The Gary Hammond Golf Tournament returned to Le Roy Country Club on Monday after having to miss a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 92 golfers who participated had a chance to see firsthand the fruits of the event that has raised $137,500 for the Holowach Memorial Scholarship Fund over its 32-year history.
That’s because Batavia High School graduate Haylee Thornley, recipient of the first-place $2,000 scholarship in 2021, accepted the invitation to share her academic achievements and goals at a luncheon following the four-person scramble tournament.
The Holowach Memorial Scholarship Fund is named for Charles “Chuck” Holowach, Ed.D., who served as the district superintendent of Livingston-Steuben Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services from March 1982 until his untimely death in December 1988.
The golf tourney is named in honor of Gary Hammond, a retired assistant superintendent for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who served the district for 16 years.
Hammond was among the participants in the event, which now is coordinated by Charles DiPasquale, director of Adult Education, and Leslie Yorks, business and finance manager, both at Genesee Valley BOCES.
Thornley, while thanking the scholarship committee, emphasized “determination and perseverance” in her speech. She stated that she has decided to pursue a doctorate in Physical Therapy at Daemen College in Buffalo after suffering anterior cruciate ligament tears in both knees while playing sports.
“After tearing my ACL twice, resulting in three surgeries and years of physical therapy, I knew it was the profession I wanted to pursue,” she said. “Therapy requires a great deal of mental toughness and resilience that everyone may not be able to find within themselves.”
Graduating in the top 10 percent of her class with a 98.96 average, Thornley said that her enrollment in the Genesee Valley BOCES Health Academy, instructed by Laurie Napoleone, was a key factor in helping her to prepare for the six-year program at Daemen. She also plans to pursue a double minor in Biology and Business.
“Even though this year looked extremely difficult due to COVID, Mrs. Napoleone gave us the knowledge and skills we needed in order to move on to college and begin our health professions’ programs,” she said.
Thornley said the Health Academy offered 21 college credits through health and social sciences courses, and provided hands-on training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillator (AED), emergency response and clinical teaching.
“Through Health Academy, I was able to shadow physical therapists and work with patients at Jackson Elementary School, Village Physical Therapy and the PT department at United Memorial Medical Center,” she said. “The knowledge and hands-on experience that Health Academy offered ... allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of patient care, treatment and the daily routines that exist in healthcare facilities and communities.”
A Trustee Scholar winner from Daemen College, Thornley is the recipient of numerous scholarships, including those from the Batavia Business & Professional Women’s Club, Lions Club, Kay Dean Memorial and Genesee Region USBC.
Holowach Scholarships are given annually to assist outstanding career and technical education students with college expenses. The selection process includes written application, teacher recommendations, and a personal interview with the selection committee. Selection criteria includes citizenship, financial need, dedication to and achievement in his/her chosen field.
Other Holowach Scholarship recipients this year are as follows:
Batavia CTE Center
Karly Smith, Oakfield-Alabama. Enrolled in the Justice Academy, she plans to study study Psychology at Roberts Wesleyan College and hopes to become a Crisis Intervention Psychologist and work for a law enforcement agency.
Daniel Gersitz, Attica. Enrolled in the Precision Machining Program, he plans to attend Alfred State College in the fall and study Machine Tool Technology.
Mount Morris CTE Center
JoAnna Regatuso, Mount Morris. Enrolled in the Agriculture Production Program, she will attend Morrisville State College to study Equine Science, with a career goal to train horses.
Angelita Clark, Geneseo. Enrolled in the Health Dimensions program, she plans to attend Genesee Community College and study Nursing, aspiring to become a nurse or physician's assistant.
Siobhan Costello, Keshequa. Enrolled in the Agriculture Production Program, she will attend Houghton College in the fall to study Equestrian Studies: Barn Management.
Photo: From left, Leslie Yorks, Genesee Valley BOCES business and finance manager; Charles DiPasquale, Genesee Valley BOCES director of Adult Education; Haylee Thornley; Julie Donlon, Genesee Valley BOCES deputy superintendent; Kevin MacDonald, Genesee Valley BOCES district superintendent. Photo by Mike Pettinella.