College Honors Scholars and Athletes During Annual Fall Awards Ceremony

PHOTO: Nick Illobre presents an SUNY Orange Foundation scholarship award to a studentMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Having nearly reached the conclusion of the fifth week of its Fall semester, SUNY Orange celebrated the achievements of 84 of its “best and brightest” students during its annual Student Scholarship Awards and Recognition Ceremony held in Orange Hall Theatre this past Thursday evening (Sept. 30).

A sizeable crowd of friends, family members, alumni, classmates and community members filled the intimate theatre for the event, hosted by the SUNY Orange Foundation in conjunction with the College’s scholarship committee. The College’s wide array of academic, community service and athletic scholarships were distributed by Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange President, and Nick Illobre ’71, chairman of the SUNY Orange Foundation.

Illobre and Vinnie Cazzetta, vice president for institutional advancement, welcomed the audience before turning the podium over to biology professor Monty Vacura and student Laurie Raskin. This past spring, Vacura received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon community college faculty in the SUNY system.

Vacura discussed the evolution of education and scientific discovery, and spoke of the advancements that have been made by educated societies. “We have progressed from an earlier day when our ancestors were small bands of hunters and gatherers seeking food for their day-to-day existence, to the current time where we are engaged in space exploration and the challenge of reaching Mars.

“We should think of the world’s knowledge as a big glass of water with some salt in it. The salt represents the misinformed mistakes from the past that were harmful to individuals and society. We have a choice. We can try to pick out all of the salt or we can keep pouring in more water so eventually it gets less bitter,” Vacura explained. “As you begin your new journey for the quest of knowledge, you can try to remove everything that you find distasteful in the world, or you can just pour in more knowledge. The path to truth and knowledge lies before you to be discovered.”

PHOTO: Laurie Raskin speaks to the 2010 Fall Scholarship and Award Ceremony audience“Going to college is a challenge in itself mentally, emotionally and physically, especially for those students who have jobs, families and other extracurricular activities. To be distinguished for our hard work academically and individually is a blessing and a gracious gift,” said Raskin (left), an education student who also is president of the Biology Club and has served as a student senator. “I am extremely touched by this tremendous gift, and I am positive that each of my fellow students in the audience tonight would tell you a similar story of how a scholarship has helped them continue or begin their studies here at SUNY Orange.”

Among the 84 students honored, seven captured three scholarship awards each, including Frank Eder (Westtown, N.Y.), Shelly Kornher (Bloomingburg, N.Y.), Dennis Lankau (Campbell Hall, N.Y.), Elizabeth Lopez-Cortez (Otisville, N.Y.), Heather Quinn (Sparrow Bush, N.Y.), Ethan Weber (Middletown, N.Y.) and Dawn Woods (Warwick, N.Y.)

SUNY Orange grants more than $125,000 in scholarships annually via the Educational Foundation. Typically, incoming and returning students are recognized during the Fall Scholarship and Awards Ceremony while graduating students receive their scholarships in May, just prior to Commencement. The vast majority of SUNY Orange scholarships are funded through the generosity of donors and friends of the College.


