2012 Scholarship Recipients

Jonathan Berman

Westhill High School

Jonathan began his community service involvement earlier than most of us. At the age of four he already was volunteering with his family to serve lunch at the Stamford Soup Kitchen at the Yerwood Center, where he still serves.

Among his many endeavors both in the community and at school, Jonathan is especially known for Connecticut Kids for Charity, the group he and his older brother started seven years ago. The group organizes Stamford elementary school students to raise funds for UNICEF when Trick or Treating and raises awareness of the importance of participating in community service. From his first year, when they raised $800 with one school, to having involved over time 14 schools, Jonathan has helped raise a total of some $70,000 . In fact, through his leadership, this Stamford student-led group has become one of the top seven fundraising groups for UNICEF in the country. Additionally, two years ago, Jonathan founded Westhill High School’s UNICEF Club which focuses on engaging Stamford’s youngest citizens to give time in a fun effort that can literally save lives.

Jonathan has been a member of Westhill’s Debate Team for four years, serving this last year as its co-caption, as well as a member of the Mock Trial Team and Interact Club. He is a member of the Westhill’s National Honor Society and volunteers in its free afterschool tutoring service. And, he also is a magician, who uses his skills to cheer patients in the hospital.

Joshua Friedman

Westhill High School

In addition to Josh’s accomplished academic achievements, he has continually displayed a humanity and humility in all his civic and community service.

Josh began volunteering for The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County as a young child with his family and began his own initiative in 5th grade. Over the years he has logged in many hours, assisting in fundraisers, special events, stocking shelves and collecting food. He has also dedicated time to volunteering in the Stamford Hospital Emergency Room, in the Special Olympics, in the Midnight Run in New York City and as a tutor in Students Assisting Students.

Josh is one of two students appointed by Governor Malloy to the State’s Board of Education 2011-2012 to represent all Connecticut students and to provide a student perspective to statewide policy. Although a nonvoting member, Josh has been able to contribute to an adult-dominated dialog on issues ranging from special education laws and school curriculums to the achievement gap and reconstitution of the Bridgeport Board of Education. He also sits on the State Student Advisory Council on Education.

Currently Josh is president of Westhill’s National Honor Society and its Interact Club, and past president of the Latin Club. He has also served as the ombudsman for Westhill’s school newspaper, a position that ensures all articles contained ideas that are handled with sensitivity and objectivity.

Allison Macari

Westhill High School

Allison has given generously her talent, energy and time to Stamford’s youth and Westhill High School. In fact, her total hours served adds up to more than 1,700! Among her numerous accomplishments, Allison is a founding member and secretary of Westhill’s Heart to Heart Club where she has been a driving force, recruiting others to become engaged in its various causes and supporting the concept that helping others means helping oneself to be a better person. Their efforts have ranged from Brady’s Smiles, providing educational materials for children in Connecticut hospitals, to Jeans for Teens, donating clothing for the homeless nationwide, and Crutches 4 Kids for earthquake victims in Haiti and Japan.

Described as a superb athlete, Allison has played a major role in Stamford’s Youth Basketball Program for Boys and the Youth Softball Program for Girls. In basketball, she has been the program’s backbone for the past three years, serving as a coach and league commissioner. In the softball program for the past four years, Allison has been a key player in Westhill’s winning softball program and a volunteer at the school’s summer softball camp and clinics.

Allison also is a residential coordinator for Stamford-based Friends of ARI (Always Reaching for Independence); a Best Buddies teammate, playing basketball with special needs students; a coordinator for Rae’s Day for teen suicide awareness; and as a Westhill field hockey team captain, is one of its leaders for the school’s breast cancer fundraiser .

Zhenya Nalywayko

Stamford High School

Zhenya, or Z as he is called by those who know him, has successfully mastered the art of effectively using his time and energy, and he gives of both generously.

As a member of ALTA (Aspiring Leadership Through Action), Z tutors Spanish­ speaking students in need of extra help in any and all of their academic areas. As a member of the National Honor Society, his activities have focused on food drives. And as the captain of Stamford High’s soccer team, Z ran the team’s preseason conditioning session this year and helped organize fundraising.

As a Sunday school teacher at the First United Methodist Church for the past three years, Z has worked with the prekindergarten, kindergarten and 1st graders on a regular basis and has been responsible for helping these young people form their beliefs. In both high school and Sunday school, Z has been a leader able to galvanize and build trust among the individuals and groups with whom he works.

Every summer since 6th grade, Z has traveled to Appalachia in Kentucky to volunteer in this isolated, rural distressed area of our country. Over his many trips helping to fix and rebuild homes, he has become a Youth Leader and has developed a fellowship with the people who live there. In addition, through his membership in the church’s Missions and Outreach Committee, Z has served as a disaster-relief worker on homes for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Woody Pierre

–– High School

Woody is a young man who has recognized how to leverage opportunities presented to him to learn and grow so that he can better help those around him. He is an organized self-starter who is very motivated in all he does: in school, after school and in the community.

A member of the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford for more than 10 years, Woody is very involved in numerous aspects of the club. He is an amazing role model who exemplifies the club’s mission to enable our youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Woody has been an outstanding member of the Keystone Club, the Boys and Girls Club high school leadership group, and has been involved in many of its community projects and activities.

Within Keystone, he has served in LEAP (Leaders Educated As Philanthropists), where he was one of three teens selected by Person-to-Person to travel to Kenya to help rebuild a school in the slums of Kibera, an experience that forever changed him and further grew his heart, compassion and support for those less fortunate.

Woody also has successfully learned the art of time management. In addition to his volunteer work with Keystone and LEAP, he has become a staff member at the club, working five days a week with 8 to 10 year old boys as well as mentoring other youths, all the while taking on AP classes and maintaining his GPA. He has demonstrated great leadership and truly leads by example.

Diane Yang

Stamford High School

Throughout her high school career, Diane has been immersed in all aspects of life both at Stamford High and throughout in the city. She has been a role model to her peers in and out of the classroom.

Through Build-On, Stamford High’s largest volunteer service club and where she serves as its publicity officer, Diane has participated in a range of projects from clean-ups at Cove Island Park to working at a “senior prom” for the elderly at the Jewish Community Center. She also has been involved in various fundraisers to help build schools in developing countries such as Haiti, Nicaragua and Mali. And she still finds time to be on the Varsity Swim and Cross-Country teams.

As a joyful presence for many years at Scofield Manor residential care home, Diane interacts with its residents weekly, sometimes bringing her guitar to play and sing for them; other times this gifted artist brings her supplies to draw portraits of the residents and to do arts and crafts projects.

Diane is Stamford High’s #1 academic ranked student, and as a member of the Math Team, she was chosen to represent Connecticut in national competition. Active in MATHCOUNTS, she coaches middle school students in competitive math. Diane, who is fluent in Spanish and Chinese, has been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English for outstanding performance in writing, to mention just one of her numerous achievement and recognition awards.