2013 Scholarship Recipients

Eric Altamura

Stamford High School

Eric’s commitment to create positive change in Stamford is strongly reflected in his community service and leadership accomplishments. Selected by Bank of America to represent its commitment to community service, Eric participated in its Student Leader program at the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford where he had the opportunity to work there in different roles, gaining an overview of the operations of a nonprofit. His inter- action with six and seven-year olds was inspiring. Besides directing them during camp in activities, he worked with them on their academics, teaching and monitoring their progress. Also as part of the BOA program, Eric participated in a week-long leadership summit in Washington, D.C., where he led a team of students to victory at its “Military Service Learning Project: Operation Serve. Inspire. Change.”

As an active member of buildOn since his freshman year, Eric has served on its officer team, currently as co-president, and has been responsible for organizing and running a variety of community service projects as well as planning the weekly meetings at Stamford High. Very involved with literacy, Eric is chief student peer advisor in ALTA (Aspiring Leadership Through Action) at school, tutoring in this program aimed at eliminating the achievement gap in Latino students. His commitment to literacy is also reflected in his volunteering as an early literature/youth education assistant teaching and reading to young children at Our Lady of Grace Convent. And, for several years he has been a volunteer at Stamford Hospital and for its Bennett Cancer Walk.

An avid soccer player Eric was captain of Stamford High’s soccer team his first three years in high school, and he has been elected as class president for his last three years.

Thomas Alex Lyons

Stamford High School

Entrepreneurial with a huge heart is one of the best ways to describe Alex, who in his sophomore year at Stamford High and working for BlueStreak Sports Training, approached the company’s president with a proposal for a scholarship program for Stamford’s inner-city youth athletes. His plan: to donate 100 of his payable hours to these kids to enable them to partake in the BlueStreak Program. The program is for individualized sport-specific training to give kids a competitive advantage and to build strength and self-confidence. Now in his senior year, Alex has been instrumental bringing BlueStreak and the Stamford Youth Foundation together to establish the Marcus Dixon scholarship to further support our inner-city children. Since his freshman year, he also has been a student aide for the Special Olympics – Unified Sports, physically assisting special ed students at Stamford High in their participation in athletic programs.

Beyond the sports arena, Alex’s community service has included being a volunteer at Our Lady of the Sea Bible Camp, working with children in a range of capacities from dressing up in costume, to storytelling, to making snacks. He quickly rose to the position of the volunteer co-director of the camp planning, organizing and directing activities. Additionally he is an active member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council, participating in initiatives to further the council’s mission of social philanthropy.

Alex has served in Stamford High’s student government for all four years there, most recently as both vice president and secretary of the Class of 2013, and he has been on its varsity track and field and cross-country teams, currently serving as the latter’s team captain. He is the editor-in-chief of its 2013 yearbook and a member of the National Honor Society.

Jason Rathman

Stamford High School

A commitment to and curiosity about the world around him is reflected in Jason’s dedication to community service and the understanding of other cultures both here and abroad. Jason has been very involved with buildOn since his freshman year, currently serving as vice president of global education on its officer leadership team at Stamford High. buildOn works domestically to engage young adults in community service and global education as well as fundraising to sponsor the construction of a school internationally. Jason was one of three students selected from Stamford High to go to Nicaragua as a member of Trek for Knowledge to live in a village and construct a buildOn a school.

Jason also has been involved with Global Works, which provides community service, cultural exchange, and language immersion programs. With Global Works Jason has traveled to Ecuador and served to help build a children’s physical therapy center for a hospital, a recycling center and public bathrooms, and to Costa Rica to participate in environmental service projects including the cleaning up of Hacienda Barú, a national wildlife refuge.

As president of the Interact Club for the past four years, Jason has connected fellow students with community service projects of their own in Stamford and helped lead fundraising efforts for domestic causes such as hurri- cane relief. He has served as a weekly tutor for 4th and 5th graders at Newfield Elementary with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and as president of his National Honor Society, he runs and volunteers in the Homework Center, where members tutor underclassmen. Jason is also a member of Friends at Home, which is part of the Friendship Circle, where he visits with a special needs child, helping him to develop vital social skills.

Adam Tisser

Academy of Information
Technology & Engineering

For many years Adam has demonstrated an extraordinary, empathetic commitment to special needs children through his time with both Angelfish Therapy and the Friendship Circle Program. With Angelfish Therapy, which offers pediatric aquatic therapy, swim lessons and summer camps for special needs children who require occupational and physical therapy, Adam has volunteered for many years in various settings from the Jewish Community Center (JCC) to sleep away camp. At Camp Angelfish, his service has ranged from assisting two young boys on the autistic spectrum with daily living activities during their experience away to working with siblings of children with special needs. He has been responsible for motivating campers at varying levels of need to participate in group activities, modifying activities so they could feel successful.

As a volunteer with the Friendship Circle of Fairfield County, where he has been a volunteer since 2009, Adam spends time with a special needs peer on a weekly basis, empowering him and making an awesome difference in the life of a child that would otherwise not have social interaction with typical peers. In 2011 Adam became the president of AITE’s Friendship Circle and is currently serving on the Friendship Circle County Teen Board, which represents high schools in the county. Additional leadership positions Adam has held include vice president of the Spanish National Honors Society, treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America and point guard on his basketball team.

Adam’s co-curricular involvement also has included working with students at AITE about the transition from middle school to high school, Junior Achievement, Franklin Forum, Stamford Peace AAU Basketball and with the JCC, participating in the Midnight Run, distributing food and clothes to the homeless in New York City

Dawn Winsor

Stamford High School

Dawn Winsor has had the unique experience of working with her family from an early age to help establish Stamford Robotics. As a result, she has become well known and respected for advancing interest among our youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), entrepreneurship education and the empowerment of girls and young women.

As the organizer of Stamford’s LEGO Exposition and Competition, Dawn has worked tirelessly to promote STEM to elementary school students, and she is the cofounder and president of Stamford High’s Robotics Club, where she arranges student participation in the annual Junior FIRST LEGO League (JFLL) Expo, an effort that she has herself has participated in since 2002.

An innovator and mentor, Dawn also has been involved with youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford where she has provided leadership for coaches and teams formed for JFLL. She has provided similar leadership for the teams at the Committee on Training & Employment (now called NEON), and has mentored teams and coached her peers at other organizations and schools such as the Stamford YMCA, Hart, King Low Heywood Thomas, KT Murphy and Stillmeadow. Dawn also has extensive experience as a technical judge, core values judge and research presentation judge at various FLL regional and state competitions.

In addition to Stamford Robotics, Dawn has been immersed in many other aspects of school and community: at school, she is the news editor of Stamford High’s paper, The Round Table, and is on the hockey and lacrosse teams; in the community, she has been a volunteer with Ferguson Library, the Girl Scouts, Kiwanis, 100 Black Men of Stamford, Junior Achievement, Stamford Historical Society, Stamford Museum & Nature Center and the American Red Cross.