Meaney, who grew up in Middle Village, was one of 16 students to be awarded a scholarship this year by the Maspeth Kiwanis Club. Last Thursday, the student winners and their families celebrated the achievement at a scholarship luncheon at Maspeth Town Hall.
“I’m just very grateful,” said Meaney, who just graduated from Christ the King High School and plans to study biomedical engineering at SUNY Stony Brook University. “The cost of college is always increasing, and it’s always great to have money to use for books, a new laptop, housing, or room and board.”
The Maspeth Kiwanis has been giving scholarships to local students since 1954, according to Len Masone, chairman of the Scholarship Program since 1980. Since its inception, the program has given away more than $400,000, including $24,000 in scholarships this year alone.
Masone said the scholarship is based solely on academic achievement, and the program is limited to students living in the Maspeth Kiwanis area.
“Even though the stipend is only $1,500, at least they get some recognition,” he said.
For Lauren Treanor, who graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, the money will go a long way. She is headed to Molloy College this fall, where she plans to study nursing.
“I also want to go back for my master’s, so it’s a good chunk of money,” Treanor said. “It’s very helpful.”
Brian Pawlikowski, who graduated from Regis High School and grew up in Maspeth, said having an award from this community is special. He plans to study media culture and communications at New York University.
“It means a lot,” he said, “being able to receive something from the community that made me who I am.”
Linda Bessai, now an alumna from St. Vincent Ferrer High School, echoed her future classmate’s thoughts. Bessai is also headed to NYU, but she will major in international relations.
“This community is amazing,” Bessai said. “I’m also grateful I received it because we all need additional help paying for college because it’s super expensive. This award is really helpful.”
The other winners of the 2018 Maspeth Kiwanis Scholarship are Jessica Caliendo (St. Francis Prep), Joycelyn Chanthamala (Maspeth High School), Vivienne Crowe (Archbishop Molloy), Karolina Grodzki (Townsend Harris), Andrew Lee (Stuyvesant), Leah Messina (Archbishop Molloy), Kelly Neville (Archbishop Molloy), Maizy Dean Pareja (Maspeth High School), Kiley Roberts (Archbishop Molloy), Domenico Spina (St. Francis Prep), Michael Urbano (Archbishop Molloy), and Mary Vavruska (Brooklyn Tech).