Kiwanis Club Celebrates Scholarship Recipients 

Maspeth’s Kiwanis Club celebrated its scholarship recipients at a luncheon. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan.

By Iryna 

Maspeth’s Kiwanis Club celebrated its annual scholarship recipients, alongside parents and community members, at a luncheon at Maspeth Town Hall on Thursday, June 22. 

Fifteen recent high school graduates, who reside in Maspeth, but attend schools across Queens received a check for $2,000 to assist with any educational expenses before they head off to college in the fall. 

“It’s harder and harder every year to pay for college,” said Michelle Masone, the scholarship program chairman. “This is a little thing that we can do to help them, and support them, in furthering their education.”

The annual scholarship program started in 1947, and has since awarded over $500,000 to local students. The club acknowledged the financial contributions on behalf of the late Susan Scott, a teacher “who held the scholarship program near and dear to her heart” in their program. Now in its 69th year, the fund is supported by donations from community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club and Maspeth Federal Savings Bank. 

Some past scholarship recipients also attended the in person celebration – a comeback following a two year pandemic hiatus. 

Toya Brown, an Executive Assistant to the CEO at Maspeth Federal Savings, was a scholarship recipient in 2014. After spending one year at Johnson & Wales, Brown transferred to Brooklyn College to complete her degree in film production. She says that she was grateful for the scholarship in helping cover costly tuition. 

Toya Brown was a recipient in 2014. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan.

“It’s great to see that they’re still doing it, and recognizing that the Kiwanis Club is important,” said Brown, who attended the luncheon with other staff members from Maspeth Federal. “It’s a great way, not just to build your portfolio, but to give back and really be a part of the community.”

As part of her role at the bank, she also visits schools to teach college and high school students about financial literacy, including budgeting skills and even how to balance a checkbook. 

Approximately 30-40 students apply to the scholarship each year, and at least fourteen are selected based on merit. Most students said that they heard about the scholarship through their guidance or college counselor, who encouraged them to apply. As part of the application, students submitted an essay outlining their contributions to their school and community, as well as their extracurricular activities and academic achievements. 

“I was very surprised,” said Emma Bogdan, who learned that she was selected at her graduation ceremony at St. Francis Preparatory School. In the fall she is heading to Marist College and to complete a dual Bachelors and Masters program in special education. 

Emma Bogdan will attend Marist College in the fall. Photo by Iryna Shkurhan.

After a hot lunch, the recipients were called up individually by Maspeth Kiwanis Club President, Jim Regan, to receive their checks. 

Lisa and Mike Terry, two club members in attendance, extended their congratulations to the recipients and shared that their son won the scholarship fifteen years ago. 

In 1971, Michael Falco received the scholarship after graduating from Christ The King High School. He says that the scholarship helped him pay for his textbooks as a student at Queens College, back when college tuition was significantly more affordable than it is today.

Today, he is a practicing lawyer based out of Maspeth and a Kiwanis Club member. He attended the luncheon to celebrate this year’s recipients. 

“And we hope eventually they come back to this community and they join Kiwanis to help us with our service projects,” said Masone, acknowledging that many past recipients already have.  

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