The Rotary Club of West Chester, the Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Passport Club of West Chester joined together in choosing and awarding three high school graduates $2,000 college scholarships each. The scholarship recipients were chosen based on essays they wrote about their volunteerism, based on the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.” Letters of recommendation from school administrators added verification of the students’ volunteer work.
Receiving scholarships from John Abitabilo (left) and Robbe Healey (right) are Reagan Peri (second from left) and Taylor Krafchick. Also receiving a scholarship was Chinonye Moneme, (center, pictured with from left) David Sweet, Nathan Keisler, Chinonye’s father, John Abitabilo, and Jim Gasho.
The principal and teachers at East High School wrote that Chinonye Moneme, “is a leader in diversity awareness, and tutors other students. She participated in a food drive for Martine Luther King Day of Service. She was also an elementary school mentor, and sent cards to veterans and senior citizens. In addition, she was the school’s cross country manager, and worked on clean-up projects.”
“I have learned the importance of little things each day,’” said Chinonye. She will attend Boston University in the fall, studying mechanical engineering with a focus on environmental renewable energy.
Taylor Krafchick, a graduate of Rustin High School, oversaw student CPR certification, and provided educational support to middle school children in the Youth of STEM Training organization when she saw the need to help students and their families, and what they were dealing with as a result of the pandemic. She wrote articles for the non-profit, Girls in White Coats, cleaned kennels and walked dogs for La Mancha Animal Rescue. She also helped with the Hanging of the Greens in West Chester borough.
One letter of recommendation stated, "Tyler is an amazing young person….driven, intelligent and hardworking.” A second letter noted, “I can attest that Taylor is a committed member of the community, giving back whenever she can.” Taylor will attend the University of Virginia.
Reagan Weldon Peri, also a Rustin graduate, works with the West Chester Thrive service organization that helps teens thrive by living a healthy lifestyle, and made over 300 masks for essential workers and food pantries for COVID protection. On behalf of the National Art Honor Society, she organized the initiative to make holiday cards for residents of Fair Acres She also helped low income families shop at a free holiday “store” at the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) as part of Holiday Hope Chest.
Letters of recommendation noted that “Reagan will not only shine in her years at college, but also bring out the best in those around her.” “She is always there to help out, and lend a hand. I can always count on her to organize activities and community service projects with confidence, noted another writer. Reagan will attend Wilkes University.
Members of the Excellence in Community Service and Volunterism Scholarship Committee were David Sweet and Nancy Paist-Riches of the Sunrise Club, Debbie Sahijwani of the Passport Club, and Nathan Keisler and John Abatable of the lunch club. Applicants were solicited from Rustin, Henderson and East High Schools. Five students applied for the scholarships.