OCEAN TWP, NJ - On June 8th, the Italian American Association of the Township of Ocean (IAATO) awarded $24,000 in academic scholarships to 14 high school students during a ceremony in the Renaissance Ballroom located at the IAATO building on Route 35, Ocean Township. Scholarships were awarded from three categories: a) Ocean Township High School students who have excelled for four years in the Italian Studies Program; b) Monmouth County High School student who has excelled in an Italian Studies Program outside of Ocean Township High School; and, c) Continuing Education for children and grandchildren of IAATO members with overall high academic achievement.

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Standing left to right are Scholarship Committee Chairman John Napolitani, Tara Neitzold, Victoria Morgano, Heather Zaccaro, Elizabeth DiBisceglie, Scholarship Committee Member Carlo Manna, Stephanie Cichy, Marc Salerno, Jessica Autino, Connor Hayes, Sana Rashid, Nicole Blazejewski, Kathryn Ryan, Laurie Tobia and Christopher Tuzzio. Absent in photo are Kathleen Siciliano and Scholarship Committee Member William Galatro.

This year the scholarship recipients who excelled in Italian studies are:  Stephanie E. Cichy, Tara Neitzold, and Sana Rashid (all attending Ocean Township High School) and Nicole M. Blazejewski (Freehold Boro High School). The recipients for continuing education scholarships are:  Jessica Autino, granddaughter of Mike Ponenti;  Elizabeth DiBisceglie, granddaughter of Dom DiBisceglie; Connor Hayes, grandson of Tony Caltabilota; Victoria Morgano, granddaughter of General Vito Morgano; Kathryn Ryan, granddaughter of Anthony Gallo; Marc Salerno, son of Tony Salerno; Kathleen Siciliano, granddaughter of Gavin Siciliano; Laurie Tobia, granddaughter of Lou Molinari; Christopher Tuzzio, grandson of Dom Tuzzio; and Heather N. Zaccaro, daughter of Tim Zaccaro.

IAATO, which has over 300 members, has awarded scholarships to deserving students for over 30 years. Members of this year's scholarship selection committee were: John Napolitani, Sr., William Galatro, and Carlo Manna. Funds for scholarships are raised from proceeds at the Township of Ocean Italian Festival which is held annually in August at Joe Palaia Park and is sponsored by the IAATO.