Meghan Sheridan wins annual Robert Curatolo scholarship

Charlie De Biase Jr. Staten Island Advance

Meghan Sheridan is a recent graduate of St. Joseph Hill and although she selected a college of her choice during her tenure at the Arrochar school, she’s known for quite some time what her calling in life would be.

And she said just as much matter-of-factly.

“Through the inspiration of my dad, my lifelong dream has also been to serve the community,” said Sheridan, noting her father, Thomas, is a retired city police officer and mother, Mary, is a New York City public school teacher. “In the fall, I will be attending the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia as a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy student.”

Sheridan’s stirring essay on the positive influence her father had on her as a person and athlete alike played a major part in being named the 14th annual Robert Curatolo Scholarship Fund (RCSF) winner.

She is the first Hill student to win the RCSF.

The 18-year-old Sheridan, a four-year varsity softball player who plans on trying out for Sciences’ NCAA division 2 softball squad, was deeply appreciative after learning she was the newest recipient of the RCSF.

“It’s a privilege for me to receive this scholarship named after a true hero in Robert Curatolo,” said Sheridan, a Westerleigh resident. “His bravery, and that of the NYPD and FDNY, is what makes this city the best in the world.”

She said her dad, who is her hero, didn’t know Robert Curatolo personally, but that he admires and respects the man who “ran head on into danger to save the lives of others.”

Sheridan said her dad did a admirable job as a city police officer, making over 800 arrests and taking on numerous hours of overtime to make sure she, her sister and two brothers could attend Catholic elementary and high schools. She said she is getting scholarship money toward her college education, but made it clear the RCSF will help her immensely just the same.

“Although I have received scholarship money from my school, it is (still) very expensive and I fear going into an immense amount of debt,” she said. “The (RCSF will) help me financially and give me even more of the motivation that I need to push myself to be the best I can be for others. It (will) help take the financial burden off my parents’ shoulders, (as well as) mine.”

Curatolo, a lifelong Rosebank resident and New York City firefighter assigned to Ladder 16 in Manhattan, was one of the 343 firefighters who perished in the World Trade Center attacks and rescue effort on Sept. 11, 2001. The Curtis HS grad had just ended a 24-hour shift at his midtown firehouse when he raced to the Twin Towers to aid in the rescue effort.

Curatolo played varsity baseball and basketball at Curtis HS and coached at the high school and grammar school levels for many years.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a high school senior who participates in baseball or softball and has a parent or guardian who is an active or retired city police officer, firefighter or NY/NJ Port Authority police officer. Candidates must be students in good academic standing, display strong personal character and plan on attending college.

The $5,000 scholarship is sent to the college admissions or bursar’s office in the name of the student recipient.

RCSF committee members Eddie Joseph and Greg De Biase said Sheridan’s honest approach in her essay was very impressive.

“I was impressed with her passion for being honest, especially the fact she acknowledged she’s getting scholarship money (from her college), but said it’s still not enough to completely help the family financially,” said Joseph. “I get a true sense she gets what life is all about, and that she did so at a very young age.”

“Meghan is well-spoken and I think it’s obvious that her father did have a positive impact on her life in general,” added De Biase. “She describes her dad as selflessly serving people and it appears to me that she’s well on her way to following in his footsteps.”

Robert Curatolo Fund Scholarship winners

2002 – Jim Lopovich (Curtis)
2003 – Stephanie Longworth (NDA)
2004 – Eric Waldhelm (Curtis)
2005 – Tom Downing (Curtis)
2006 – Chris Mandala (Farrell)
2007 – Ralph Tufano (Sea)
2008 – Drew Walsh (Curtis)
2009 – Michael McDermott (Farrell)
2010 – Vincent Cascella (MSIT)
2011 – Daniel Karasinski (New Dorp)
2012 – Samantha McCauley (Villa)
2013 – Ariana Trembone (Villa)
2014 – Emily Aiello (Sea)
2015 – Meghan Sheridan (Hill)

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