Posted on Jun 08, 2020

Today, the Summit/New Providence Rotary Club proudly celebrated its 95th consecutive year of awarding college/university scholarships to outstanding high school students from New Providence and Summit.  This was also a first for the SNP Rotary as the presentation of the awards was made in a digital meeting using Zoom.

SNP President Don Steele introduced Mike Katz, co-chair with Jay Leatherbee, of the Scholarship Committee which selected the recipients.  Mike then had the honor of introducing the superintendent of the New Providence Public Schools and a fellow Rotarian, Dr. David Miceli, who introduced the principal of the NPHS, Lauren Zirpoli.  Ms. Zirpoli then introduced our first recipient, William Leo Mormile, who was awarded the Chan and Jane Coddington memorial scholarship.  Leo will attend the College of New Jersey, where he will study music education.

Mike then introduced Robert Gardella, acting superintendent of the Summit Public Schools, who in turn introduced Stacy Grimaldi, principal of the Summit High School.  Ms. Grimaldi introduced the recipients of scholarships from SHS.  Isaiah Shakir was awarded the Wilbur Nelson memorial scholarship.  Isaiah will attend Seton Hall in the fall and plans to major in chemistry.  Michael Bermudez was awarded the Bud Smith memorial scholarship.  Michael, who emigrated from Colombia at age eleven, will attend Rutgers in the fall to study biochemistry and hopes to pursue a career in medical research.  Julissa Lopez was our next recipient.  Julissa will attend Monmouth University, where she plans to study healthcare/kinesiology.  Andy Toxtle was our final recipient.  Andy will attend Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he plans to study art and graphic design.

The SNP Rotary has been awarding grants to deserving young scholars from our local schools since 1926.  The awards are based on four criteria: academics, extra-curricular activities, community involvement and financial need.  We have never missed a year, not during the great depression or World War II, and had no intention of being impacted by a global pandemic in 2020. 

We present the named scholarships to honor past Rotarians who have exhibited outstanding public service to the community.  This year’s scholarships honored Wilbur Nelson, Watson “Bud” Smith, and Chandler Coddington.  Wilbur, Bud, and Chan all served the community in multiple ways – through volunteering with many, many non-profit services, holding elected office, and through numerous generous donations.  Each one of these Rotarians has exemplified Rotary’s primary tenet: Service Above Self.  Members of the Smith, Nelson and Coddington families were present to observe today’s awards ceremony.

The Rotary would like to thank Mike Katz, Jay Leatherbee, Roger Mehner, Peter Bolton and Beth McKenna for serving on the scholarship committee and undertaking the considerable work required to vet all the applicants and make the final selection of the recipients.

And lastly, all the Rotarians want to wish our 2020 scholarship recipients our congratulations for earning these grants and for long and productive careers in their chosen fields and hope that they will always keep in mind Rotary’s basic tenet – Service Above Self.