Birkin Abreu [Barryville, N.Y.] (Thomas C. Walts Memorial Scholarship, Advance Testing Company Scholarship)
Shaina Barker [Middletown, N.Y.] (Bertha and Nathan Mark Memorial Scholarship)
Matthew Barnes [Monroe, N.Y.] (Charles Toole Memorial Music Award)
Sean Booth [Middletown, N.Y.] (Athletic Scholarship)
Skylar Brundage [Pond Eddy, N.Y.] (Edwin J. & Rachel Dietz Scholarship)
Lauren Byrne [Wurtsboro, N.Y.] (John B. Parkhurst Creative Writing Award)
Kayla Cabacungan [Chester, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Maria Chapman [Port Jervis, N.Y.] (Charles J. Klingman Memorial Scholarship)
Michael Choros [Middletown, N.Y.] (Athletic Scholarship)
Jacqueline Christmann [Monroe, N.Y.] (Orange County Trust Company President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Kaitlyn Davies [Walden, N.Y.] (James Ottaway Jr. Honors Program Scholarship)
Sarah DeGroat [Port Jervis, N.Y.] (John F. Kennedy Memorial Scholarship)
Christopher Dell [Middletown, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Anthony Diaz [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Ruth Curtis Memorial Music Award, Sam and Julia Selkowitz Scholarship for Visual and Performing Arts)
Percy Dixon [Wallkill, N.Y.] (Ada DeGeus Alumni Nursing Scholarship)
Cleopatra Downer-Wright [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Ottaway Scholarship)
Cori Drummond [Goshen, N.Y.] (Vincent Casserly Memorial Scholarship, Goshen Rotary Club Scholarship)
Matthew Drury [Pine Bush, N.Y.] (James Holmbraker Memorial Award)
Frank Eder [Westtown, N.Y.] (Congelosi Family in Memory of Solowinski Family Scholarship, Ingeborg A. Rogge Memorial Nursing Scholarship, Ruth K. and Steve Taffin Memorial Nursing Scholarship)
Lyndsay Fairchild [Bloomingburg, N.Y.] (Orange County Trust Company President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Kiera Fleming [Highland Mills, N.Y.] (Ruth Kassel Scholarship, Kathryn Murphy Memorial Scholarship)
Eli Foorootany [Pine Island, N.Y.] (Jack Polletts Memorial Scholarship)
Barbara Gallagher [Florida, N.Y.] (Carol A. Gregory Grant in Aid Scholarship, Dr. Harold W. Morgans Scholarship)
Catherine Gardella [Bloomingburg, N.Y.] (Ada DeGeus Alumni Nursing Scholarship)
Thomas Giannini [Monroe, N.Y.] (SUNY Orange Foundation Scholarship)
David Gustafson [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Robert B. and Joan M. Rowley Memorial Scholarship)
Blake Hasbrouck [Middletown, N.Y.] (Athletic Scholarship)
Natalie Heady [Hopewell Junction, N.Y.] (Margaret Botti Dental Hygiene Scholarship)
Robert Howell [Florida, N.Y.] (Faculty Perpetual Scholarship)
Robert Hueston [Middletown, N.Y.] (Athletic Scholarship)
Fizza Jaffari (Kaplan Family Foundations Scholarship)
Nicholas Jakubowsky [Middletown, N.Y.] (Orange County Trust Company President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Yanisha James [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Ottaway Scholarship)
Amemou Jean-Baptiste [Otisville, N.Y.] (Paul Rickard Scholarship)
Ashley Kersting [Monroe, N.Y.] (Mary B. Diana Scholarship)
Adrianne Kirk [Glen Spey, N.Y.] (James Ottaway Jr. Honors Program Scholarship)
Shelly Kornher [Bloomingburg, N.Y.] (Marie Ann Dulzer Communication and Theater Scholarship, Sam and Julia Selkowitz Scholarship for Visual and Performing Arts, Caitlin Hammaren Scholarship)
Meghan Lamontagne [Warwick, N.Y.] (SUNY Orange Foundation Scholarship)
Dennis Lankau [Campbell Hall, N.Y.] (Peter Alberghini Inspirational Scholarship, Garden Club of Orange County Scholarship, Jack Goldstein Alumni Memorial Scholarship)
Veronica Layag [Circleville, N.Y.] (Coldwell Banker Currier and Lazier Realtors Scholarship)
Marquis Lee [Brooklyn, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Ming Kit Lo [New Windsor, N.Y.] (Anthony Muratore Memorial Scholarship)
Elizabeth Lopez-Cortez [Otisville, N.Y.] (Louise Hultgren Memorial Scholarship , Gertrude and Reuben Mokotoff Scholarship, Marks/Florence Nightingale Scholarship)
