COVENTRY — The Coventry Teachers’ Alliance Scholarship Fund Award Night, an event that typically draws hundreds to the Coventry High School auditorium, took place remotely last week, with 137 graduating seniors awarded scholarships totaling $115,000.

“The live-stream format is certainly unlike anything we have done before,” Suzanne Tracy, a math teacher at the high school and coordinator of the awards night, said Friday, standing at the podium in an empty Council Chambers. “But couldn’t we say that of pretty much everything we’ve done for the last two months?”

Though it’s been an interesting couple of months “traveling an uncharted course,” Tracy added, “there is one group we can always turn to for inspiration and motivation.”

And that group, she continued, is the Coventry High School class of 2020.

“Seniors,” Tracy said, “much was taken from you on March 13, yet you continue to give back.”

Noting the fun videos the students have been making and sharing, as well as their diligence when it comes to attending class and meetings online, Tracy lauded the students for holding their heads high through this unexpected end to their senior year. She also praised the students for their efforts to give back to members of the community.

“Today, we would like to show our gratitude for all that you have done for CHS,” Tracy said. 

Created in 1978 to help high school seniors further their education, the CTA Scholarship Fund in its first year awarded six scholarships in the amount of $1,800. Funded by contributions from both current and retired school staff with those contributions matched by community donors, the fund has since grown tremendously, with well over $1.5 million awarded to Coventry students to date. 

Typically, students are awarded their scholarships at the ceremony by the donors. Because that wasn’t possible this year, a slideshow was created so that the seniors could still “meet” their donors.

Twelve students this year were awarded $2,000 cooperative scholarships. Those scholarships went to Julianna Sinotte, Marissa Allen, Charlotte Brewer, Jaya Joyce, Bianca Colucci, Leigh Tourgee, Katarina Capezza, Kaitlyn MacTavish, Ethan Estey, Abigail Smith, Devon Mellon and Morgan Maher.

Fifty-four students received $1,000 cooperative scholarships, meanwhile, and 70 received scholarships in the amount of $500.

Kelly Erinakes, president of the Coventry Teachers’ Alliance, took the podium Friday to remind award recipients to always be thankful for the family members, teachers, friends and fellow community members who contributed to their success, but also to never forget where they came from.  

“Remember Coventry,” Erinakes said. “Remember the bonds that you formed, the people that helped you along the way, and come back to Coventry. Support your school system, support your town, support your family and most importantly, please do as we do, and support that next generation, as well. You are our future.”

“At quick glance, it would appear that this virus has separated everyone,” Tracy added as the ceremony wrapped up. “But in ways that matter most, it has drawn all of you together.”

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