STAMFORD, Conn. -- For a new college student, every little bit of money helps. For Samuel Michelson of Stamford, a newly awarded $1,500 scholarship will go a long way.
He was at his job as a caddy at the Woodway Country Club a few weeks ago when he received the news of the scholarship award. "I was at work when I got the email. I was very excited," said Michelson, a senior at the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering.
He was one of 21 students honored Monday in a ceremony by the Stamford-based Dollars for Scholars organization.
"I looked online and with some help from my guidance counselor and a lot of research, I found it," he said before the ceremony. His grandparents Ben and Debbie, sister Michelle, aunt Nurit Wexler and cousin Karen also attended. He intends to study mechanical and electrical engineering with a minor in Spanish at the University of Connecticut.
The organization was started by Tony D'Amelio, 64, who said he was frustrated that he couldn't smoothly set up a scholarship at a local high school a few years ago. He discovered there were others in a similar situation.
D'Amelio is co-president of the organization along with Jim McClafferty.
"I got a scholarship to go to college as a kid and without it I wouldn't have gone," said the Wethersfield native who attended the University of Hartford.
Also at the event held at the UConn-Stamford Gen Re Auditorium were some of the scholarship donors, including Regina Kirshbaum and her husband, Michael, and his brother Donald.
They sponsored the Agabhumi Scholarship for Community Service in Honor of Doris Kirshbaum, a $3,000 one-year award for a student who is heavily involved in community service.
Hannah Dougherty, a Westhill High School student received the award. She intends to study international studies at the University of Michigan.
Donald Kirshbaum said the award was named for his late mother Doris, who was a dedicated community volunteer.
"She was probably head of every community organization here in Stamford," said Kirshbaum, listing listed the numerous organizations she was involved with.
Regina Kirshbaum said they were eager to help because of D'Amelio.
"We knew it would be something that would be run perfectly," she said.
The scholarships are open to any student attending a high school in Stamford, or a Stamford resident attending a high school outside of Stamford.
Another winner was Julia Schaffer, a Westhill High School student, who received the Dr. Robert B. Goldman/Goldman Orthodontics Scholarship. It is a $1,000, one-year award that Schaffer said will help her at Cornell University, where she intends to study chemistry.
"It's an award specifically for science, and I am passionate about science," she said.
The 21 students and their current school:
- Joseph Aunce - Westhill High School;
- Bridget Collier - Academy of Information Technology & Engineering;
- James Croft - Stamford High School;
- Asia Currie - Stamford Academy;
- Hannah Dougherty - Westhill High School;
- Sean Epp - Trinity Catholic High School;
- Charlie Gorski - Westhill High School;
- Michael Hoherchak - Stamford High School;
- Claire Howlett - Westhill High School;
- Christopher Marcario - Academy of Information Technology & Engineering;
- Wendy Marroquin - Stamford High School;
- Shackeria Mckenzie - Stamford High School;
- Timothy McMullen - Regis High School, New York;
- Samuel Michelson - Academy of Information Technology & Engineering;
- Joselyn Ordonez - Stamford High School;
- Matthew Pascale - Trinity Catholic High School;
- Jonathan Rich - Stamford High School;
- Linda Rivera - Academy of Information Technology & Engineering;
- Nicholas Robinson - Westhill High School;
- Julia Schaffer - Westhill High School; and
- Jessica Stietzel - Stamford High School.