Freehold, NJ — By Jean Holtz
Four students and graduates of the Freehold Borough School District have been awarded the inaugural Tomazic Family Scholarship, which will financially support their high school and post-secondary education. Ka’mora Gill and Juan P. Martinez Zarate, both graduating seniors at Freehold High School, will receive up to $80,000 over four years to support their enrollment at a college or post-secondary vocational program.
Mercy Ortega Garcia and Jovany Jimenez Guillen, both graduating 8th-graders at Freehold Intermediate School, will receive up to $2,500 per year to support their academic growth in high school, in addition to receiving up to $80,000 for their post-secondary education. The Tomazic Family Scholarship was established in 2022 to build on the educational work of retired Freehold Borough Schools Superintendent Dr. Rocco Tomazic. The scholarship is funded through the Foreside Foundation, registered in Maine.
The Tomazic Family Scholarship will run for a ten-year period, awarding up to nearly $1.2 million to students from the Freehold Borough School District. Partners in the Tomazic Family Scholarship program include the Foreside Foundation, members of the immediate Tomazic family, the Freehold Borough Educational Foundation, the Freehold Borough School District, and the Freehold Regional High School District. “I am very appreciative to Richard and Linda Berthy of the Foreside Foundation for funding this meaningful scholarship opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Rocco Tomazic.
“Students exhibiting high potential for success, but whose families are of limited financial means, frequently do not have access to the resources needed to sustain themselves through four years of college or a post-secondary vocational program.” For 2022-2023, the Tomazic Family Scholarship was awarded to one boy and one girl in 8th grade and 12th grade who attend/attended school in the Freehold Borough (continued) www.FBEF.org School District.
In the scholarship application, students were asked to outline financial need, articulate their academic goals, and express why they should be selected from among other similarly qualified candidates.
They also submitted their academic transcripts. “Because no one in my family has ever gone to college, it never felt necessary. I used to be a prisoner of this mentality as well, but one day I realized I could be more; I could inspire my family and do things that were outside of “normal,”” notes Ms. Gill in her application. “I want my family to recognize that change is possible and struggle should never be normalized.” “The Educational Foundation is honored to partner with the Tomazic Family and the Foreside Foundation in providing what can only be described as life-altering financial assistance for these academically talented young people,” said Jean Holtz, chairperson. “We wish them all the best and stand ready to support them through their on-going studies.”
Financial support through the Tomazic Family Scholarship will be applied primarily to post-secondary tuition, room, and board. While awardees are in high school, financial support can be applied to incidental expenses related to their high school education. “We are excited to support students from the start of their high school careers,” shared Maryanne Tomazic, a member of the selection committee. “The financial cost of tutoring or SAT preparation classes, for example, can put these resources out of reach for many. We hope this scholarship program can bridge that gap and support the students’ ambitions.”
The Tomazic Family Scholarship accepts applications by May 1st of each year and announces the awardees prior to the end of the school year. Twenty-eight students applied for the four scholarships awarded this year. If for any reasons a student is unable to maintain qualification for the scholarship, the pro-rated scholarship will be transferred to the next qualified candidate from the original application pool. “We are excited for the initial cohort of students to be supported in their academic journeys. Our only regret is that we could not do more for the many other very deserving applicants,” said Dr. Tomazic.