Inspired by challenge, FLCC alumni create George Floyd Scholarship

PHoto of Althea Jones-Johnson
Althea Jones-Johnson ’18

As she sat at her table for the annual scholarship dinner awards ceremony at Finger Lakes Community College in September 2017, Althea Jones-Johnson made a promise to herself: One day she’d do what she could to help future students of color join the list of honorees.

“I was just so grateful,” she said. “I remember saying to myself that I want someone else to be able to experience that.”

Fast-forward to the present: Having recently embarked on a master’s degree program in higher education, Althea has partnered with fellow FLCC alumna and graduate student Samantha Maniscola to establish a new scholarship for African-American students.

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship awards $1,000 to a deserving student in the memory of the Minneapolis man who was murdered by police during what should have been a routine misdemeanor arrest.

The first recipient, Lucas Cupelli of Geneva, was recently honored along with dozens of other FLCC scholarship recipients and their benefactors at a virtual celebration held in lieu of the annual Constellation Brands Honors Dinner.

The scholarship is inspired by a desire to bring change and a challenge by North Central University President Scott Hagan who on June 4 announced the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship at his institution and called on every university president in the country to follow suit.

“I saw that this college had challenged other institutions to do the same things and I called Sam and said ‘We should do something like this for FLCC.’ And now, here we are.”

Photo of Samantha Maniscola
Samantha Maniscola ;18

Through the process, Jones-Johnson considered the support she received while studying at FLCC, and in particular, a nudge from Dawn Hess, director of enterprise risk management and environmental health and safety.

Jones-Johnson worked for Hess as a part-time student worker and, when reporting for duty one day, was directed not to file reports and conduct inspections as was the routine. “I got to work and she told me, ‘Today I want you sit down and apply for one of these scholarships,’ so that’s what I did,” said Jones-Johnson.

Jones-Johnson soon received word she’d been awarded a scholarship created in honor of a retired provost, the Thomas Topping Adult Returning Student Scholarship. A year later, a second scholarship, the Brian M. Kolb Leadership Award.

“The scholarships definitely helped me financially and motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and see my own potential. I hope we’re able to help others do the same.”

The Floyd scholarship is one of several new scholarships awarded in the past year. Others include:

The Sam Argetsinger Memorial Scholarship, created in memory of its namesake, a highly regarded Finger Lakes grape grower who was also known for his interest in preservation, land management and Iroquois history. Created by his friends and family, the scholarship was awarded to James Gantz, of Geneva.

The IBERO Hispanic Scholarship, sponsored by the IBERO American Action League, was awarded to Juliana Quinones of Rochester.

The Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship was established by the Rural Health Network in partnership with FLCC to respond to the need for healthcare workers. It was awarded to: Shantaye Burkholder of Lyons; Hannah Bridson of Macedon; Jenna Crego of Marion; Chantel Johnson; David Milliman and Annalise Schram of Newark; Jessica Privitera of Ontario; Irina Chebotareva, Victoria Dempsey Rylie Froehler, Crystal Perkins, Katherine Smyth, Joseph Vernille and Kaitlin Wyffels of Palmyra; Miranda Bennett and Deedra Dowdle of Sodus; and Mercedes Westfall of Williamson.

The privately funded FLCC Foundation scholarships are presented to part- and full-time students entering or returning to FLCC this fall or those who transferred to four-year colleges and universities. Students apply for and are selected to receive the awards based on a variety of criteria relating to major, grade point average and intended occupation. The awards range from $300 to full tuition.

The 2020-21 scholarship recipients by county are as follows (this list includes some students who earned scholarships in the spring 2020 semester and have since graduated):


Friendship: Calum Ruxton, Fraley Family Award

Wellsville: Lacey Shuttleworth, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship


Allegany: John Giardini, Alton B. Corbit Memorial Scholarship; Madeline Lippert, Laura McNamara Tyler ’96 Memorial Scholarship


Sterling: Logan Field, FLCC Foundation Scholarship


Cortland: Madisen Tucker, Massage Therapy Scholarship


Gilboa: Gabrielle Groves, Brooke Makowiec Memorial Award, John M. Meuser Memorial Scholarship


