Submitted photos and press release:
Four top 10 seniors from Alexander, Elba, Pembroke and Notre Dame high schools are the recipients of the 2021 Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarships administered by the Arc of Genesee Orleans.
The $1,000 scholarship award winners, Annie Kochmanski, Taylor Augello, Lauren Filter and Isabelle Cooper are planning to pursue careers related to healthcare or working with those with a disability.
Annie Kochmanski (top inset photo right) -- Alexander Central, will begin her studies in the teacher education transfer program at Genesee Community College, transferring to Keuka College to study Special Education and American Sign Language.
The Darien resident plans to become a teacher for individuals who are deaf/hearing impaired. In 2020, before school closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Annie was involved in Alexander’s Big Buddy program, paired with a student in the elementary school, and was also an intern/teacher assistant for the second and third grades.
This experience solidified Annie’s decision to become and educator.
“I know that helping special needs students is where my heart lies,” Annie said in her scholarship application.
Taylor Augello (inset photo at left) -- Elba Central, will attend Genesee Community College for nursing and plans to one day become a Nurse Practitioner.
A scholar/athlete at Elba, Taylor said she has chosen nursing as her career path, because she has seen how individuals, especially those with disabilities can struggle.
“Knowing that I can help people with disabilities will fulfill my childhood dreams of helping others,” Taylor said.
Lauren Filter (inset photo below right)-- Pembroke Central, has been accepted to Daemen College and plans to study Nursing, setting her sights on one day becoming a Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist (CRNA). “In a hospital, I will be working with people of all abilities,” Lauren said, adding, “There needs to be compassion, empathy and understanding that individuals (with disabilities) have complex communication needs.” As a certified lifeguard, Lauren has taught swimming lessons to children with a variety of swimming skills, special needs and learning disorders.
Isabelle Cooper (below left inset photo) -- Notre Dame High School, is from the Town of Pavilion.
In the fall, she will be attending Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., in the Physician Assistant program.
In her scholarship application, Isabelle said, “I hope to one day work in a neurology practice with children with developmental delays.”
Isabelle has more than five years’ experience in the YMCA’s Challenger Sports program, volunteering with children with special needs.
In 2019, she took on the leadership role of running the Challenger Tennis program.
About the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship
Now in its 16th year, the Mary Anne Graney Memorial Scholarship is presented to area high school seniors planning to further their studies in human services, special education or related fields.
It is in honor of Mary Anne Graney, a special education teacher, who died in 2004.
The scholarship is funded by the Friends & Family 5K, scheduled this year for Sept. 18 in Elba.