July 1, 2016

Top College Scholarship Goes To Sandusky High’s Rosalia Abraham

Abraham, Rosie - PAY IT FORWARDSandusky, MI – Class of 2016 graduate Rosalia Abraham is now the 2nd full recipient of the Samczyk-Ball Pay It Forward Scholarship, which awards $20,000 over four years to a Sandusky High School student who most exemplifies the spirit of determination and service to others. The scholarship is currently the largest such award available in Sanilac County.

Ms. Abraham was chosen for the prestigious award from a group of impressive candidates. Says Traci Samczyk (Sandusky High School ‘84), who established the scholarship with her partner, Abby Dees, in 2014, “This year’s decision was especially tough because each one of the top candidates showed the kind of grit and generosity that’s at the very heart of this scholarship.” But Rosalia still stood out as someone who is going to make Sandusky High especially proud to call her one of its own.

While attending Sandusky High School full time, where she was an editor for the yearbook and four-year member of the volleyball team, Ms. Abraham also worked 20-30 hours a week as a waitress and sales associate. Despite her already full schedule, she took every opportunity to give back to her community through volunteer activities, such as raising money to fight homelessness, helping to buy furnaces for low-income families, and increasing awareness about autism.  Ms. Samczyk said, “I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Thanks in part to the Samczyk-Ball Pay It Forward Scholarship, one big thing Ms. Abraham will be doing next is attending Saginaw Valley State University in the fall, where she plans to major in Biology, with a minor in chemistry and a special focus on cyber-security. This very motivated young woman says, “I cannot express how much this scholarship means to me . . . I forever promise to pay it forward in the future.”

That’s exactly the kind of thing Ms. Samczyk envisioned when she and Ms. Dees established the scholarship. Though she now lives in Los Angeles, Ms. Samczyk never forgets how much her hometown of Sandusky taught her about hard work and giving: “My parents sacrificed every day to give me opportunities, and never complained once. My teachers pushed me to think beyond myself and to imagine life in someone else’s shoes.  People back home will always come together to help someone in need, even for a total stranger.  Because of that foundation, I was able to follow my dreams and build a

great life.  I’ve been so fortunate.  The scholarship is a way to say thank you for all those important lessons and give someone else a chance, the way folks took a chance on me way back when.”

So, through the Sanilac County Community Foundation, the very first Samczyk-Ball Pay It Forward Scholarship was awarded to Jared Sanderson in 2015. Mr. Sanderson is currently enrolled at Michigan State University.  Fellow Class of 2015 students Mary Markel and Amanda Bartle also received partial Pay It Forward scholarships in recognition of their exceptional work.

The scholarship was named in honor of Ms. Samczyk’s family. Her father, Ed Samczyk, is a familiar face to most Sandusky residents as the former manager of Jerry’s Foodland, and her mother, Elaine Samczyk (neé Ball) worked for many years at Mavis Furniture. They are now happily retired and living in sunny Clearwater, Florida. As for the “Pay it Forward” part of the scholarship name, Ms Samczyk says, “Well, that’s obvious!  Simply, pass the goodwill forward and help someone else along the way.  That is what it is all about.” She hopes to see the scholarship doing just that – paying it forward – for many years to come.

The scholarship is administered through the Sanilac County Community Foundation (SCCF). For more information on scholarship opportunities through the SCCF, contact Melissa Anderson, Executive Director, at the Foundation office at 810-648-3634.

For Good. For Ever.