Twinsurg -- With an eye toward careers in nursing and community safety, Twinsburg High School senior Rocco Bennardo IV was named winner of the inaugural Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce scholarship May 5.
Bennardo, 18, beat out 20 other applicants for the one-time, $1,000 scholarship. He accepted the scholarship prior to the May 5 State of the Schools Address at the Hilton Garden Inn of Cleveland/Twinsburg.
"It means the world to me / this is a huge scholarship," Bennardo said. "I'm very grateful they chose me."
Bennardo will head to Kent State University in the fall to study nursing, specifically pediatric oncology. But his career aspirations don't end there.
Bennardo, who is a member of the Macedonia Fire Explorers, said he hopes to become a part-time fireman as well.
"I started off looking to a career in fire safety," Bennardo said. "Now I'm kind of hoping to build relationships with the patients [through his full-time nursing career]. But I couldn't exactly major in pediatric-fireman."
Bennardo will carry a 3.9 GPA to graduation later this month, and said his time in Twinsburg prepared him for the future.
"It has prepared me academically," Bennardo said. "With great AP programming I was able to push myself at each level."
To be eligible for the scholarship, the 21 applicants had to submit an application; letter of recommendation from a teacher; a letter of recommendation from a civic or religious leader or volunteer; a letter of desire; and a signed transcript of grades.
"Rocco was an exceptional candidate, very active in his school and community," said Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Committee chairperson Michelle Wilmott. "His essay was well-written and witty."
Bennardo told the audience at the Hilton that he will once again serve as a swim instructor this summer at the Twinsburg Outdoor Waterpark.
"Now I can start helping people, more than just learning to swim / now I can save their lives," he said.