Leroy: Sarah Efing, Summers Completion Scholarship


Leicester: Zachary Fanaro, FLCC Foundation Scholarship

Lima: Jennifer Torres, Faye Marie Jensen Memorial Scholarship

Springwater: Samantha Gossage, Thomas Topping Adult Returning Student Scholarship


Fairport: Pink Carolyn, Alice C. Southgate Home Bureau Scholarship; Kyla Engelson, Student Access/McKenney Scholarship

Honeoye Falls: Hannah Williams, Jane Milne Mills Memorial Scholarship

Rochester: Virgil Acquilano, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Raina Becker, Francis Finnick Memorial Conservation Scholarship; Marie Bolling, The Shortsville Smokers Scholarship; Lashanda Brown, Frances F. MacLeod Memorial Scholarship; Nyaliah Butler, Student Access/McKenney Scholarship; Samantha Condello, Arianne van Tienhoven Tepper Award; Samuel Jones, Bill Parham Memorial Scholarship; Tanisha Mason, Charlotte Cowie Memorial Scholarship; Geoffrey Medler, POW/MIA Award; Marian Mohamed, Frances F. MacLeod Memorial Scholarship; Brandon Poindexter, FLCC/Urban League of Rochester Scholarship; Juliana Quinones, IBERO Hispanic Scholarship; Jason Smith, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. Excellence Scholarship; Ruth Woodin, Garmezy & Murphy Viticulture Scholarship Webster: Bradon Detro, Mutual Hook & Ladder Scholarship; Alessia Paratore, AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship


Rome: Skyler Donley, AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship


Baldwinsville: Emily Baird, Constellation Brands Viticultural Scholarship


Bloomfield: Jayde Langan, FLCC Horticulture Faculty Scholarship

Canandaigua: Russell Cammarata, Ontario County Arts Council Mariner Family Scholarship; Gertrude Fisher, Robert L. “Rodge” Case Award; Aimee Hawkins, Dr. Charles J. Meder Scholarship for the Arts; Traci Laird, AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship; Hannah Lochner, John and Peggy Champaigne Achievement Award; Jasmine Lofdahl, Patricia Nettnin Memorial Scholarship; Gabriel Montalvo, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Madison Montalvo, Murray F. Gardner Memorial Scholarship, Ed Morrell Biology/Biotechnology Scholarship; Darlene Moore, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship; Lauren Moore, Eugene B. Risser Technology Scholarship; Joceyln Ortiz, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Aaron Pierce, FLCC Conservation Faculty Scholarship; Jaylea Ransom, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Reann Rhoads, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Mara Spuring, S&S Memorial Scholarship; Marissa Waterman, Frances F. MacLeod Memorial Scholarship; David Zabliski, Garlock Sealing Technologies Scholarship, William D. Langston Memorial Scholarship

Farmington: Delvy Koumba-Mouity, Mark J. Prockton Memorial Scholarship; Allison Riley, Reh Family Foundation Scholarship; Heather Sadler, Joanne Glover Memorial Scholarship; Emma Wesley, FLCC Board of Trustees Scholarship, Reh Family Foundation Excellence Scholarship; Ryan Westbrook, Reh Family Foundation Excellence Scholarship

Geneva: Raymir Briceno Ortega, Ed & Gerry Cuony Scholarship; Karla Calix, Dr. Ina Sue Brown Memorial Scholarship, Found Word Scholarship; Amanda Cornwell, James P. Finkle Viticulture Scholarship; Lucas Cupelli, George Floyd Memorial Scholarship; Sharon Egure, FLCC Geneva Campus Center Scholarship; Zoe Fowler-Calabrese, The Frarey Family Scholarship; James Gantz, Sam Argetsinger Memorial Viticulture Scholarship; Electra Laird, Charlotte B. Munson Memorial Scholarship; Alara Powell, IDEA Scholarship; Ashley Sheppard, Michaels Family Memorial Scholarship; Kaylee Smolinski, Bowen Family Scholarship

