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- Tri-County Night at the Devils: Winning Goal of Education!
The newly formed Friends of Tri-County group hosted a special night to remember on February 8th. The group collaborated with Matt Hanifin, a Tri-County supporter and salesperson for the NJ Devils, to bring together students, alumni, and supporters of Tri-County. And what better way to unite for a cause than through the adrenaline-pumping excitement of a New Jersey Devils hockey game? The event raised an $900 through ticket sales, a great first year! But the highlights of the night went beyond just numbers. After the game, the Tri-County group had the unique opportunity to step onto the rink and gather around the iconic NJ Devils logo for a group photo. Attending the event was upcoming honoree for the Women of Achievement luncheon on April 11, Monica Martinez Milan as well as Elisa Charters, a past Women of Achievement honoree! The Friends of Tri-County group also included event organizers, Lauren Conigliaro, Gaby Gomez and past scholarship recipient, Alessandra Veliz. Students and chaperones from Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta were in the stands cheering on the Devils! Even though the Devils were not victorious, it's clear that the real victory was off the ice. In bringing supporters and students together for a common goal and raising funds for scholarships. It's a reminder that when we come together, we can make a difference in the lives of others, one goal at a time, one child at a time. Here's to more nights like this, where fun, community, and purpose align to create a brighter future for all. Thank you to everyone who participated, supported, and cheered – you are the true champions of education.
- Alumni Update: Alessandra Veliz
Alessandra (Ally) Veliz grew up in a home where education was valued at the highest level. Her mom Rosa, a Peruvian immigrant, displayed steely determination and resolve, attaining a bachelor’s degree after a divorce and making sure her 3 children had a good education. Even though they divorced, her mom and dad, Alberto, were united in wanting the best education for their children. Inspired by her parents’ example, Ally excelled at DePaul Catholic, then in college at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she majored in film. Afterwards she rose through a series of challenging jobs that propelled her forward to the current job she loves. Head of Growth for Co-x3 Family Foundation, Ally brings her experience in corporate media and passion for marketing and business development to this non-profit, intending to help it grow into a global influencer offering tools to enable clients to meet their personal and business goals. Prior to Co-X3, Ally was in marketing for a non-profit, IEEE, the largest global technical professional organization. While there, Ally taught herself 10 different software programs which she then taught to her co-workers. "It was a very rewarding experience. If you hand me a problem, I can solve it,”she says. Ally was introduced to DePaul Catholic when her sister received a Tri-County scholarship. She was very grateful to get a scholarship too. “It saved me from going to a school district that wouldn’t have provided for me the way DePaul did. I want to create change in the world and would not have been able to be in my current position without De Paul and Tri-County." A member of the newly formed, Friends of Tri-County group of alumni and young supporters who want to share the mission of Tri-County and raise funds as a group, Ally has been involved in planning the recent February 2024 event, Tri-County Night at the Devils. She also attended the 2023 Tri-County Annual Awards Dinner with a group of other past scholarship recipients. Ally wants Tri-County to know, “You’re creating influence that makes young people want to go out and change the world the way that you changed their lives.”
- Claudia Olivero, 2022 Annual Awards Dinner Student Speaker Update
Anyone who had the privilege of attending last year's Tri-County Annual Awards Dinner, will remember the inspiring words of high school student speaker, Claudia Olivero. Claudia was poised and engaging as she addressed 900 guests at Tri-County's largest event ever. (Watch video of her speech) Claudia humbly gave us a glimpse into her life growing up in Paterson with her single mother who did her best to take care of Claudia and her 3 younger brothers. Life was difficult enough when her mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. Claudia had to step up to be a second mom to the boys: doing all the shopping and meal prep, helping her brothers with their homework, looking after them, as well as, doing all the laundry and cleaning. Incredibly, in the midst of all these adult responsibilities, Claudia persevered in her own studies at Mary Help of Christians Academy maintaining excellent grades while taking Honors and AP courses. Claudia and her mom credit the generosity of the Tri-County donors for making it possible for her to attend this high quality, values-based school which fed her intellect, understood and cared for her emotionally, and nurtured her spiritually during this challenging time. Thankfully, her mother recovered which allowed Claudia to dream about graduating high school and attending college. We are excited to report that Claudia graduated from Mary Help of Christians Academy! She is pictured above wearing her National Honor Society stole. Claudia received many college acceptances and was thrilled to choose American University where she received a generous. financial aid package. We wish her much success as she heads to campus in a just a few weeks! We are so proud to be part of Claudia's journey of overcoming hardship to achieve great things.
