Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00
Since 2006, Joe Satriano, an Oceanside resident and a former longtime teacher in the Roslyn school district has set up a scholarship in memory of his late wife, Susan, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2005.
Since then, the Susan Satriano Memorial Scholarship Foundation has raised tens of thousands of dollars and has helped dozens of Long Island students attend college.
This year, no less than 21 students in the Massapequa area have been the recipients of the scholarship fund. They recently attended a private breakfast in their honor, one held on May 25 at Massapequa High School, an event that included a talk by Satriano himself. Scholarship recipients must be students who are graduating seniors, who have been accepted to an accredited college or university and who also have had a parent who has either passed away from cancer or is currently battling the disease.
The scholarship-winning Massapequa High School students are: Erin Afshar, Gabriella Arcabascio, Michael Bamonte, Jenna Bedard, Bridgid Bergen, Eileen Betz, Tara Brady, Lisa Cordara, Frank Falcone, Christina Fiorinelli, Joseph Keegan, Joseph Knictek, Lisa Knoph, Rachel Mando, Luke Mino-Alther, Danielle Pignatelli, Melissa Roselle, Oliveri Shannon, Joan Stanton, Christopher Valenti, Daniel Varon, and Amanda Walters.
Most of the students plan to attend college in the New York area, but some are planning to go to school as far away as Baylor University in Texas, Northeastern University in Chicago, and the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. A number of students will be attending either Nassau County Community College or the State University of New York system at various schools in upstate New York, including those in Potsdam, Plattsburgh, Cortland, Binghamton, Albany, Oneonta, and Geneseo.
“These kids are heroes because they have to grow up fast,” Satriano said. “They have to take on extra responsibilities at home, whether it’s to get a job to bring income into the family or drive a parent to chemo treatments. It’s amazing to see them live out a dream that their parents had for them.”
In addition, Satriano has written a book about the 13-year struggle that his wife fought against the cancer. In Sickness And In Health: A Memoir Of Love was published two years ago by Legwork Team Publishing, Hauppauge. All of its proceeds, Satriano added, will go to the Foundation. In Sickness And In Health, according to the book jacket, “is a triumph of the human spirit, and an inspiring story of courage, compassion, and love between two people who asked for nothing more in life than to have each other in it…It is not a book about loss but of gain. [It] is not a story of sadness but a story filled with undiminished hope…[one] that confirms ‘it is a wonderful life’ when we stay focused on all that is good.”
In its first five years since its inception in 2006, the Foundation has raised more than $50,000 and has awarded scholarships to 53 students. But now, the Foundation is growing at an even faster pace. This year alone, Satriano has raised more than $75,000 and has given scholarships to up to 85 students hailing from 25 school districts on Long Island. To build upon the Foundation’s success, Satriano is in the process of writing his second book After Math, a continuation of his family’s story after his wife’s death.
Included below are some quotes from previous award winners:
“I want to thank you for selecting me along with the other fellow students to receive the Susan Satriano Memorial Scholarship. Your Foundation does great things for students who have family members who are fighting against cancer.” Scott Krokoff, Engineering major, University of Delaware.
“Thank you very much for the generous grant you are giving me. Over the last two years things have not been easy and you know that. College is a big deal to me and I want to thank you in helping me achieve my goal. Making this goal a reality is great especially because my mom would have wanted me to. Thank you so very much in helping me and making my dreams that I and my mom set before she passed a reality.” Brianna King, Early Education major, Nassau Community College.
“I am writing to thank you for your generous scholarship. I was very excited and appreciative to learn that I was selected as one of the recipients of the Susan Satriano Memorial Scholarship. I am truly honored. Your generous support is helping me to fulfill a lifelong dream of going to college and becoming an elementary school teacher. By awarding me the Susan Satriano Memorial Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day to be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.” Kimberly Gales, Elementary Education major, Molloy College.
In the coming years, similar expressions of gratitude, will, no doubt, come from the recent recipients from Massapequa.