Local organization hands out about $86k in scholarships

Wolves award $86K in scholarships

BOARDMAN — They have diverse, wide-ranging career goals, interests and educational priorities, but high school seniors Mary Baker, Kendal Cordon, Isabella Sferra and Sam Wogan are united in their gratitude regarding a boost they received for attaining their pursuits.

“I feel honored and very special to be picked,” Sferra, a Struthers High School student who plans to attend Youngstown State University to study vocal music education, said.

She was referring to having been among the six seniors who were awarded scholarships at an annual scholarship banquet Wednesday evening at Michael Alberini’s Restaurant, 1140 Boardman-Poland Road.

The Wolves Club of Youngstown hosted the dinner and gave away about $86,000 in scholarship money.

The other recipients were Mary Baker of Cardinal Mooney High; Kendal Cordon, Boardman High; Christian Reed, Austintown Fitch High; Gabrielle Russell, Struthers High; and Sam Wogan, Canfield High. Reed and Russell were unable to attend the banquet, however.

Sferra, who hopes to be a high school music teacher, spent her high school years and two years as a middle school student in a show choir, she said.

Cordon, who began learning dance moves around age 3, intends to pursue a business degree from YSU, with a long-term goal of one day taking over Jaime’s Dance Force, a business her mother, Jaime Domer-Cordon, founded in the late 1990s. The driving force behind her ambition is to keep the Poland-based business in the family, Kendal Cordon said.

Building bridges in more ways than one is on Wogan’s radar because he desires to major in civil engineering at YSU and land a career designing roads and bridges to better serve communities — as well as using his choice to connect with others.

“I’ve always had a passion for transportation,” said Wogan, who has been part of several school clubs and works part-time at a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

Also honored to have received a major financial jump for her education was Baker, who has her eye on hospitality management, with a career in the restaurant and motel industries.

Down the road, she may enter a culinary school, said Baker, who listed overcoming and enduring various challenges as one of her proudest high school achievements.

Providing a bit of practical advice to the recipients was Dominic Rodino, who took home a scholarship in 2018 from the Wolves Club.

“Do something that challenges you and helps you on your toes, and everything will stay exciting,” Rodino, a staff accountant with Steelite International, said in his remarks, adding, “Be cognizant of who you interact with. Join clubs (at YSU) and share your morals.”

Rodino, who graduated from YSU in 2023, said his scholarship funds helped him concentrate more on maintaining high grades and focusing on his studies and less on financial concerns.

Joining the YSU family will be the first step for the scholarship recipients in taking the reins of leadership and working toward solving their generation’s problems and challenges, YSU President Bill Johnson said.

“If you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work another day in your life,” Johnson said, adding that the university is “the key to the economic and cultural survival of Northeast Ohio.”

In addition, the Wolves Club of Youngstown gave a $5,000 check to the Mercy Health Foundation for nursing students.

The social organization was founded in 1953, with the primary goal of offering undergraduate scholarships and financial assistance, Bernie Tunno, club president, noted. Since its inception, the Wolves Club has given away more than $1.3 million for that purpose, Tunno, who founded the Tunno Insurance Agency, said.

Applicants must be entering YSU as freshmen, graduates of recognized Mahoning County high schools, maintain a minimum 2.5 grade-point average, display financial need and show evidence of personal responsibility, according to the club’s website.

The club has about 70 active members and hosts three annual fundraisers, including a summer golf outing. Proceeds go toward its scholarship fund, Tunno added.


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