Manchester: Kenneth Schrom, Tom Albanese Memorial Scholarship

Naples: Cordell Bradley, John H. Brahm III Memorial Scholarship; Jake Cratsley, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship; Kristin Girard, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Amber LeMay, FLCC Alumni Association Excellence Scholarship; Kate Livingston, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship, FLCC Mathematics Department Award in Memory of Sherman Hunt; Sarah Grace Parshall, FLCC Nursing Alumni Legacy Scholarship; Michaela Williams AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship

Phelps: Jasmine Fiori, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Hannah Galloway, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship; Wyatt Harrington, Farash First in Family Scholarship; Katelyn Roland, Farash First in Family Scholarship

Rushville: Michael Hiller, Monty Stamp Memorial Scholarship

Stanley: Henry Sloth, Mathematics Department Award for Excellence

Victor: Ethan Davis, Reh Family Foundation Scholarship, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship; Liam Richards, Collins “Connie” and Verna Carpenter Memorial Scholarship


Harriman: Christina Corsaro, Summers Completion Scholarship


Pulaski: Emily Klein, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship


Astoria: Matthew Burges, FLCC Honors Studies Freshman Scholarship


Lodi: Sarah Farrow, Sharon Nedrow ABE Scholarship, FLCC Conservation Faculty Scholarship; Justin Smith, FLCC Conservation Faculty Scholarship; Morgan Surine Wright, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship

Ovid: Jamie Bruning, Ed & Gerry Cuony Scholarship

Seneca Falls: Ericka Walsh, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship

Waterloo: Kiersten Jones, FLCC Honors Studies Scholarship; Mariah Russ, Bowen Family Memorial Scholarship; Ryan Smith, Melissa Young (Hawk Child Wandering) Massage Scholarship


Bradford: Justin Deyo, Monty Stamp Memorial Scholarship


Ithaca: Hayley Sherwood, Mary E. Moynihan Memorial Scholarship


Clyde: Marissa Sharp, Frances F. MacLeod Freshman Scholarship

Lyons: Shantaye Burkholder, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship

Macedon: Hannah Bridson, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship

Marion: Jenna Crego, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Ashley Gonzalez, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship; Noah McKaig, Robert “Bob” Barbuto Memorial Jazz Piano Scholarship; Alejandra Vargas, Collins “Connie” and Verna Carpenter Memorial Scholarship; Faith Woodcock, Collins “Connie” and Verna Carpenter Memorial Scholarship

Newark: Megan Bowman, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Jayden Durfee, CCFL Storefront Pioneers Scholarship, Thompson Health Nursing Scholarship; Jaiden Hernandez, Donald and Jean Burgan Community Service Award; Chantel Johnson, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; David Milliman, The Awesome A’s Scholarship, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Annalise Schram, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship

North Rose: Gabrielle Warring, Summers Completion Scholarship

Ontario: Brian Koehler, Diane Fitzmaurice Memorial Scholarship; Yelyzaveta Lopatina, Anthony Cecere Memorial Scholarship; Alfonso Montes, Justin Christensen Memorial Scholarship; Jessica Privitera, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Brianna True, Mary E. Moynihan Memorial Scholarship

Palmyra: Irina Chebotareva, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Victoria Dempsey, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Rylie Froehler, Garlock Sealing Technologies Scholarship; Makayla Maynard, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Maureen McClelland, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship, Thomas Topping Adult Returning Student Scholarship; Earl Patton, AMVETS Post 332 Farmington, NY Scholarship, The Fred and Mary Jennejahn Memorial Scholarship; Crystal Perkins, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Katherine Smyth, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Joseph Vernille, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Kaitlin Wyffels, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship

Red Creek: Chloe Cashman-Rolls, Robert L. “Rodge” Case Book Award, FLCC Horticulture Faculty Scholarship

Sodus: Miranda Bennett, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship, Thompson Health Nursing Scholarship; Deedra Dowdle, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship; Francisco Olivera-Hernandez, AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship

Walworth: Sierra Franco, Collins “Connie” and Verna Carpenter Memorial Scholarship

Williamson: Joseph Belmont, FLCC Newark Campus Center Scholarship; Heather Prahler, ASL Scholarship; Mercedes Westfall, Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship

