There was no shortage of talent this year, as the region’s best and brightest college-bound students were considered for five prestigious Isidore Wise Scholarship Awards. On May 31, five award winners were recognized at the 27th Annual Isidore Wise Awards reception. Established through the bequest of Isidore Wise, a long-time board member of Newington Children’s Hospital, the awards provide a $7,500 scholarship to five worthy students who are also current or former patients of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This year, a record-breaking 166 students applied, and picking five winners from among them was tremendously challenging.
Consider this: Among the students who were not selected were children who volunteer their time teaching English to adult learners, serve meals to residents in homeless shelters, teach classes to the community on video editing, renovated stained-glass windows in a historic church and served on mission trips to build homes in developing countries. One student wrote and performed her own play.
That sort of initiative, talent, and community service is typical of all the candidates, which means that the five students chosen to receive the scholarship have to be truly exceptional. And so they are.
Thomas Ersevim, for example, attends Glastonbury High School, where he is equally impressive in music and science. He is a member of the Men’s Choir and Madrigals and participated in the Science Bowl, Chemistry Olympiad, Rocketry Club and Physics Club. As a junior he became a chemistry research assistant, which led to him performing his own research and receiving a provisional patent. This fall he will be attending the University of Maryland as a Banneker/Key Scholar double majoring in chemistry and physics.
Urwa Hameed, a senior at Rockville High School, is a member of the STEM Scholars program and the Humanities Scholar program, where she developed an independent project that was chosen by the University of Connecticut for the Junior Sciences and Humanities Symposium STEM exhibition. Her many awards include the Superintendent’s Award for Student Leadership in Learning, Society of Women Engineers’ Award and Gettysburg College Book Award. And somehow, she finds the time to volunteers at the Vernon Rocks Coalition, YMCA, Al-Noor Islamic Center, Goodwill Center and Vernon Public Schools. She will be majoring in International Relations and Political Science at Boston College this fall. As if all that isn’t impressive enough, she’s only 15.
Hunter Woitowitz graduated from Xavier High School in Middletown, where he was a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Honor Societies for Latin, Math and Science. He was awarded the St. Michael’s College Book Award for academic excellence and was the captain of the varsity swim team, a member of the crew team and a peer minister. In his senior year, he travelled to Guatemala, where he and his classmates built a home for a family and visited with local school children. He’ll be bringing this arsenal of abilities to the University of Connecticut this fall, majoring in environmental science.
Alice Li is graduating from Simsbury High School, where she was editor and later president of the school literary and arts magazine. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Connecticut Chapter of the Tri-Musical Honor Society, as well as a member of the yearbook staff, the Women’s Empowerment Club and the Teen Advisory Board. She, too, will be going to the University of Connecticut this fall, to major in psychology.
John Carlson was the captain of the Debate Team at Middletown High School, as well as the technical director and president of the school’s television station. He’s also an Eagle Scout. He will be majoring in computer science this fall at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Connecticut Children’s congratulates the five award recipients and is very grateful to all the remarkable students who applied.