CEF Hands Out Its Annual Scholarships

CEF Hands Out Its Annual Scholarships


College scholarships administered by the Cheshire Education Foundation (CEF) hit a new high-water mark in 2021 with $43,000 being awarded to 12 Cheshire High School seniors.

This year, the Balso Foundation Scholarships became the 10th program managed by CEF.  “Our Board is honored to have been selected this year as the administrator of the Balso Foundation Scholarship,” said CEF Chairman Derek Gromko. “Balso has been providing financial assistance to CHS seniors since 1971, and we intend to continue this generous tradition for many years to come.”

Four CHS seniors were selected by a CEF panel of judges to receive the 2021 Balso Foundation Scholarships. They are Lillian Goerg of Hickory Lane, Ishrat Khan of Mixville Road, Claire Loehmann of Deepwood Drive, and Tina Zhang of Maple Avenue. Each will receive $1,000 per year for their four years of college, a total of $4,000 per student.

This fall, Goerg will attend Salve Regina University, Khan will be a freshman at the University of Connecticut, Loehmann is headed for Fordham University, and Zhang has enrolled at Boston University.

The Balso Foundation was established 50 years ago by the Ball & Socket Manufacturing Company, which called Cheshire home from 1850 until it closed in 1994. Dr. Barry Feldman, who chairs the CEF Scholarship Committee, extended a “huge thank you” to Balso Foundation trustee Frank Loehmann for his confidence and trust in transferring the assets and responsibility for the scholarship program to the Cheshire Education Foundation.

Khan and Zhang are two of the four Cheshire seniors also honored as recipients of the Mark S. Jardim Memorial Scholarship. Along with Julianna Distante of Cortland Circle and Morgan Xu of Westside Road, each will receive an award of $3,500. Distante will attend Syracuse University this fall, and Xu will begin her undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut.

Distante was selected by a separate panel of judges as the winner of the Greg J. Florio, Ed.D. Scholarship, which was endowed by the former Cheshire superintendent of schools. It is a one-time award of $1,000.

The two seniors honored with Don Wailonis Scholarships, which are sponsored by the Dodd PTA, are Olivia Gesler of Juniper Lane, who is headed for Marist College this fall, and Julia Distante.

These scholarships, named in honor of the long-time Dodd Middle School principal, are for $500 each.

The Meaghan Welch Memorial Artistic Scholarship this year goes to Hayden Curello of Stratton Drive. He will use the $3,500 award to help offset costs at Central Connecticut State University this fall.

Two Cheshire High students were selected to receive grants of $1,500 each as the winners of the annual Greg Schena Memorial Scholarship. They are Mark Lindner of Ashley Court, who will be studying at UConn this fall, and Nick DiDomizio of South Brooksvale Road who is preparing to attend the University of Hartford.

The recipient of the Lombardo Family Scholarship is Claire Loehmann of Deepwood Drive. She will receive $1,000 each for her first two semesters at Fordham, where she plans to study Business Administration.

Two Cheshire Class of 2021 graduates will each receive a Daniel P. Martinook Scholarship of $500. They are Brianna Atwater of Lanyon Drive and Kevin O’Connell of Blue Ridge Circle. Atwater has enrolled at Siena College, and  O’Connell is off to Naugatuck Valley Community College.

This year’s recipient of the Chapman School Scholarship is Anna Kochiss of Wolf Hill Road. Kochiss will use her grant of $500 at the University of Vermont.

And the panel of judges that reviewed the applications for the $1,000 Cheshire Education Foundation General Scholarship selected Tina Zhang of Maple Avenue, who will be attending Boston University.

This year, there were 276 applications submitted for the ten scholarship programs. Derek Gromko and Barry Feldman both extended thanks to each person who served on the separate scholarship committees.

“We know that this is time-consuming and difficult since there were so many excellent candidates,” said Feldman.

“The Cheshire Public Schools are fortunate to have such an incredible partner in supporting our students during their public school education,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan. “The Cheshire Education Foundation scholarships support our graduates, and they inspire our current students to pursue their dreams upon graduation from Cheshire High School.”


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