Friends of Staten Island Campus Support the Dream of Higher Education

Friday, September 13, 2013

At a time when most families need to conserve their financial resources, students who are accepted to St. John’s University will benefit from the generosity of others through a variety of endowed scholarships available to undergraduates who attend the Staten Island campus.

“Our aim is to help students—and their families—enjoy all the advantages of pursuing their education at the Staten Island campus,” said Theresa Cantarella, Director of Enrollment Services. “What’s extremely satisfying is helping students find the funds that enable them to enroll and complete their education at St. John’s.”  

Last year, 94 percent of St. John’s undergraduates received financial aid, as the University distributed $477 million in assistance and scholarships.

One example at Staten Island is the endowed Sr. Julia Heslin/OPTIONS Scholarship which is designated for economically disadvantaged students who come from out of state. Funded through the fundraising efforts of Sr. Julia Heslin, S.C., the program offers students financial assistance and academic support. “Paying for college is hard,” said Rahzel Bright ’16C, a recipient. “I am happy to say that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

The Sr. Helen Flynn Scholarship was created in 1982 by the alumnae of Notre Dame College. Sr. Helen Flynn founded the college, which merged with St. John’s in 1971. The scholarship, among the oldest at the Staten Island campus, is offered to an incoming freshman who is a close relative of a graduate of the campus or that of a Notre Dame alumna. “My parents are both Staten Island alumni,” said Alyssa Ferraiuolo ’14Ed. “Thanks to this scholarship, I’m able to follow in their footsteps.”
In the wake of 9/11, Jacqueline O’Mara Cannizzaro ’93NDC, ’96GEd created the Brian Cannizzaro Endowed Scholarship in memory of her late husband, Brian Cannizzaro ’93NDC, a firefighter who died in the attacks. “As an undergrad, Brian was very involved at the Staten Island campus,” said Cantarella. “When he passed away, Jacqueline felt a fitting way to honor his memory was to create a scholarship in his name.” Preference for the scholarship is given to children of a deceased firefighter or relatives of a 9/11 victim.

Established in 2002, the John J. and Charlotte Harmon Scholarship is awarded to young people from one of several local parishes that the Harmon Funeral Home served. Since its inception in 2002, the scholarship has awarded $208,500 in assistance to deserving students, such as Michael Kroczynski ’15TCB. “This scholarship makes me appreciate that people are willing to help others fulfill their dreams,” said Kroczynski. “It gives me the inspiration to dedicate myself to my studies in memory of the Harmons.” Eligible parishes are the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Church of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Good Council and Chapel of St. Paul/Church of the Assumption.

According to Cantarella, there are approximately 20 endowed scholarships unique to the Staten Island campus and many University-wide endowed scholarship and financial aid opportunities. While not every student receives endowed scholarship assistance, St. John’s does its best to help out deserving applicants. “We’d love to offer every student some sort of endowed scholarship award but the funds are limited,” said Cantarella. “I’m blessed and privileged to be able to help students when I can.”