Going to college just got easier for 23 high school seniors from Queens who were awarded scholarships in memory of a local judge at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria.
The scholarships are in memory of Judge Charles J. Vallone, who served as the first executive chairman for the Astoria Civic Association. Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. and former City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone Sr., Charles’ grandson and son, respectively, joined current members of the Astoria Civic Association to present the scholarships that ranged from $4,000 to $750 on June 2.
“College tuition has reached exorbitant levels. Parents and students know all too well, every dollar counts when it comes to covering college expenses,” Councilmember Vallone Jr. said. “We have some of the finest students in New York City. They deserve to have this scholarship available to them.”
One of the students to receive a scholarship was Michael Zagalis, who heard about the scholarship through his college advisor at St. Demetrious High School. He applied for it in February and was awarded the $3,000 second place scholarship.
Zagalis plans on attending Pratt Institute to study architecture and said the funds from his scholarship will go toward a required $3,000 laptop that is preloaded with software for the Pratt Institute.
Zagalis’ advice to students aspiring to win the scholarship next year is to work hard on the presentation and to stand out. His presentation was about what the community can do to keep city hospitals from closing down. Overall, he was graded on the quality of the presentation and his commitment to community service.
“It’s all good because I was recognized from the community,” Zagalis said. “I lived in Astoria all my life. I worked real hard on the power point presentation.”
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must at least be in the top 20 percent of their class, live in District 22 and have already received a college acceptance letter. Once they are eligible, students attend an interview with the Astoria Civic Association where they do a presentation on a selected topic.