The Garden City Scholarship Fund is pleased to announce that Mairead Pfaff has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Fund’s Julia Maloney Scholarship. Mairead is the twentieth Garden City High School senior to receive this prestigious award. The scholarship was made possible by a generous bequest of the late Julia Maloney, an elementary school teacher in Garden City for 47 years. The announcement of the award, which comes with an education grant of $12,000 over four years, was made at the annual Senior Awards Ceremony at the High School on May 31st.
Selection for the Julia Maloney Scholarship is based on academic excellence, character, service to school and community, a personal interview and an essay describing a teacher who has had a strong positive influence on the student. The essay is read by the student at graduation and the celebrated teacher is present.
In addition to maintaining an outstanding academic record, Mairead demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial prowess by creating “Ribbon Creations” at the age of ten, a business customizing hair bows with direct sales to teams/coaches, athletic and community events and retail sales through local stores. In her role as a volunteer for Garden City Challenger Lacrosse, Mairead volunteered her time to teach lacrosse to children with special needs. “Mariead teaches everyone around her”, commented a Garden City resident who watched Mairead empower everyone around her including volunteers. Mairead has been playing the clarinet for Garden City’s band since 8th grade.
To cap off her list of accomplishments Mairead has been a compettive Irish Step Dancer performing in competitive and non-competive events throughout the year with the Donny Golden School of Dance since 2004.
For her essay, Mairead wrote about her teacher, Mr. D’Ambrosio who taught her “You are more than just a number, so much more.” Mairead shared “He taught me to think critically at a level not previously asked of me.” Mr. D’Ambrosio will retire this year and the Julia Maloney Committee would like to share that he was the selected teacher by four of the eleven finalists for this award. In their interviews students said, “We want Mr. D’Ambrosio to win because it’s hard to give him presents.”
Julia Maloney is smiling from heaven because the spirit of the award she created is alive and well in its recipients twenty years after it’s inception.
Mairead will be attending The University of Notre Dame in the fall. We wish her great success as she takes the messages of Mr. D’Ambrosio and the late Julia Maloney to inspire others to give back and to remember we are all “more than just a number.”