Aaron Mabee [Westtown, N.Y.] (Orange County Trust Company President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Angela Maina [Middletown, N.Y.] (Ottaway Scholarship)
Nicholas Mania [Washingtonville, N.Y.] (Orange County Trust Company President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Samantha Manley [Middletown, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Zachary Menendez [Pine Bush, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Kristen Moeller [Otisville, N.Y.] (Max Menter Memorial Scholarship)
Richard Moeller [New Windsor, N.Y.] (Harold F. Ripley Scholarship)
Kyle Montross [Monroe, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Cassondre Myers [Wallkill, N.Y.] (Dr. Edwin H. Miner Memorial Scholarship)
Tara Oszmanski [Unionville, N.Y.] (Edgar Dass Scholarship)
Jameisha Parker [Haverstraw, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Alexander Parlman [Bullville, N.Y.] (Jake Kriney Family Scholarship)
Samantha Phillips [Chester, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Helene Pierce [New Hampton, N.Y.] (President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Patrick Pierpoint [Goshen, N.Y.] (James Ottaway Jr. Honors Program Scholarship)
Heather Quinn [Sparrow Bush, N.Y.] (Roberta Bernstein Scholarship, Excellence in Physical Therapy Health Professions Scholarship, Daniel Molloy Memorial Scholarship)
Laurie Raskin [Monroe, N.Y.] (George F. Shepard Outstanding Alumni Citizenship Scholarship)
Travis Renwick [Middletown, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Teressa Romanowicz [Walden, N.Y.] (Judelson, Giordano & Siegel, P.C. Accounting Scholarship)
Barbara Schafer [Westtown, N.Y.] (SUNY Orange Foundation Scholarship, Staniewski Nursing Scholarship
Britney Schoonmaker [Middletown, N.Y.] (James Ottaway Jr. Honors Program Scholarship)
Arielle Sharp [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Kaplan Family Foundations Scholarship)
Timothy Short [Wappingers Falls, N.Y.] (Charles C. and Vivian Chappell Scholarship)
Aaron Smith [Glen Spey, N.Y.] (SUNY Orange Foundation Scholarship)
Elliott Smith [Pine Island, N.Y.] (Edward Morrison Memorial Honors Scholarship, Boyd Foundation Scholarship)
Erika Smith [Chester, N.Y.] (Gregory Edward Allen Scholarship)
Julie Smith [Highland Mills, N.Y.] (OTA Alumni Scholarship)
Virginia Smith [Middletown, N.Y.] (Ottaway Scholarship)
Samantha Stanaway [Chester, N.Y.] (H. Seeley McClure Memorial Scholarship)
Paweennut Sukarome [Middletown, N.Y.] (SUNY Orange Foundation Scholarship)
Deborah Swyka [Westtown, N.Y.] (President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Patricia Tannachion [Highland Mills, N.Y.] (Raymond Raimondi Alumni Memorial Scholarship, John B. Parkhurst Creative Writing Award)
Marie Touzin [Middletown, N.Y.] (Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship)
Abram VanHassel [Westtown, N.Y.] (George F. Shepard Outstanding Alumni Citizenship Scholarship)
Mirna Vazquez [Newburgh, N.Y.] (Edgar Dass Scholarship)
Katelynn Vyas [Middletown, N.Y.] (Middletown Kiwanis Club Scholarship)
Brandon Walker [Otisville, N.Y.] (Athletic Scholarship)
Michelle Walpole [Newburgh, N.Y.] (President’s Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement)
Ethan Weber [Middletown, N.Y.] (Jim Lynch Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Paul and Ida Lipschutz Scholarship, John J. McMahon Leadership Scholarship)
Ceara Williams [Liberty, N.Y.] (Chris Schmid Athletic Scholarship)
Dawn Woods [Warwick, N.Y.] (Alice Curtis Desmond Memorial Scholarship, Shepard and Edna Pryluck Scholarship, New York State Federation of Home Bureaus Scholarship in honor of Vertrees Ackerly)
Aaron Zimmerman [Greenfield Park, N.Y.] (Chris Chachis Sportsmanship Alumni Memorial Scholarship)

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940