- Morris County resident and Atlantic Health executive to be honored
Read Story: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/morristown/articles/morris-county-resident-and-chief-administrative-officer-for-atlantic-health-system-to-be-honored-at-women-of-achievement-event
- In the News: Sea Girt resident to be honored at Women of Achievement event
2023 Women of Achievement honoree, Betsy McNeilly of Morgan Stanley, on a school visit and mentoring session with Tri-County scholarship students at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. Read Story: https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/want-post-patch-heres-how-get-started
- In the News: Matawan Resident to be honored at Women of Achievement Luncheon
2023 Women of Achievement honoree, Heather Sperduto of ADP, with Tri-County scholarship recipients at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon Read story: https://patch.com/new-jersey/matawan-aberdeen/ep/4072311/nodx
- In the News: Monroe resident to be honored at Women of Achievement event
Karyn Miller of Capital One with Tri-County scholarship recipients from Mary Help of Christians Academy Read Story: https://midjersey.news/2023/03/07/monroe-township-resident-to-be-honored-at-women-of-achievement-event/
- Winter e-News 2023
Dear Tri-County Friends, Coming off a strong 2022, we are well on our way with planning for 2023 Tri-County events, all in-person this year. Scroll below for the dates, and plan to join us. Thank you for helping to fund scholarships for a record 820 students in grades K-12 for the current school year. This includes scholarships for 20 Ukrainian refugee children who landed in New Jersey after escaping from their war-torn homeland. How rewarding to be able to help children at their time of need, so they can attend a quality school, where they feel safe and nurtured, and where they are able to rise above the challenging personal and financial circumstances of their young lives. Scholarship applications are pouring in for the next school year. We anticipate a longer waiting list of deserving students, and hope to provide scholarships for 835 children in the coming year. Thank you for your generosity, for attending our events and for continuing to help these vulnerable children. Together we are making a difference. Please know that you are appreciated by Tri-County and by the grateful scholarship children we serve. Looking forward to seeing you in person this year! Prudence
- Mariana Squicciarini, Alum
Mariana is currently a Project Coordinator at Frontage Laboratory. Mariana attended Franklin and Marshall College in beautiful Lancaster, PA. Her dedication to education and a High School GPA of over 4.0 combined with a devotion to helping others earned her a very generous scholarship from her college, plus two other small grants that combined to provide a full ride. Mariana’s passion for health care was fired by adversity, and by stoked by an internship. “At first I wanted to be a lawyer because a doctor really hurt my dad. One doc gave him the wrong medication and a second doctor performed surgery incorrectly. He couldn’t even sit up straight. He had several surgeries that were really botched. Her desire to make things right through legal channels soon gave way to a new passion for becoming a health care professional. Participating in the Healthcare Connections program at St. Joseph’s Hospital through her school, Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, solidified her commitment. “I interned in the ER department and got to see some surgery,” says Mariana. “At that point I thought I wanted to work in this field. Helping someone when they most need it – I would find it very rewarding.” Soon Mariana studied to become an EMT, graduating at the top of her class. During EMT training, she also became valedictorian of her senior class at Mary Help. She was also secretary of the National Honor Society, a tutor, and a school ambassador and alternated between debate club, linguistics, healthcare occupations of America, and traveling dance program through which she taught dance to children. Perhaps most revealing of her character and values is the award she received for completing the most service hours of any student during all 4 years in high school. Growing up in Wayne, Mariana understood the value of hard work and the grace that can come unexpectedly from the kindness and commitment of a caring stranger. “My mom, Veronica, came here from Guatemala because of a kind American couple who sponsored her and found her a job as a nanny,” says Mariana. She described Veronica’s impoverished circumstances, living in a small shack in rural Guatemala, and the benevolence of the couple who provided her with a way out, and a new life in the United States. Eventually she met and married James an immigrant from Italy and together they have worked hard to provide a secure home for Mariana and her brother Dominick, 15. Marie Hess, Director of Healthcare Connections and teacher of all life sciences provided ongoing support and advice to Mariana. Calling her “a true scholar,” Mrs. Hess lauds Mariana as a “very dedicated. She went well beyond the text book. When you have a student that’s that enthusiastic you really want to work with them. In her senior year, she passed Rutgers exams and earned 14 college credits. Mariana realizes the important role Tri-County has played in her success and she is very grateful. “Being able to attend a private Catholic school was really important to my mom. She had me apply even though we couldn’t afford it. That’s when I applied to Tri-County, and only then could we afford it. Everything that I’m doing in my life, I try to do it for everyone who’s supporting me in my education, and when I’m older I want to do the same for kids like me,” says Mariana.
