Women of Tri-County Awards Luncheon
Another first in the annals of Tri-County Scholarship Fund occurred on Friday, November 8th, as the fund hosted its inaugural Women of Tri-County Awards Luncheon at the Morris County Golf Club. The focus of the awards luncheon is to honor the work of outstanding New Jersey women and to raise funds for the Freedom Scholars program of Tri-County Scholarship Fund.
Offered to incoming high school freshmen, the Freedom Scholars program offers scholarships to young men and women of great academic promise as well as financial need. Offered to incoming freshman and renewed every year, it provides for a virtually tuition free passage to a number of New Jersey’s great high schools. Schools partner with the Fund to cover the majority of the students’ financial needs. In addition to financial help, Freedom Scholars are given mentors who are among the most seasoned teachers and staff at the respective schools, tutoring as needed, SAT prep and college essay prep.
For the inaugural luncheon, five women were chosen to be the honorees. They are Barbara Kaufmann, Executive Vice-President of the Newark Regional Business Partnership; Katherin Nukk-Freeman,Esq., co-founder of the management side employment law firm of Nukk-Freeman and Cerra in Chatham Township; Lelia Pappas, Principal of Blessed Sacrament School in Paterson; Meg Paradise, award winning Talent Management and Leadership Strategist; and Heather Suarez, Esq., Partner at Walder, Hayden and Brogan, PA in Roseland. Linda Bowden, regional president of PNC Bank, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
A highlight of the luncheon was the presentation by Chrystal Donayre, a Freedom Scholar and sophomore at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. After commenting on the wonderful opportunities offered to her at this school, she went on to say: “Entering my freshman year, I was chosen as a Freedom Scholar. Without my Freedom Scholarship, I would not have been able to attend Mary Help. As the daughter of a single mother of two, I live with my mother and youngest brother in Paterson, NJ. My mother is from Lima, Peru where she was born and raised until the age of 19 when she came to the U.S. My parents divorced when I was about 4, and since then my father is not around much. I do not get to speak to nor see him as regularly as a father and daughter should. Therefore I consider my mother both a mother and father to me. I love my mother and my brother unconditionally which is why I strive my best to make them proud. Being at Mary Help makes me feel as though a wide door to a bright future has been opened to me!”
It was not difficult, after Chrystal spoke, for the men and women in attendance to move to ensure that other talented young men and women, like Chrystal, would have the opportunity to thrive in schools that offer a values-based curriculum, a sense of community and a culture of high performance. To that end, $18,000.00 was raised to put the Freedom Scholars program on secure financial footing. And that is only the beginning! More information about the Freedom Scholars Program, may be accessed at http://www.tcsfund.org/new-jersey-scholarship-awards/freedom-scholars-program/.