Thursday June 06, 2013
University Mall annually seeks out local high school seniors who stand out as extraordinary examples of how individuals should give back to their communities through volunteering efforts and exemplary service. Finard Properties LLC has been proud to sponsor University Mall’s “Scholarship of Excellence” since 2001, which provides five local high school seniors each with $5,000 toward their first year of college. Company President Bill Finard stated he has “full confidence that the scholarship recipients “will continue their impressive trend of leadership and service throughout their lives and business careers.” In addition to community service, the scholarship also encompasses excellence in leadership and, of course, academic achievement.
Riya Patel, daughter of Nikhil and Nanda Patel, is a senior at South Burlington High School who has demonstrated exemplary achievement as Senior Class President, secretary of the National Honor Society and the co-founder of the SBHS string ensemble. Riya’s commitment to leadership continues with her involvement with the Girls Nation and Girls State programs as well. After traveling with the U.S. Department of State Youth Leadership Program, Riya was inspired to co-create a local non-profit called FRIEND, Inc., fostering opportunities for refugees to integrate, explore, nurture, and discover. Riya plans to attend Harvard University.
Elly Valestro, daughter of James and Wendy Valastro, is a senior at South Burlington High School who is recognized for her work coaching a local children’s glee club, planning peer leadership retreats, and volunteering with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Evening Song, and Chittenden County Relay for Life. Elly was a vital participant in the Kidshow Musical Theater Camp and the performing arts venue Thumbs Up, an organization featuring performers with special needs. Elly plans to attend Cornell University.