More than 100 high school graduates from across Monmouth and Ocean counties were honored June 30 at the OceanFirst Foundation‘s sixth annual Scholarship Reception, hosted at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.
Among them were fifty incoming Brookdale freshmen, each of whom received a $1,000 OceanFirst Foundation scholarship toward their first two years of college.
“It was kind of unexpected, but I am thrilled,” said Craig Johnson, a future Brookdale biology major from Aberdeen.
“You read so much about the rising costs of college. But this scholarship, along with NJ STARS and Brookdale’s tuition, means I won’t need to really worry about loans or tuition for those first two years. That is a very big deal.”
The reception began with a welcoming address by OceanFirst Foundation Chairman John Garbarino, who explained OceanFirst’s long-standing commitment to community service.
In the last six years, he said, the foundation has awarded $1.2 million in scholarships to local college students.
And while that money does not have to be paid back, scholarship recipients are encouraged to “pay it forward,” Garbarino said.
“I ask you to repay this scholarship with your service to and for others,” he said. “I know it may sound a bit hokey, but the reinvestment of even a small portion of your personal time and talent in the years ahead, will be invaluable in making our community and world a better place to live.”
Following a celebratory dinner, Timothy Zeiss, executive director of the Brookdale Foundation and Alumni Affairs, took time out to thank the OceanFirst Foundation board for their continued support of Brookdale’s students, before personally recognizing the honorees.
“For so many years, OceanFirst has been an outstanding partner and supporter of our mission, creating new opportunities for the students in our community,” Zeiss said.
“As you join our college community in the fall, I want you to know that we will be there to help you take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”
Brookdale’s scholarship recipients, each selected by the Brookdale Foundation, also received an OceanFirst gift bag and were entered into a raffle for a number of Brookdale-themed “college survival kits.”
Dean of Enrollment Development and Student Affairs David Stout, Financial Aid Director Stephanie Fitzsimmons and Financial Aid Associate Director Karyn Arnold were also on hand to meet with the honorees and welcome them to the Brookdale community.
For more information on Brookdale scholarship opportunities, visit the Brookdale Foundation webpage.
Check out more photos of the ceremony here.