Each year, the Isidore Wise Scholarship Awards Program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center selects five high school seniors who exhibit outstanding academic achievement, community service, strength of character, maturity and the promise of impressive future contributions to the world. Each awardee – all past or current patients of Connecticut Children’s – receives $5,000 to use for their post-secondary education.
This year’s awards ceremony, which took place June 7 at the Medical Center, was the 26th annual event, and the five recipients, chosen from more than 100 applicants, exemplify the qualities Mr. Wise sought to support in his founding bequest. All five have been treated for serious medical conditions and all have achieved remarkable things despite these conditions.
Meet the 2017 Isidore Wise Scholarship recipients:
Miriam Holsbeke is a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford. A member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society, Miriam has pushed herself hard in school, taking multiple honors and advanced placement classes, as well as serving as a teaching assistant in an algebra class. Her passion is music and theater, which she pursues through multiple school performing groups. In the summer of 2015, she co-wrote and performed in a play titled “Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry,” which was performed at the school and in New York City and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has not yet decided which college she will be attending in the fall, but her major will be theater.
Flora Klise is an all-round overachiever. She is captain of the soccer team at the Saint Bernard School in Uncasville and has earned all-conference honors in lacrosse. She’s the school’s valedictorian, president of the National Honor Society, a teaching assistant in the Math Department, class president, captain of the Mock Trial team, and a member of the Chorus of Westerly, where, in addition to singing classical music, she helps with fundraising and concert preparation and is a counselor at the Chorus Camp. The exceptional care she received at Connecticut Children’s piqued her interest in medicine, and she will pursue a biomedical engineering degree at MIT next fall.
Nathan Bergin is a senior at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, where he excels in academics (he has a particular genius for history) and athletics (he’s on the varsity basketball team). He’s won a number of awards at the school, including the Yale Book Award, the Gettysburg College Award for AP U.S. History, most outstanding student in Honors Physics, and a position on the Headmaster’s List. He is president of the school’s Environmental Club and Investment Club and is the editor of The Avon Record. He is still considering his career direction.
Alexander Bohr attends Coventry High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society and the varsity baseball team. He volunteers at a food pantry in Manchester and a facility in Willimantic that distributes clothes. He also volunteers at a summer outing where he teaches boys and girls with upper-limb abnormalities how to play baseball. His primary passion is the environment. He was the general manager of a project to build a geodesic dome aquaponics greenhouse at his school, where they combined hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical farming. He will be pursuing his environmental studies at UConn next year.
Stephanie Marquez is a senior at the Sport and Medicine Sciences Academy in Hartford, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and the Indoor/Outdoor track team. She trains three days a week for track and field and basketball, and that training has paid off: She competed with Team USA in Puerto Rico, London, and Amsterdam at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Championships. She earned her first gold medal when she was 13. “I want to show others living with disabilities that it does not define us and does not stop us from accomplishing anything we set our mind to,” she said in her application. She will pursue her dream of becoming a trainer for Paralympic athletes at Southern Connecticut State University next fall.