The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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SJU to Offer “Service Scholarship Awards”

Kids of police officers, firefighters and military members will benefit
Andreas Savva — NYC with daughter Maria Savva and partner dog JC.

The University will pilot three new scholarships in the amount of $2,000 per academic year to children of the nation’s police officers, firefighters and members of the military which is expected to take off for the fall 2018 semester.

The three service awards are open to incoming freshmen for up to four years of continuous, full-time undergraduate enrollment. To be eligible for the award, the student’s parent can either be active in the service full-time, retired or had died in the line of duty. To be considered for the awards, the admission application must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2018.

Jorge Rodriguez, the vice provost and chief enrollment officer, said the University has made a concerted effort to focus on service and legacy.

“As a university we pride ourself in service. There are a lot of individuals who graduated who are in service oriented professions,” Rodriguez said. “We talked about legacy scholarships, a lot of students’ family members came to St. John’s. A lot of students have parents in the military…It was a little marriage of the two.”

According to Rodriguez, six-to-seven percent of students have a family member involved in service and legacy numbers are 13-14 percent.

Sergeant Harold Lloyd Preston — Houston, Texas.

“My dad has dedicated lots of holidays, late nights and missed dinners and I really appreciate the fact that St. John’s has given us the recognition,” Allison Preston, a junior, said about her father who has been a police officer in Houston, Texas for 23 years.  

Junior Sabrina Hogan, whose father was a member of the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War, spoke about the difficulties that come with active duty.

“I think it’s a great thing for the University to recognize the families of active duty members, especially since it isn’t easy to pay for college and as [an] active duty [member] you tend to move around a lot,” she said.

Executive Director of Media Relations Brian Browne said, “Service is a core value at St. John’s and this is a way to kind of validate that. It’s putting money where our mouth is when it comes to service.”

Speaking of money, Rodriguez said the university plans to offer the awards to about 300 students in the first year, meaning $600,000 would be given away in the first year. In four years, the cost could be a couple million dollars.

Kerry Halvorsen — Middle East.

While her mother was overseas serving in the Navy Reserves as an electrical technician, Blayse Halvorsen, a senior, said her age and closeness to her mother made it difficult to cope.

“Being young at the time of her deployment, I never fully understood why she was leaving, especially since we never knew how long it would be until we saw or spoke to her again,” she said. “My mother has single handedly given up everything for me, including putting her own life at risk to ensure a greater good in the United States. To me, her service means everything because it has had such a drastic ripple effect on my life, from my personality to opinions and beyond.”

Her mother Kerry Halvorsen was with the reserves for 22 years and spent 10 months overseas in the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom. There she spent time in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. Her troop was also the first to land on Middle Eastern soil after the declaration of war was made.

Sophomore Maria Savva’s father is a New York City Police Officer who has served for 20 years. Although the school has previously had scholarships specifically for the children of the NYPD and FDNY, she thinks even more recognition for service members is important and appreciates it.

“It shows that St. John’s appreciates the work of the bravery and wish to relinquish the ongoing monetary stress of what if. With all that these men and women do, whether fighting against injustice, rescuing victims from danger or protecting our great country, they deserve a helping hand,” Savva said.

Savva called her father, Andreas Savva, her hero and said she is proud to be the daughter of a police officer.

“Every day, I worry about what he, along with many other men and women, have to face every day. They put their lives on the line for the city they love and the people they wish to serve and protect,” she said. “It takes bravery, fearlessness and compassion to serve and fight for the means of justice. By knowing my dad is out in the world saving lives and creating a safer world, it puts a smile on my face. My dad is not only a man in a blue uniform, but he is my hero with everlasting bravery.”



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About the Contributor
Isabella Bruni
Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor
Isabella Bruni is a senior journalism major with a minor in Italian and International Studies. Isabella hopes to maintain the Torch’s vast news coverage and increase its online presence all while focusing on managing the business side of the newspaper and building relationships with advertisers. She has been part of the Torch since her freshman year starting as a copy editor, becoming chief copy editor her sophomore year and then news editor her junior year. Have any questions? Email Isabella at [email protected] or [email protected] 
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