Foundation Scholarship Dinner Recognizes Students, Donors
Galloway, N.J. — Education has always been fun for Aleyshka Barbosa.
While in high school, she tried to take advantage of any free classes she could take during the summer. But growing up was tough, especially because of the perception of her hometown, Passaic, New Jersey.
“I saw an article that ranked Passaic the fourth most miserable city in the United States,” the senior said during a speech at the Stockton Foundation Scholarship Recognition Dinner on March 1. “I thought this is all that people will remember me by.”
Besides overcoming the negative perception of her hometown, the other major barrier to higher education was financial.
“Growing up, the biggest concern in my household was always money,” she said.
But thanks to three scholarships provided by the Stockton Foundation, the first-generation student is well on her way to earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
We treasure and take very seriously the opportunity to play a role in establishing these opportunities to help students achieve all they can, without the financial barriers that can seem so overwhelming at times."
Barbosa was one of more than 600 students this academic year who have been awarded more than $1 million in scholarships from the Foundation.
“We treasure and take very seriously the opportunity to play a role in establishing these opportunities to help students achieve all they can, without the financial barriers that can seem so overwhelming at times,” said Dan Nugent, the vice president for University Advancement and the executive director of the University Foundation.
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman thanked many of the donors who attended the dinner.
“In some way or another, every person in this room has been touched, inspired and impacted by the power of higher education,” Kesselman said. “Scholarship funding provides the support needed to help Stockton students continue their journey of self-discovery.”
Kesselman added that over the past eight years, nearly 250 new Stockton Foundation funds have been created, including 120 new scholarships.
One of those new scholarships was created by Galloway Township’s Patrick McCormick in honor of his long-time partner Larry Macaluso. Macaluso was a superintendent of schools in central Pennsylvania and later lived locally. For McCormick setting up the Dr. Larry J. Macaluso Memorial Scholarship to benefit an Education student at Stockton helped him to process the passing of his partner of 25 years in August 2021.
“To help somebody in the field of education that may not have that opportunity to continue their education and helping to change somebody’s life, that’s what Larry was all about,” said McCormick, who’s the director of sales for Visit AC. “He was about mentoring folks, teaching them and getting them ready for the world. It would be a shame to have a student not be able to fulfill that dream.”
From left, Stockton students Emma Rodriguez, Samantha Bell and Jared Handelman gather in the Campus Center before the dinner.
For junior Samantha Bell, receiving two scholarships has not only helped her academically but at home as well.
“I’ve been having some family struggles recently, so it’s nice to be able to not have to worry about a portion of (school tuition). The money I’m not spending on school I can help out my family with,” said the Chemistry major. “It’s less time that I have to work, and it’s more time that I can focus on studying because it’s a rough major.”
The Marlboro, New Jersey, resident plans to work toward a Ph.D. in Chemistry and eventually become a professor.
“The professors here have had such an impact on me, and I want to give back,” she said. “I’ve had so many opportunities here that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.”
Barbosa agrees that getting a degree from Stockton, supported by scholarships from the Foundation, has forever changed her life.
“Stockton has made me not the girl from Passaic, the fourth-most miserable city in the United States, but Aleyshka, a first-generation Latina from Passaic,” she said. “So many of us at Stockton are the first to start, and the Foundation scholarships have become the reason we are the first to finish.”
-- Story by Mark Melhorn, photos by Vernon Ogrodnek