SUNY Orange celebrates 2011-12 scholars and athletes at awards ceremony

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:49

    MIDDLETOWN — As SUNY Orange closes in on the midway point of its fall semester, the college held its annual Student Scholarship Awards and Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 13 to celebrate 118 of its standout students. The event was hosted by the SUNY Orange Foundation in conjunction with the College’s scholarship committee. The college’s array of academic, community service and athletic scholarships were distributed by Vinnie Cazzetta, vice president for institutional advancement, and Rich Rowley, first vice chairman of the SUNY Orange Foundation Board of Directors. In addition to the awards, the evening also was the occasion for wisdom: Biology professor Dr. Melody Festa was one of two SUNY Orange professors to receive the College’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. She recalled a recent trip to a conference in which a speaker delivered nine tips on “how to achieve an exceptional life.” The nine tips included gratitude, simplicity, optimism, patience, trust, growth, action, faith and passion. “Think of one person who helped you get here tonight,” Festa said, referring to gratitude. “Direct your attention and energy toward solutions rather than focusing on problems. See life as a classroom. Believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to take chances and move forward without knowing the outcome.” Student Erica Cruz serves as the student representative to the College’s Board of Trustees. She offered “For me, a scholarship is someone’s way of saying, 'Here is just a small reward for all of your hard work and we thank you,’” Cruz added. “It is an honor to receive a scholarship at SUNY Orange. To have been selected means you’ve excelled in the classroom, succeeded within your academic major, developed outstanding athletic ability or demonstrated leadership within the community. I’m sure many of my fellow students here tonight have accomplished many, if not all, of those goals.” Rowley, who invoked the memory of the late co-founder of Apple Computers, told the students: “Go to class, graduate and innovate, because innovation is what this country needs. You are the future Steve Jobs.” Among the 118 students honored, Joseph Johnson (Port Jervis) was the evening’s standout, walking away with six scholarship awards for his exploits in the college’s music program. Patricia Tannachion of Highland Mills was one of three students who each received four scholarships while seven additional students were awarded three scholarships each. SUNY Orange grants more than $150,000 in scholarships annually via the Educational Foundation. Scholars and athletes Among the students who were recognized and the award or awards they received were: Kevin Brown of Warwick: The James Holmbraker Memorial Award. Noemi Gomerez-Herrera of Pine Island: the Margaret Botti Dental Hygiene Scholarship; the Dr. Andrew Godwin Dental Hygiene Scholarship; and the Noemi Edgar Dass Scholarship. Susan Graf of Warwick: the Marks/Florence Nightingale Scholarship and the Foundation General School Annual Scholarship. Nicholas Gurda of Warwick: Athletic Scholarship. Meghan Lamontagne of Warwick: The Ruth K. and Steve Taffin Memorial Nursing Scholarship. Ashley Skidmore of Greenwood Lake: The Dr. Harold W. Morgans Scholarship. Mary Welch of Warwick: The Lillian Barbone Memorial Scholarship. Dawn Woods of Warwick: The Alice Curtis Desmond Memorial Scholarship and the Judi Jaffe Scholarship.