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NY parade names scholarship winners

Incoming parade board chairman, Sean Lane


By Irish Echo Staff

The board of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has announced six winners of its 2018 College and High School level research scholarship contest.

According to a release the winners of college scholarships are: First Place: Emily Grasso, New York University School of Law. Emily’s mother is a member of the County Leitrim Society of New York.

Second Place: John Doyle, Iona College. Third Place: Margaret Smith, Fordham University.

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The winners of high school scholarships are: First Place: John Aidan Armstrong, Mount Sinai High School in Mount Sinai, NY. John’s mother is a member of the Parade affiliated organization Molloy College.

Second Place: Mary Elizabeth Amonica, Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia, NY. Mary’s uncle is a member of Division 3 Rockland County AOH in Pearl River. Third Place: Katherine Brophy, Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA. Katherine’s grandfather is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

“We commend all the applicants for their submissions and complement them for the extremely high level of academic excellence. The scholarship program is important as it engages young individuals who are interested in their Irish heritage and hopefully they will step up to be the future leaders of this great parade”, said Catherine Tully Muscente, co-chair of the scholarship program.

“We wish to thank our expert panel of judges who gave of their time to review the research papers and especially thank all of the applicants for their submissions.”

The Parade scholarship program, according to the release, is funded by the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation which established the St. Patrick’s Scholars program a number of years ago.

This year, the foundation is funding nine scholarships, the traditional six Parade scholarships for affiliated groups and three additional scholarships in Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s name for Irish American children attending Catholic schools that march annually in the parade.

“We are delighted to support the education of children whose families are associated with the parade’s affiliated organizations,” said Hilary Beirne Co-Chair of the program and chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation.

“In the future, we want to raise additional funds that will allow us to expand the scholars program, helping us to better support the affiliated organizations,” Beirne said.

“The St. Patrick’s Day Foundation will continue to sponsor this program next year and support of the affiliated organizations in whatever way we can. We want to express our appreciation to the affiliated organizations who got the word out concerning the scholarships, and to all the parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, faculty members at the schools and colleges who encourage students to submit research papers. We wish all winners the very best in their studies and future endeavors.”

The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade scholarship program, continued the release, is held annually in memory of two outstanding past parade leaders, Francis P. Beirne and Margaret O’Rourke.

The applicant’s school, college or university must be affiliated with the parade, or the applicant must be a family member (son, daughter, spouse, brother, sister, niece, nephew, grandchild, grandniece, grandnephew and great grandchild) of any person belonging to a parade affiliated organization.

Every year the scholarship panel select topics that relates to the parade, Irish American history, or the history Ireland. This year’s questions for discussion were: College level: “In light of the United Kingdom’s pending withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit), explore the potential implications for Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.”

High school level: “The history of Catholic education has been closely entwined with the history of Irish immigration. Explore the relationship from the 1840s to present.”

Applicants are required to research their respective topic and submit essay which are adjudicated by a panel of judges from many different walks of life and include representation from the Affiliated Organizations in the parade, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, the United Irish Counties and the Grand Council of United Emerald Societies.

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Scholarship panel for 2018 included Catherine Tully Muscente, co-chair; Hilary Beirne, co-chair; Linda Dowling Almeida, Michael Boyle, Jack Calcado, Ann Garvey, John Garvey, Catherine Hogan, Mary Hogan, Michael Howley, Mary Pat Kelly, Turlough McConnell, John O’Connell, Ruth Riddick, and Laura Travers.

The announcement of the scholarships for 2018 and the potential for future expansion of the program will likely go some way in assuaging questions raised in recent months by members of the affiliated organizations regarding the scholarship program.

The parade has been roiled by legal actions in the Bronx and Westchester County although a ruling issued in recent days by Judge Robert Johnson in the Bronx would appear to have placed a bar in front any further, though perhaps not all, action before his court.

Court action is costly and could have a negative effect on the scholarship program, the incoming parade board chairman has separately warned.

“We have made the parade more inclusive and ended a threat to the very survival of the parade. We have reformed our bylaws to bring them into compliance with state and federal regulations. We have put the parade on a sound financial footing,” said Mr. Lane in the wake of Judge Johnson’s series of decisions in a suit pitting former parade and celebration committee chairman, John Dunleavy, against outgoing board chairman, Dr. John Lahey.

“We look forward to working with all the affiliated organizations, and all Irish Americans, to expanding our scholarships and other programs which commemorate our faith, our values and our Irish culture,” said Lane.

“We look forward to a time when our resources go to scholarships and other programs, and not to legal bills,” added Lane who will take over the board chairmanship when Dr. Lahey formally steps down on June 30.

Lane is Vice Chair and co-founder of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation which has, according to a biographical release from the parade board, become the largest single source of financial support for the parade.

Lane, said the release, was born in New York City and raised in Galway.

He was awarded an honors Post-Graduate Diploma in Business and a B.A. from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He holds a Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning from New York University, and has earned both the Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner designations. He is a member of the CFA Institute, The New York Society of Securities Analysts, and the Financial Planners Association.

Lane returned to New York in 1993 and worked as a bartender until he secured a job in the financial services industry. He is now a Senior Vice President for a major Wall Street firm.

Mr. Lane is an honorary member of the 69th Infantry Regiment, the Fighting 69th, and serves on the advisory board of the Regimental Trust.

He also serves on the U.S. Board of the Irish National Theatre, the Galway University Foundation, and the Leadership Circle for the Northwell Health Department of Medicine.

Lane and his wife, Cielo, have two children, Sarah, 14, a lector at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Garden City, and Ryan, 12, an altar-server at St. Joseph’s. The family lives in Garden City.