15 grads receive DeBartolo scholarships

YOUNGSTOWN — Alexa Senvisky recalled an occasion when she went for a swim a few years ago and emerged from the pool not only wet, but with a plan that would change the direction of her life.

“One day I was swimming at my mom’s, and a friend said, ‘Why not go for being a veterinary tech, since you love animals?'” the Ursuline High School graduate recalled.

That moment was an epiphany of sorts for Senvisky, because her interests and possible future fields of study changed several times. For a while, Senvisky was gravitating toward studying early childhood education, since she loves children, then perhaps interior design, before the conversation in the swimming pool, she explained.

Whatever area of study she settles on will be easier financially for Senvisky, because she is among 15 area high school graduating seniors to be awarded a total of $150,000 in scholarships during the annual Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarship Foundation luncheon Friday at Stambaugh Auditorium.

The 15 were selected from more than 300 applications submitted to the foundation. Criteria for consideration were students’ grade transcripts, recommendations from school personnel, essays, community involvement, financial need and academic achievement.

Senvisky’s next goal is to enroll at Kent State University at Trumbull to be a veterinary technician, which would allow her to assist with animal surgeries, draw blood samples and other related tasks. After three years at KSU, she hopes to take a state test to earn a veterinarian license to allow her to expand her career, Senvisky continued.

Senvisky, who works for Pet Lodge USA of Boardman, has been part of her school’s Christian service class and has volunteered for an elementary and preschool, as well as at various food drives, she said.

Also proud of their daughter’s selfless acts are her parents, Brian and Kathy Senvisky.

Another proud parent is Laura Keeley, whose son, Dalton, also is a scholarship winner.

“I’m hoping to be a math teacher. I’ve loved math since third grade,” said Keeley, a Southington Chalker High grad who plans to attend KSU at Trumbull to study education or computer science.

The achievements in his young life also add up to a laundry list of volunteer efforts that include assisting with horse showings at the Geauga Horse & Pony Association near Burton, as well as first volunteering then working for Mapleview Country Villa, a long-term care facility in Chardon.

In addition, Keeley has left his mark on Southington Elementary School’s pee wee football team by keeping score and placing penalty markers. His penchant for volunteering also has been felt at Southington Christian Church, where he has assisted with its vacation Bible school, he noted.

In high school, Keeley was part of the Beta Club, which planned a variety of programs for veterans and others.

Denise DeBartolo York, the San Francisco 49ers’ owner and co-chairwoman, praised the students for their tenacity, discipline, dedication and hard work.

“We believe that students who work hard and who have demonstrated the desire to continue their education, regardless of their financial situation, should be afforded the opportunity to receive a college education,” she said.

Since it was established in 1997, the foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million in scholarship money, its website states.

Scholarship winners:

Brooke Briggs, Beaver Local High School, Wheeling University in West Virginia,

business administration

Nicholas Clementi, Warren G. Harding, Kent State University, communications

Emily Hasson, Beaver Local, University of Akron, business

Julia Hum, Columbiana, Youngstown State University, nursing

Kayla Johnson, Brookfield, University of Pittsburgh, neuroscience

Dalton Keeley, Southington Chalker, YSU or KSU, education

Gavin Leek, West Branch, KSU, engineering

Isabella Minotti, Girard High School, YSU, nursing

Gina Mondora, Cardinal Mooney, YSU, nursing

Johnathan Morris, Struthers, Carnegie Mellon University, linguistics

Sophia Neddy, Canfield, University of Rochester in New York, public


Samantha Plocher, West Branch, Mississippi State University,

poultry science

Adeline Schweers, Poland Seminary, Cleveland State University, social work

Alexa Senvisky, Ursuline, KSU, veterinary science

Elizabeth Vennetti, Cardinal Mooney, University of Pittsburgh, pre-med


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