Twenty-five of the 28 kids that were finalists will receive $1,500 in scholarship money, and that’s nice for any family sending their son or daughter away to school.
So just imagine the elation on the faces of Michael and Donna Greenburg when they found out that son Corey had taken home the grand prize — a cool $10,000 that will go toward his tuition at UConn.
“They were overwhelmed,” said Greenburg, whose father is an author. “It’s a lot of money. I was thinking I was gonna get the $1,500. Anything would’ve been great. So this is just unbelievable.”
Dad added that writing “is something he sees me doing all the time. So I guess he got the knack for it.”
Terene Finnigan of Lynn Classical, bound for Union, was runner-up and came away with $7,500 in scholarship money. Greg Reinhold, from South Portland, Maine and headed for UConn, was the honorable mention finisher and will get $5,000.
Another interesting aspect of the night was how the 10 of the 15 runners on the Charitable Foundation’s marathon team were in attendance. This year, for the first time, the money raised through the marathon was directed to a single cause (this one), which allowed the runners to connected more with what they were competing for.
So for Josh Kraft, the foundation’s president, that was one nice thing about the way the whole night came together. But there are deeper lessons he hopes come from this.
“The three issues, when I was speaking, I think are so important,” Kraft said. “One, it’s about different groups coming together — Parents, teachers, the charitable foundation, the runners — to make something great happen. Secondly, it reinforces the importantly, it reinforces the influence of community service. And thirdly, in this day and age of two-word texts, and 140-character Twitter, having the skill to write expressively is gonna get kids far, because a lot of kids aren’t gonna be able to do it.”
Patriots legend and executive director of community affairs Andre Tippett was also in attendance and could connect, on one level, with a lot of the kids in attendance. He too went to college on scholarship, albeit a different kind.
“I always cherish the fact that I was on a scholarship,” said Tippett, who has a child in college and two more preparing to. “I was very lucky, and I knew that I was lucky to be able to get a full scholarship that really took care of my whole education. Not many of us are fortunate enough to get that, and when you get it, you must cherish it.
“You see the joy and the happiness in the families, and you know what kind of relief that’s going to put on the family and just ease the burden for a lot of them along the way. The kids worked hard. It was a contest, it was a competition, and a lot of these kids, you can tell they’re very competitive through their writing. It’s a special time and the parents just beaming. They’re just so proud and happy with their kids.”
Pretty cool deal, all the way around, and an interesting one to attend.