Cole Chizmadia

A 2019-2020 Phillips Alumni Scholar

   Cole Chizmadia has always wanted to be a teacher, and this desire to make a difference has influenced his whole life.
   As a volunteer at the preschool of Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT, from which he graduated in June 2019, Cole created his own lesson plans, devising activities and creative art projects appropriate to their different age levels. Additionally, he worked at a local elementary school’s after-school program, helping students with their homework and spending quality time with them.
   In other venues, he coached basketball, his other passion besides teaching. He worked with young athletes at the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club, giving back to a place he began to attend as a seven year old. In 2018, he was nominated for Wakeman Youth of the Year for his impressive involvement. Cole also dedicated time on Saturdays to teach basketball to children with special needs and developmental disabilities.
   Given all this, it is no surprise that he has chosen to attend Southern Connecticut State University (’23) in order to major in special needs education. What might be surprising, though, is that Cole received services during much of his school career to overcome a learning disability. “I have had to work twice as hard as all my peers to achieve the same things they have, but it finally all paid off. My disability has shaped me into the person I have become,” says Cole. The memory of countless teachers who helped him to develop the mindset that he could overcome anything feeds his desire to be a special needs teacher.
   At SCSU, he is also excited about working with the club Best Buddies, where college students are matched with children with disabilities. “Overall, I am really happy here. It is a perfect fit for me.”

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


Rosa Brito

A 2019-2020 Phillips Alumni Scholar

   A graduate of Chelsea High School (‘19), Rosa Brito has just started at Clark University in Worcester where the coursework is well-suited for her career goals in the health sciences field. Clark has exceeded her expectations in terms of the friendliness and sense of unity among the students; the numerous clubs offered; the support for students through mentors, peer advisors and tutoring; the Connections transition program for multicultural students; and even the food! “I love this university; I believe I made the best decision to attend Clark,” delights Rosa.
   Worcester is far from the small island of Brava in Cape Verde from which Rosa emigrated to the United States. Despite a late start speaking English, Rosa was an honor roll student at Chelsea High, challenging herself with AP courses and dual enrollment in community college. Very involved with her school community as a class officer, she also tutored, worked at the school store and ran track.
   From 7th grade on, Rosa was a member of REACH, an after-school program supporting Chelsea students. During high school, she served as an Assistant Group Leader and tutor there, working with middle school students. Rosa also served on the REACH youth advisory council.
   In the summers, Rosa worked in the St. Stephens Youth Program, creating science curriculum as a STEM specialist and later as lead counselor. Additionally, Rosa worked 12-20 hours per week with a second job in retail.
   Asked if she has become as involved at Clark as she was in high school, she responded, “I am a part of the Black Student Union, Caribbean African Students Association, and I was elected as my hall representative.” So, yes, she has!

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


Ashley Levesque

A 2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar

2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Messiah College ’22) Ashley Levesque graduated from Maine’s Scarborough High School in 2017, where she was active in Key Club, Student Council, and several sports teams. During her junior year of high school, she participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua and there met fellow missionaries who were participating in the World Race Gap Year program: a nine-month international mission trip. She felt herself drawn to follow in their footsteps, “escaping America’s mold in order to pursue the road less traveled.” She said, “As time passed I began to get a deeper urge and ambition to go. Consequently, on September 9th, 2017, I stepped off of American soil onto a plane to Cambodia.” The trip continued to Thailand, Honduras, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. She was teaching English at Buddhist schools, counseling victims of human trafficking, assisting patients at community hospitals, contributing to construction projects, and more.

This experience was deeply faith-confirming for Ashley. In her own words, “Throughout my trip, the thing that got me through the hard times, the good times, and the times where all I wanted was a pair of clean socks, was God’s love. It was in the midst of the scenery around me or the little toddler that gave me a smile and a wave or the widow who washed my feet.”

Since returning to the United States and moving on campus at Messiah College, where she is a member of the field hockey team, Ashley has continued to live a life that is grounded in her faith. “Transitioning from serving God in the bush of Africa to a turf field in America has opened up my eyes to see that I can have a radical impact wherever I go,” Ashley said. “The truth of the matter is that love is all around us and even in us, wherever we find ourselves in the world.”

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


John Khuc

A 2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar

2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Wentworth Institute of Technology ’22) John Khuc graduated from the Boston Latin School this past June. He still remembers when he entered the doors: “I was literally a sponge ready to soak in all the new things I could do.” After joining several clubs, he said “I felt like I was a flower blossoming!” Two volunteer organizations, Recycling Club and Wolfpack Volunteers, had an especially strong impact. “It was through volunteering that I developed a deep passion for helping others and creating strong connections with new people.” This inspired John to find volunteering opportunities outside of school, which is how he became involved with Boston Cares. Through Boston Cares, he has done a myriad of services for the community including knitting hats for babies, working in a food pantry, cleaning city streets, distributing food and care packages, and many more.

