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Zonta Club of Oswego Presents Scholarships, Welcomes New Members

OSWEGO, NY – At its June meeting, the Zonta Club of Oswego ushered in a new president, welcomed eight new members and presented three scholarships.

Sarah Irland accepted her appointment as the incoming club president, taking over from Roxanna Gillen whose two-year term had ended.

The Zonta Club of Oswego's Scholarship Committee presents its 2014 scholarship awards. From left, Marta Santiago, Inga Back, Jacqueline Dahar, Jessica Pastuf, Annamarie Forestiere, Kris Bushey and Tammy Thompson.
The Zonta Club of Oswego’s Scholarship Committee presents its 2014 scholarship awards. From left, Marta Santiago, Inga Back, Jacqueline Dahar, Jessica Pastuf, Annamarie Forestiere, Kris Bushey and Tammy Thompson.

In a ceremony featuring traditional Zonta yellow roses and readings by club members about the origin of the Zonta symbol, eight new members were inducted into the local group, including Gisele Berigno, Tammy Elowsky, Lisa Emmons, Kristin LaBarge, Maggie Rivera, Jackie Thorpe and Teresa Woolson (Kristi Eck was also inducted but was unable to attend the meeting).

After her induction, Elowsky said “I’m honored to become a part of this group of amazingly talented, strong women of service. I look forward to learning from each one and sharing my expertise in advancing the status of women both here at home and worldwide. I truly believe in Zonta’s vision, that women’s rights are human rights and every woman should be literate, have access to education, health care, and legal and economic resources on an equal basis with men, and that no woman should live in fear of violence. I look forward to getting started!”

Zonta also presented three scholarship awards including the Young Women in Public Affairs Award and traditional and non-traditional scholarships.

In their own ways, each of these three women exemplify the spirit of Zonta and will hopefully go on to be leaders in their respective professions and communities.

Incoming president Sarah Irland with her sponsored new member Kristin LaBarge.
Incoming president Sarah Irland with her sponsored new member Kristin LaBarge.

The Young Woman in Public Affairs Scholarship was established by Zonta International in 1990 to encourage more young women to participate in public affairs. This year’s YWPA winner was Annamarie Forestiere. She attended Pulaski High School and was co-salutatorian of her graduating class. She has been involved in numerous student and community service activities, including art, music, 4H, the new visions allied health program and the National Honor Society. Showing particular initiative, she started the Leo Club, which is a local community service group. According to a reference, she does it all with “a reliably upbeat attitude and grace under pressure.” She is planning on studying business and music at the University of Rochester.

The traditional high school scholarship was presented to Jessica Pastuf who was also a student at Pulaski High School. She has succeeded despite adversity. She has been raised by her father and grandmother and has learned the value of hard work. She has been an outstanding student, athlete and musician, worked part time and participated in community service activities. She is also described as “one of the kindest and most humble people one could meet.” After working in the community last summer and seeing that there were many children who didn’t have access to balanced, nutritious meals, she decided she wants to be a dietician. She will be attending the University of North Carolina in the fall and has been accepted into its honors program.

The final award of the evening was the non-traditional college scholarship and was presented to Jacqueline Dahar. She is a returning SUNY Oswego student majoring in education and minoring in linguistics. Her original degree 25 years ago was also in education, however her current goal is to teach English to speakers of other languages, a passion that was fueled by a summer teaching English in Japan. She has the soul of a teacher saying in her personal statement about tutoring high school students “I have learned so much through these kids. Some of them have displayed some pretty bad behavior in school (and thus came to be suspended), but I found most of them to be very endearing after spent the quantity of time with each other that tutoring entails. It has especially been rewarding to see the progress they often make due to the one on one instructional time.” She is a single mom of four teenage children and still manages to be involved in their activities and volunteer on campus.

For more information about the Zonta Club of Oswego visit its Facebook page or contact Inga Back at [email protected]