Student essay wins scholarship at St. Chris

Rev. Ms­gr. Garvin (St. Chris), Vin­cent Pog­gio, Bri­an Hamill (Chair­per­son Andy Wal­lace Found­a­tion), and Prin­cip­al Mary Tr­em­per-Vin­cent Pog­gio won the 2012 Andy Wal­lace Schol­ar­ship for his es­say on Tim Te­bow. (photo sup­plied by Bri­an Hamill)


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. ••


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