Vincent Poggio is the winner of this year’s Andy Wallace Memorial Scholarship, given to a student at St. Christopher Elementary School.
Students were asked to write essays on a famous figure they admire most.
Vincent wrote about Tim Tebow, who plays for the New York Jets. He was chosen by the scholarship committee, in consultation with principal Mary Tremper.
“As I read Vincent’s essay, I couldn’t help to think of the similarities between Tim Tebow and Andy, minus their physiques, of course,” said Brian Hamill, a friend of Wallace’s who administers the scholarship fund. “Andy had similar leadership qualities and was just an all-around good guy, much like Tebow. In speaking with Mrs. Tremper, Vincent is a terrific kid and has demonstrated similar traits.”
Wallace excelled academically and athletically at St. Christopher and Somerton Youth Organization. He went on to graduate from La Salle High School and later attended St. Joseph’s University on a soccer scholarship. He was 27 and working as a pharmaceutical salesman when he died in November 2001 from complications of an accidental head injury.
Wallace’s friends established the scholarship fund in 2005. This year, the scholarship is valued at $5,080 for the Poggio family. Vincent will enter seventh grade. His sisters Victoria and Gianna will enter fifth and second grades, respectively.
To date, the fund has provided full tuition for 24 children in eight families.
“Presenting the annual scholarship is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s a day to recognize Andy, who was one of the best to ever walk the halls of St. Chris or play on the fields in Somerton,” Hamill said.
In addition to the scholarship, the Andy Wallace Foundation has made contributions to St. Christopher ($15,000 for a technology project), Somerton Youth Organization ($5,000 to refurbish a batting cage) and St. Joseph’s University ($20,000).
The scholarships are funded by the annual Andy Wallace Memorial Golf Outing. The recent 10th annual event was the most successful to date.
“The success of the golf outings is a direct result of the tremendous impact that Andy had on people. The majority of the attendees had a special connection to Andy, or knew someone who did,” Hamill said.
Here is Vincent’s essay:
When I came home with the Andy Wallace scholarship essay, my mom read it and loved the idea. Dinner time came and our usual discussions came up. What happened today, what did you do in school? My grandmother had just joined the table and heard the discussion. What famous figure do you most admire? Honestly, nobody at the table could come up with someone that they would want to write about! The discussion surprised me, after all, these guys are adults. After dinner I went to the computer and looked up a few people. Tim Tebow was the first athlete that I thought would make a good report.
Tim Tebow is seen as a very religious young man who plays quarterback in the NFL. He is open about his faith, even on the football field, and what it means to him and his family.
Others sometimes question his expression of faith. They see his faith as inappropriate and disrespectful to others. He has now become one of the most controversial football players, but not for his bad behavior or poor sportsmanship, but for his faith! This seems odd to me. Really is faith a problem? Maybe the fact that Tim has such a strong foundation of his faith it shakes others up, because they don’t understand it, especially in a young person. His strong values and morals are just the example we need to see today.
I learned a lot about one young man’s ability to change the way many think for the better. It is a way of life for him. Why can it not be a way of life for all of us. ••EndFragment