Four seniors from Warwick Veterans Memorial High School have been named recipients of the 2012 Rep. Frank Ferri Leadership Award scholarship.
The winners are Amanda Graves, Katelyn Ravenell, Kristen Gregory and Lindsey Callahan. Each will receive a $500 scholarship.
Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) established the scholarship with the waiver payment he receives for declining the state-paid health insurance he could receive as a state representative. Representative Ferri buys his health insurance through the business he owns, Town Hall Lanes, a bowling center in Johnston, and when he won election to the House of Representatives in 2007, he planned to save taxpayers’ money by opting out of the state insurance plan. Later he found out that turning down the insurance would result in a waiver payment for him, so he decided to fund a scholarship so the money would be used for his community. Since the waiver payment was reduced by half beginning in 2011, Representative Ferri now supplements the scholarship funding himself.
“I am so proud of the great kids we have in our community and the initiative they’re taking to succeed and make the world a better place. I’d like to congratulate them all and wish them well as they set out to make their mark on the world,” said Ferri. “I also feel truly fortunate to be able to help students in some way, because I understand how hard it can be to pay for college. The scholarship program has become especially meaningful to me since I became chairman of the House Commission on Public Higher Education Accessibility and Affordability. Most students really need all the financial assistance they can get.”
The scholarships were open to graduating seniors of Warwick Veterans High School as well as students from House District 22 graduating from other schools.
This year, all the winners will be attending schools in Rhode Island. Graves will attend Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and Rhode Island College (RIC) to pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Ravenell will also attend CCRI and RIC for a bachelor’s in special education. Gregory is set to enroll in the University of Rhode Island. Callahan plans to pursue a political science degree at RIC.
Applicants were selected for their leadership and work toward equality and fairness for all, as well as academic and extracurricular achievements. They were also asked to submit a brief essay responding to the following statement from Bernadette Devlin: “Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.”