Ryan Stieve has captured one of the most coveted awards any Huntington High School senior can receive. The teenager is this year’s recipient of the John Bosco Memorial Scholarship, which honors a member of the Class of 2012 who was struck and killed by a car in January 2015 while crossing the street during a family vacation in Florida.
The devastating tragedy shattered the hearts of Mr. Bosco’s family, friends and former teachers and coaches. The Blue Devil lacrosse alum was studying at SUNY College of Oneonta at the time of his passing.
In the weeks and months that followed, Mr. Bosco’s family and friends joined together to create a scholarship in his honor. The John Bosco Memorial Scholarship was presented for the first time in June 2015 with the initial awards going to seniors Marina Siegel and Brendan Wirth. Caroline McCartney and Caroline Petrozzo were honored last year.
This year’s scholarship award was presented by Mr. Bosco’s sister, Angela before a crowd of 300 at Huntington’s High School senior academic awards ceremony in the auditorium. The award carries a $500 stipend.
“I know I speak on behalf of my family when I say we are so grateful for all the love and support we have received from the Huntington community over the past two years because without people like you along with our family and friends, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Ms. Bosco told the awards ceremony crowd.
The criteria for the John Bosco Memorial Scholarship includes:
• It is open to Huntington High School seniors.
• Applicants should have an interest in the study of chemistry.
• Applicants should demonstrate a caring spirit, creativity, helpfulness, leadership, integrity and reliability.
• Applicants should explain in an essay not only their interest in chemistry, but how their experiences have benefitted the Huntington community.
• Two letters of recommendation, including one from a Huntington High School teacher and another from a mentor outside of school are required.
Mr. Bosco was active with Young Leaders, a local youth development organization. He interned at Town Hall with Councilwoman Susan Berland. The teenager had an easygoing presence around the high school, where he enjoyed many close friendships.
“John was one of a kind,” Ms. Bosco said. “He was full of life, extremely bright, outgoing and funny and no matter what, John always put others before himself. Even though he was only here for 20 short years, he has touched more lives and accomplished more goals than most people would in a lifetime. He is definitely the definition of a person who lived life to the fullest. He was everything my sister and I could ask for in a brother and an incredible son to my parents. He was also an amazing friend, teammate and leader.”
Mr. Stieve plans to attend SUNY College at Oneonta, just like Mr. Bosco. He is interested in studying business management. The teenager earned varsity athletic letters in football, wrestling and lacrosse, serving as captain of the latter two teams. He won the 192 lb. league wrestling championship and also garnered New York State Scholar Athlete honors during his time with the Blue Devils.
“It’s an honor to receive this award,” Mr. Stieve said. “I hope to keep being a leader and a great member of my community, just like John was.”
A good natured young man, Mr. Stieve was very well-liked by his classmates and teammates. He is going to be missed around Huntington High School when classes resume in September.
“On top of the incredible person that John was, he also took a strong interest in science,” Ms. Bosco said. “Science was the one subject I actually saw him admire and enjoy. This scholarship was created in memory of John to continue to keep his spirit and legacy alive. We wanted the scholarship to be a representation of John and the characteristics he demonstrated: his love for science, leadership in all endeavors, kindness to all he encountered and eternal passion. We are proud to see the winner of this year’s scholarship exhibit these characteristics in his daily life as John did.”
The loss of Mr. Bosco has left an unfillable hole in the lives of many. But, the scholarship created in his honor has helped keep his spirit and memory alive at his alma mater.
“John had an admirable drive to help others in absolutely any way that he could,” Ms. Bosco said. “He constantly put others before himself and found such happiness in being kind to others. John was the type of person that would go up to anyone, just to ensure they were having a good day or say hello to others because they were simply crossing paths. It’s those small acts of kindness that a majority of us forget to do or just don’t do because we don’t realize the everlasting impression it has on others. But, because of John doing those small gestures, he has left a legacy in this community.”
Five other finalists for this year’s award were given $100 gift certificates. The group includes Anna Ardell (George Mason University), Emma Petrizzi (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Kelly Nicoletto (Clemson University), Erin Morrisroe (University of Virginia) and Noelle Harvey (Wagner College).
“It’s been two and one-half years since the day he passed and I still have people come up to me and tell me that my brother forever impacted their lives,” Ms. Bosco said. “Although the death of my brother has been one of the hardest obstacles I’ve ever had to overcome, he taught me so much in the short time he was here. I try to celebrate his life be demonstrating an act of kindness in my daily routines, just like he would do. I am beyond proud to call John my brother.”