- Warner Carnero, Alum
Warner Carnero, Paramus Catholic High School grad is now a PhD Student in Physical Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Warner was a 17-year-old junior at Paramus Catholic when he discovered his passion for Chemistry. Mufeda Zhort, Science Department Coordinator, and Warner’s AP Chemistry teacher made the course “…very, very exciting. I realized that Chemistry explains the mystery of human life itself,” says Warner. Soon he was participating in competitions, taking high level scientific exams for fun and to see how he stacked up against other high school science students. Warner refers to these as the “Olympiad exams” and loved sharing his solutions and ideas on how to solve the problems within a group of his peers. He earned certificates for participation in Honors Chemistry, Advanced Placement Chemistry and AP Physics exams, sometimes scoring in the top 5%. Ms. Zhort had other plans for Warner as well. “She played an influential role in my becoming the president of the Science League,” says Warner. Her faith in him was well placed. His relentless intellectual curiosity motivated him to research and make copies of science articles on his own time and bring them into club for discussion. “He would initiate conversations with the students, and he’s always willing to lend a helping hand to others,” says Ms. Zhort. Warner soon decided he wanted to pursue a career in the sciences and entered Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Chemistry and graduated in 2021. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Warner’s mom, Roxana and dad, Miguel immigrated from Peru and settled in Paterson where they raised Warner and his younger brother, Miguel Angelo. Warner’s Peruvian heritage and culture are a big influence on him. “I have been hugely motivated by my parents’ values and life experiences. Suffering and struggle to succeed has existed for generations in my family and I have the responsibility to be a role model. I was the first one to go to college. So I have to be the first one to escape from the reality of struggling. I escape it by studying, getting a good education and working hard,” says Warner. Since both Warner’s mom and dad are disabled, Warner is acutely aware of and grateful for his education. “I have to thank TCSF for giving me the money for the scholarship – without that I wouldn’t be in the place I’m in right now. I just want to thank them for providing the money and support. I’m really thankful,” says Warner. Mufeda Zhort says of Warner’s future, “I see him with a white coat. He’s not going to just settle. He’s going to keep accomplishing. He will always think of learning new things. There’s no stopping him.”
- Madison Vergara, Alum
Madison Vergara grew up in Paterson as part of a large, loving extended family. The youngest of four children, she always wanted to be a teacher. “I would line my dolls up in rows and pretend to teach them whatever lessons I was learning at school. I always enjoyed watching my teachers teach as well as learning,” says Maddie. Madison’s home was a busy, noisy place, with six people in her family and frequent visits from cousins, nieces, nephews and her grandma. When she found herself living away freshman year, at The College of New Jersey, she felt homesick. Although she loved her courses and teachers, she decided to transfer to Montclair State University and become a commuter. Madison is taking advantage of a partial scholarship and has embarking on MSU’s five-year Masters of Education program in Special Education. She will pursue a dual certification including General Education qualifying her to teach Pre-K through 3rd grade. Tri-County came into Madison’s life in her freshman year of high school, providing much needed scholarships enabling her to attend the school of her choice for all four years. Says Maddie, “I want to thank Tri-County and the donors because I wouldn’t have been able to go to a private school without them. They made a big difference in my life, and I wouldn’t be where I am if not for them.” Madison said her parents always worked extremely hard to instill positive values and a dedication to education in each of their four children. It paid off – the two eldest have graduated college; her sister Ronnie graduated in 2019, and Madison, soon after. Her parents set an excellent example by working hard – her mother works for a cardiologist at Valley Hospital and her dad works in medical records at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Bethany Dacles, DePaul High School’s Social Studies Chair, was a role model for Madison due to her patient, calm manner and her unique teaching style. “She would make the subject so interesting, and interact with you,” says Madison. Ms. Dacles remembers Madison as “diligent” and “an excellent student”. She found her to be extremely engaged, and a great role model for other students. “She has that caring spirit. The other kids just naturally followed her”, said Ms. Dacles, “we need people in education who have that.” We agree.
- Liz Perdomo, Alum
When Lizbeth Perdomo was just a freshman in college, her mom, Esperanza developed breast cancer and soon passed away. But the loving legacy she left to both Lizbeth and her sister Karen includes a strong work ethic, dedication to education and faith-based values. Esperanza and her husband Angel had worked tirelessly to make sure their daughters had access to a high quality education and remained committed to maintaining excellent grades. When they emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the U.S, Angel worked at a corner store during the day while Esperanza worked the night shift in a factory. “My parents helped in elementary school all the way through to graduation. After school, we had to do homework – we couldn’t do anything before that...they made sure of that,” says Liz. Lizbeth has a long successful academic career. She was in the National Honor Society for 2 years at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, NJ. At Passaic County Community College she maintained a 3.7 GPA and was voted “most improved player” in volleyball both years. As a “student ambassador” at Mary Help and PCC, she influenced many potential students and reflected a very positive image. While she was deeply involved in student government and a program committee, she held down 2-part time jobs as a secretary and a childcare provider. After gaining her Associates degree, Liz went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2015, and has been working ever since. Mirian Gonzalez-Tanis, Lizbeth’s supervisor when she worked as a secretary while in school, deeply believes in her potential. “I met Lizbeth as a freshman in high school. She’s an impressive young lady, very observant and analytical, and is someone who has a great work ethic.” As for Tri-County donors, Lizbeth said, “thank you for believing in me and donating money to help someone who didn’t have the funds to make my education happen.” Many people believe in Liz, and Mirian agrees, “she’s going to leave her mark on this world... she’s not afraid to try new things and that speaks volumes about her character. I think she’s destined for greatness!”