Wang, who recently graduated from Maspeth High School, is one of 15 students who earned a $1,500 merit-based award, a tradition that the local organization has kept up since 1954.
The awards are handed out each year to high school graduates residing in the Maspeth Kiwanis district, which in addition to Maspeth includes parts of Woodside, Elmhurst and Middle Village.
Last Thursday, the students and their families celebrated their achievements during a luncheon at Maspeth Town Hall.
“It’s more than just a check, it’s a recognition by the community to show how well they’ve done,” said Len Masone, chairman of the Scholarship Program since 1980. “The Kiwanis has been doing this for decades, and it’s really a great thing for the community.”
Masone said the very first recipients of the scholarship, four students in 1954, received $150 each. Over the years, the program has given local students more than $425,000.
Wang, who is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study computer science, economics and data science, has her school’s college counselor to thank for the opportunity.
“My counselor was a really great resource,” Wang said. “It’s also a really great thing that the Maspeth Kiwanis is doing here. I’m really flattered.”
Gabriella Salce, who graduated from The Mary Louis Academy and grew up in Maspeth, plans on studying nursing at Adelphi University. The money will help her pay for textbooks.
“It’s an honor to have been selected,” Salce said. “I feel special.”
Her mother, Mary Ann, was thrilled when she received a phone call that her daughter was chosen for the award.
“It’s especially nice to be recognized by a local organization like the Maspeth Kiwanis, because all of our lives we’ve lived in Maspeth,” she said.
Andres Echavarria and Ariana Izquierdo recently graduated from Maspeth High School. Echavarria is headed to Queens College to study political science, while Izquierdo, will also study nursing at Adelphi.
“It’s really exciting to be chosen, especially because I didn’t have much financial aid, so this is going to help,” said Echavarria.
“It’s definitely going to help with books and tuition because Adelphi is a private university, so it’s a little more expensive,” Izquierdo added.
The other recipients of the 2019 Maspeth Kiwanis Scholarship were Nikolas Burzynski, Anthony Cipri, Araceli Corley, Peter Cwalina, Cara Daidone, Julia D'Elia, Grace DeVivo, Julie Guo, Anna Pryce, Nicole Werner and Olivia Younghese.