Wolcott: Jennifer Easling, FLCC Foundation Scholarship


Bliss: Rachel Sampson, Brian M. Kolb Leadership Award

Strykersville: Paige Shoemaker, Brenda S. Brockman Beck Memorial Scholarship


Penn Yan: Laura Bagley, Frances F. MacLeod Memorial Scholarship; Akiya Brewer, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Vincent Nicosia, AMVETS Post 332 Farmington, NY Scholarship; Rachel Wheeler, FLCC Alumni Association Excellence Scholarship


Shelton, Conn.: Joseph Patrick, Summers Completion Scholarship

Young Entrepreneur Academy student heads to national competition

Brandon Russell headshot
Brandon Russell is a sophomore at Honeoye-Falls Lima High School

A student who participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy last year at Finger Lakes Community College is headed to the 12th Annual Saunders Scholars National Competition for young business owners, hosted online by Rochester Institute of Technology on Oct. 17.

Brandon Russell, 15, is a sophomore at Honeoye Falls High School in Lima. His product, called No Touch Flush, is just as it sounds, a device that can be used to flush a toilet without using your hands.

He will be up against 35 other students from Young Entrepreneurs Academy chapters across the country, including seven others from New York State.

Though he had an interest in starting a business from a young age, Brandon enrolled in the Saturday morning program a year ago without a product in mind. “I was doing YEA and really struggling to find an innovation or idea,” he said.

Continue reading “Young Entrepreneur Academy student heads to national competition”

Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post

Three officers near the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
FLCC criminal justice alumnus Jacob Habecker is shown at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Standing at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jacob Habecker thought of little other than his assignment, to serve and protect.

That, and the silence: As a member of the federal police, he’d grown accustomed to the buzz of dispatchers and fellow officers on his radio. Standing under the portico at the top of the Supreme Court steps in a frozen salute, Jacob was struck by the quiet and the long, snaking line of mourners.

Over the course of two days last month, Jacob was among a select group of federal officers chosen to serve in the honor guard while Ginsburg lay in repose at the Supreme Court where she served from 1993 until her death on Sept. 18 at age 87.

“It’s a memory I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. I’m very proud of it,” said Jacob, a Palmyra native and alumnus of the criminal justice program at Finger Lakes Community College.

Jacob and fellow honor guard members, clad in their navy blue uniforms and matching face coverings, alternated in 15-minute shifts at the head of the flag-covered casket while mourners paid respects on Sept. 23 and 24.

Jacob could tell when a dignitary had arrived because they were escorted to the front of the line. He was working when Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez came through.

Presidents were allowed a closer view. “I was there when Bill Clinton came, but in other room,” he said, later adding, “The honor guard appealed to me because it allowed me to witness history first-hand.” Continue reading “Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post”

Masks aplenty thanks to efforts of FLCC mother, daughter

Photo of mom and daughter with face coverings on a porch
Kim Dey, left, and her daughter, Emily, are shown with some of the 1,000 face coverings they donated to FLCC recently. Both students, they’ve led a community effort to gather materials, sew and distribute over 30,000 since mid-March.

Shortly after the pandemic hit, Finger Lakes Community College student Kim Dey heard from a friend who works as a nurse at an area hospital and was worried about the shortage of masks.

“She said, ‘Kim, can you help?’” Kim remembered of that call in March.

Kim quickly organized a Facebook group, We Are In This Together – Sew Away Corona Upstate NY Palmyra/Macedon. It drew those who could sew, provide mask materials or support the effort with donations or connections. In the seven months since, the group of mostly Wayne County residents has made over 30,000 face coverings that have been donated to medical centers, police departments, schools, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, migrant farm workers and Native American communities.

FLCC is among the latest in a list of recipients that includes dozens more organizations, businesses and individuals as far away as Florida. Kim and her daughter, Emily, also an FLCC student, donated 1,000 face coverings to be handed out to students, faculty and staff.

“This donation is much appreciated and will be put to good use,” said Dawn Hess, director of environmental health and safety at FLCC. “We require face coverings in our buildings and sometimes our students simply forget or could use an extra.” Continue reading “Masks aplenty thanks to efforts of FLCC mother, daughter”