Applications are now available for the Rep. Frank Ferri Leadership Award scholarships for graduating seniors.
Four $500 scholarships will be awarded this year, and any graduating senior who attends Warwick Veterans High School or who lives in House District 22 but attends another school is invited to apply. (To find out your district, visit www.sec.state.ri.us/vic/.) The funds can be designated for college, technical school or training that leads to certification for a trade. The award will be presented to four graduating seniors who have demonstrated leadership and worked toward equality and fairness for all.
Students will be asked to complete a brief application available from the Warwick Veterans High School Guidance Office and the office of the Warwick Beacon, 1944 Warwick Ave. Applicants must submit a transcript, a letter of recommendation and a resume or list of their scholastic achievements and extracurricular activities, and write a one-page essay responding to the following statement from Bernadette Devlin: “Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.”
Completed applications can be submitted to the Warwick Veterans High School Guidance Office or mailed to: Rep. Frank Ferri Leadership Award, 38 Lippitt Ave., Warwick, RI 02889. The application deadline is April 30.
The scholarship program was established in 2008 by Representative Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) 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 his business, Town Hall Lanes, a bowling center in Johnston, and when he won election to the House of Representatives, he planned to save taxpayers money by opting out of the state insurance plan. Later, when he found out that turning down the insurance would result in a $2,000 waiver payment, he decided to use the money to set up the scholarship for students in his community. This year, the waiver payment was reduced to $1,000, but Representative Ferri will make up the difference to continue offering the amount in scholarships.
For the past year, Representative Ferri has served as chairman of the Special House Commission to Study Public Higher Education Affordability and Accessibility in Rhode Island, which has traveled around the state to hear the testimony of college officials as well as Rhode Islanders who struggle to gain access to higher education as its price increases.
“Through the work of our committee, I’ve become more aware of the crisis we’ve reached in terms of how the cost of attending college has skyrocketed out of the reach of Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Ferri. “Making college affordable has to be a high priority for our state, and I intend for our commission to recommend changes that can make it possible. Meanwhile, I’m glad to do what I can to help a few students in my district each year. It’s a privilege that I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy.”