs the help,” says Barbara Micco, Struthers High School guidance counselor, who watched with pride Thursday as Binion was awarded one of 20 college scholarships from the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m very committed to my education and helping others anyway I can.”

For Denise DeBartolo York and her husband John, Binion’s determination personifies the mission of the foundation, which has awarded more than $960,000 in scholarships since it was established 20 years ago to honor Edward J. DeBartolo Sr.’s belief “that all students who have demonstrated intensity and desire should be afforded the opportunity to receive a college education,” DeBartolo York said.

“These students perhaps are not the brightest, the most popular, the most athletic, but they have all demonstrated determination, courage and heart … And I think they will do the most for our town and our world,” DeBartolo York said.

“If you ever have a doubt you will succeed, remember this day.”

The scholarships were presented during a luncheon at the Holiday Inn Boardman. The 20 recipients – the most ever — shared $125,000 in scholarship funds, each receiving $6,250.

Applauding Binion as she received her scholarship were the principal of Struthers High School, Roger Day, and her sister, Brittany Morales.

“She’s a hard worker, for sure,” said Morales. “She’s constantly working, constantly studying and is an all-around great person.”

Added Day, “It’s a tough world we live in and to see kids overcome struggles and problems makes me very proud.”

The scholarship fund is bolstered every year with an annual dinner and auction. This year’s event will take place June 15 at the Covelli Centre and will feature a concert by Mary Wilson who gained fame in the 1960s as a member of the Supremes.

Also among this year’s recipients is Jessica Bagdassarian, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School who was awarded the Donald P. Pipino Scholarship, named in honor of DeBartolo Sr.’s good friend.

Above: Sarah Wahed and her daughter, Jessica Bagdassarian.

Bagdassarian plans to study international business at Youngstown State University. “I want to help build schools [in third world countries] and help people get clean water,” she said.

“In college, I hope to make a lot of connections and get to do amazing things. I just want to go far and be successful.”

More than 400 scholarship applications were received by the foundation. Recipients are determined by academic achievement, community involvement and financial need.

Eighteen more students received $6,250 scholarships. They are:

  • Lauren Almasy, Hubbard High School
  • Elizabeth Anastasiadis, Warren G. Harding
  • Joseph Austin, Mineral Ridge
  • Sara Borelli, East Palestine
  • Alec Coman, Liberty
  • Josh Davidson, West Branch
  • Daniel Engle, Howland
  • Mariah Grate, United Local
  • Shae Haas, West Branch
  • Isabella Holmes, Hubbard
  • Essence Edmonds, Warren G. Harding
  • Brent Neisen, South Range
  • Breanna Parker, Beaver Local
  • Bailey Polinori, West Branch
  • Audrey Schweers, Poland
  • Matthew Weiss, Girard
  • Rachel Williams, Canfield
  • Angela Young, West Branch

Pictured at top with scholarship winner Jenna Binion are: Barbara Micco, Struthers High School guidance counselor, her brother in law Matt Morales, Struthers principal Roger Day, and Binion’s sister, Brittany Morales.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.