The Philip Begonja Scholarship Award at Bergen Community College
The Philip Begonja Scholarship Award will provide support for academic excellence and help defray the educational costs at Bergen Community College. Preference will be given to students in financial need from urban environments in the New Jersey and New York areas. We intend to assist each student until graduation as long as the student remains in good academic standing. Bergen Community College is a comprehensive, publicly supported, two-year institution that enrolls nearly 16,000 students from 100 countries around the world. More than 9,000 students also are enrolled in non-credit, professional development courses. Bergen offers its students an affordable tuition rate far below the cost of many four-year institutions.
When we set out to create this scholarship in the name of Philip, we knew that it would need to be impactful for the individual selected. What we weren't prepared for, was the impact that the individual would have on all of us. We are ecstatic to have found such a deserving young man as our first recipient. Louis Isern is a Bergen County resident who was in need of our support. We had the honor of hosting him at our 2nd Annual Philip Begonja Memorial Foundation Gala in October 2014 and he blew everyone away from the beginning. He is a young man with wisdom, character, integrity and humility...Not unlike Philip. It was a perfect match. We now understand what an impact that he is going to have on the foundation. In a moving speech he gave in front of the 70 guests in attendance he said, "You aren't just helping me get through college. You are providing me with an opportunity to care for my family and I know that one day, I will be able to give back to this foundation as you have given to me." There is no doubt in our minds that he will. Thank you, Louis.
2014 Most Improved Writer Award
This is the third year in a row that Philip’s Fund has sponsored this award. Sharon McGill, sixth grade teacher at Oradell Public School has helped us with the selection process. The award is given to deserving fifth grade students who demonstrate significant improvement and aptitude in writing. The 2014 award recipients were Jennifer Marino, Amelia Safai, Yoona Kim, Lily Smith, and Nathaniel Exil.