John also found jobs that were other-oriented, working as a tutor through both the All Dorchester Sports League and the Young People’s Project. “Both jobs allowed me to work with children and it was such a blessing to be able to not only teach them but also provide emotional support whenever they needed it. I was able to work with kids from low-income families which allowed me to relate and create the best experience for them.”

On top of the great causes John contributed to as a volunteer and a tutor, he found time to explore his interest in robotics through the Boston Latin School’s NUTRONS club. His growing love of STEM activities motivated him to choose a college with a strong computer science program.

This fall, John began his college career at Wentworth Institute of Technology, a school where he can major in computer science and continue his professional development through co-ops. He plans to become “an active innovator on the frontier of technological advancements” and to leave behind “a legacy I can come back to and be proud of!”

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


Matthew Zienkiewicz

A 2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


Elizabeth Suarez

A 2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar

2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Emmanuel College ’21) Elizabeth Suarez has been very active in her community of Lawrence, Massachusetts. She volunteered her time visiting the elderly, sorting through donated items for a local thrift shop, and often, serving food at soup kitchens. Elizabeth recalled, “I started doing these activities when I was younger, so these activities have always been a part of me… when you see other people who may not have everything you have, and live a different life than the one you live, it changes you and builds you up. It makes you always want to find a way to help, whether it is serving food or simply having a conversation with a person who comes to the kitchen that day.” She credits her grandmother with teaching her to serve others when she was just a child, so that now the desire to help others is completely ingrained in her.

As Elizabeth grew older, she translated her volunteering experience into the foundation of a career. The summer before her senior year of high school, she took on a job in nutritional services at Lawrence General Hospital. This past summer she told us, “Now, I am going off to college and have pursued a new job called Bring Care Home where I am a Personal Care Assistant and a Homemaker. I provide home health care services in the form of help and support for those who need it. Throughout my college experience I hope to continue with this job or in the area as it is something I love to do.” As she pursues her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emmanuel College, Elizabeth knows that no matter what, “I will continue helping others and leaving my mark on people in a positive manner.”

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our alumni.


Kathleen Hemingway

A 2015-2016 Phillips Alumni Scholar

Hemingway photo

2015-2016 Alumni Scholar Kathleen Hemingway (University of New England, ’19) hails from beautiful but small Block Island in Rhode Island, where she founded the Student Leadership Team in the K-12 Block Island School. Growing out of an internship with the school social worker, the team is her response to the challenge, “What is one thing you would change at school?” Remembering her own middle school years as a time of sometimes awkward transitioning, Kathleen sought a way to make life for the younger students less intimidating while also serving as a good role model for them. Her sophomore year, she used extensive surveys and meetings with faculty to determine the need for the program and the willingness of the high schoolers to serve as mentors. Kathleen and her advisor decided that the program would hold fun activities for the middle school at least once a quarter while offering mentoring, tutoring and help with specific skill sets for students from kindergarten through seventh grade. Students would be referred through the office, and then the leadership team would match the student to an appropriate Leader. The Leader then developed the specific action plan for the student in concert with the parent(s). The plan included an end date, although the student and mentor could opt to continue if both felt the partnership was working. The Leadership Team also created appealing quarterly activities and carefully documented each event to evaluate its success and facilitate the planning for the following years. These events included scavenger hunts, movie nights, picnics and themed holiday parties.

“Overall, the team has made incredible strides to give kids the opportunity to feel like themselves and show them that, regardless of what they may think, there are people out there who care about them and are willing to listen. I was surprised by the impact the program had on the Student Leaders as well. They learned how to handle difficult, unforeseen circumstances, to plan, implement and evaluate an event and work with the faculty. I learned how to admit when I need help and ask for it and how to lead a group while giving everyone a voice. I will carry the lessons I have learned from my peers, the students and the adults involved for the rest of my life. One person can really make a difference, and I can be that person.”

The Leadership Team is in good hands to continue even though Kathleen is now at University of New England. So far, she is involved with Habitat for Humanity and the Education Club. Her work-study job is service-oriented: Through America Reads /America Counts she tutors at a local elementary school, currently her favorite activity. She looks forward to becoming an elementary school teacher.

PHILLIPS ALUMNI SCHOLAR

The Phillips Alumni Scholar Award goes to a new recipient of the scholarship who clearly exemplifies a “sense of other,” strong work ethic, academic strength and commitment to community service that are the hallmarks of the Phillips Scholar. The funds for the Alumni Scholar award(s) come from the generosity of Phillips Scholarship Alumni who donate so that others may have the opportunity to overcome the same financial barriers to education that they found. We are deeply grateful for the support of our Alumni.