Annual Santora Scholarship Fund Honors Students

By Jason D. Antos Western Queens Gazette

Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund honoree Katherine DeCrescenzo with Alexander and Maureen Santora.

Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund honoree Katherine DeCrescenzo with Alexander and Maureen Santora.

On June 13, the 13th Annual Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund dinner dance was held at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria.

The program provides more than $60,000 in scholarships each year to firefighters and public school students who seek higher education.

Santora’s parents Alexander and Maureen Santora presented the scholarships to local public school students. The awards were given based on essays students wrote on the topic, “What Is the Difference between a Hero and a Legend?”

“When the essays are submitted the youngsters’ identification is removed before it goes to the judges,” Maureen explained. “The judges don’t know who wrote them, what their ethnicity is, or whether they were written by a boy or girl.”

Also present were United Community Civic Association (UCCA) President Rose Marie Poveromo and Councilmember Costa Constantinides and Terry Kasapis representing Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, who handed out City Council and Assembly proclamations, respectively.

This year’s scholarship winners included Sophia Silverstein, Eliana Kerrigan, Jennifer Bravo, Ahbab Ashraf, Ethan Stark-Miller and Brittany Bernstein, who were awarded school scholarships; Tasfia Bashar who received the Kathleen Parrett Memorial Award; Daniela Morales who received the George and Veronica Crethan Award; Robert Nash, John McGee, Samantha Saporito and Nicholas Conte, who received FDNY scholarships; and

Katherine DeCrescenzo, who was presented with the George Crethan, Dave Smith and Jack Raskin CCC Award.

Christopher Santora was the youngest member of the FDNY, (only 23), when he was killed at the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

“This is an occasion to not only remember our son Christopher, but all those who lost their lives on that day and also those who have died while defending our nation,” Alexander Santora, himself a former firefighter, said.

Also honored was Congressmember Peter King, who was named the 2014 Man of the Year.

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