Washington High graduate honored

George Wash­ing­ton gradu­ate Aaron Gold­berg re­ceived the An­drew Far­rell Spir­it of Cour­age Schol­ar­ship.   

Hard work pays: Aaron Gold­berg re­ceived the An­drew Far­rell Spir­it of Cour­age Schol­ar­ship, which comes with a $2,500 col­lege schol­ar­ship. TOM WAR­ING / TIMES PHOTO

Aaron Gold­berg will soon be­gin his stud­ies at Penn State, and his tu­ition bill will be a little light­er thanks to a pres­ti­gi­ous schol­ar­ship he re­ceived.

Gold­berg, who gradu­ated in June from George Wash­ing­ton High School, re­ceived the An­drew Far­rell Spir­it of Cour­age Schol­ar­ship, which comes with a $2,500 col­lege schol­ar­ship.

The award has been handed out every year since 2004 and is named in memory of An­drew Far­rell, a pop­u­lar pitch­er/first base­man for Wash­ing­ton. He played on the team that went un­defeated dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son in 2001. He died in 2004 at age 21 after a long battle with leuk­emia. His No. 25 jer­sey was later re­tired.

The award, usu­ally giv­en to a seni­or, is awar­ded to a Wash­ing­ton base­ball play­er who most ex­em­pli­fies Far­rell on and off the field.

Gold­berg learned he was the win­ner on May 18 at the char­ity’s an­nu­al Home Run Derby at Wash­ing­ton.

“I was very sur­prised,” he said. “It’s pretty nice. There’s a good found­a­tion of guys who got the award be­fore me, and I feel I’m a good rep­res­ent­at­ive on and off the base­ball field, in school and in the com­munity.”

Gail Gold­berg is proud of her son and grate­ful to the char­ity of­fi­cials who re­cog­nized him.

“I’m so thank­ful to them,” she said. “It’s a won­der­ful thing they do.”

Aaron, 18, is the second of three boys in his fam­ily. Josh gradu­ated from Wash­ing­ton in 2011 and is best known for hav­ing 13 years per­fect at­tend­ance. Joel will be a ju­ni­or at Wash­ing­ton, where he plays base­ball.

Louis Gold­berg, Gail’s hus­band and the boys’ fath­er, died last Septem­ber after a six-month battle with leuk­emia and lymph­oma. He was 55.

He was dia­gnosed with can­cer in March 2012. The pro­gnos­is was grim, and he nev­er went in­to re­mis­sion. He had count­less chemo­ther­apy treat­ments and hos­pit­al stays.

Aaron’s bed­room is on the ground floor of the fam­ily’s Susan Road home, but he gave it up to his dad when he could no longer walk up the stairs. Josh, Aaron and Joel would take turns sleep­ing on the floor next to their dad’s bed and helped dress, feed and wash him.

The char­ity’s board of dir­ect­ors votes for the win­ner based on re­com­mend­a­tions of Wash­ing­ton head coach Ken Geiser and as­sist­ant coach Jim O’Hara.

Jason Welte is a co-founder of the schol­ar­ship fund and vice pres­id­ent of the board. A 2002 Wash­ing­ton gradu­ate, he was a friend and team­mate of Far­rell. Last off-sea­son, Welte or­gan­ized weekly bat­ting prac­tices for Wash­ing­ton play­ers at Slug­gers­ville, the new year-round base­ball and soft­ball train­ing fa­cil­ity at 9490 Blue Grass Road.

“Aaron was a reg­u­lar at­tender and great about round­ing up his team­mates,” said Welte, who was also im­pressed with how Gold­berg handled his fath­er’s ill­ness and death.

“It was pretty in­cred­ible the way he stayed tough.”

Last month, Welte presen­ted Gold­berg with a glass ac­ryl­ic trophy dur­ing lunch at Cafe Michelan­gelo. The schol­ar­ship check will be sent to Penn State in Gold­berg’s name.

Join­ing them at lunch was Corey Sharp, last year’s schol­ar­ship win­ner as a ju­ni­or. He’ll be at­tend­ing Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity.

Sharp and Gold­berg will also have their names on a plaque that lists all the win­ners and hangs out­side the Wash­ing­ton ath­let­ic of­fice.

The An­drew Far­rell Spir­it of Cour­age Fund also donated $5,000 this year to Chil­dren’s Hos­pit­al of Phil­adelphia.

Money is raised at the an­nu­al Home Run Derby, where the rub­ber-armed O’Hara throws all the pitches. Gold­berg par­ti­cip­ated for the last three years, but didn’t hit one over the fence.

“I hit some line drives,” he said.

Gold­berg was a third base­man for Wash­ing­ton, which lost to Frank­ford in the Pub­lic League Class AAAA cham­pi­on­ship game. 

Gold­berg, who is spend­ing his sum­mer work­ing at Gi­ant su­per­mar­ket and cut­ting lawns, was ranked fourth in a seni­or class of about 450. After at­tend­ing Cent­ral High as a fresh­man, he trans­ferred to Wash­ing­ton, where he re­ceived all As, ex­cept for a B in phys­ics.

He was a mem­ber of the Na­tion­al Hon­or So­ci­ety and a pho­to­graph­er for the year­book. He worked three years as a re­search vo­lun­teer at a Drexel Uni­versity en­gin­eer­ing lab. He’s also been a mul­tiaward win­ner in sci­ence fairs dat­ing to his days at Anne Frank Ele­ment­ary School and Baldi Middle School.

At Penn State, he’ll ma­jor in mech­an­ic­al en­gin­eer­ing.

“I chose Penn State be­cause I liked the tra­di­tion and it offered the best pro­gram,” said Gold­berg, who ad­ded that he’ll be sid­ing with all the Phil­adelphia sports fans against sup­port­ers of the Pitt­s­burgh teams.

Money for the fund is also raised at a yearly golf tour­na­ment. This year’s out­ing is set for Sept. 7 at Ben­s­alem Coun­try Club. There will be a 1 p.m. shot­gun start.

For more in­form­a­tion on the char­ity or the up­com­ing golf out­ing, go to an­drew­far­rell.org ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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