Past Winners

2017 Winners

Amanda Cuccurullo – New Dorp High School

Through hard work and sheer determination, Ms. Cuccurullo excelled in high school overcoming many obstacles along the way. With the support from her family and guidance from her teachers, Amanda embraced her academic curriculum and also developed leadership skills over her four years at New Dorp High School. Amanda is a very compassionate person who cares about others and has contributed both to her school and community in many diverse activities. She will be attending CSI and plans to study cosmetology.

Jason Salkin – Port Richmond high School

This young man has been described as diligent, motivated and respectful. Also, Jason is a very compassionate young man reaching out to other students who are having difficulties. His interest is in the TV/Media field and he was one of the hosts of “Good Morning Port Richmond” – a weekly show that airs for all the students at Port Richmond. He overcame many obstacles to achieve high marks and will be attending CSI in the fall.

Tiffany Man – Petrides High School

Tiffany has shown remarkable effort throughout her high school years. She attained a GPA of 90 while participating in two advanced placement classes. She also excelled in several extra-curricula school activities. She is the founder of the Anti-Bullying club at Petrides High School. Tiffany is an incredibly strong person who has a very bright future ahead of herself. She will be attending Wagner College in the fall and will pursue a degree in Computer Science.

Raymond Calamito – CSI School of International Studies

Throughout Raymond’s high school years he matured into a successful and self-reflective student who has excelled academically; earning college credits – something he is most proud of. He has been a staunch advocate for all young people with autism and has had a marked influence on many other students. He will be attending John Jay college of Criminal Justice this fall.

Ms. Avery Pinto – McKee high School

Avery is a very determined and unstoppable young man. Every opportunity to learn that was presented to him in high school he accepted with open arms. He attained academic excellence though hard work and perseverance. He helped other students through a tutoring program. Avery accomplished a computer certification with the MTA of New York through his CISCO classes this past year. He achieved an advanced Regents diploma and will be attending City Tech to major in computer networking.

Arbian Smailovic – New Dorp High School

Arbian is well respected and liked by both his peers and staff  at New Dorp High School. He worked so hard and for his efforts he attained an overall average in the 90’s. He also excelled in extra curricula activities. One example is that he was selected to be the leader for New Dorp’s Peer Group Connection. This is a club which is an evidence based program that supports and eases students’ successful transition into high school. His caring disposition and concern for others has led him to pursue a degree in Nursing at CSI.

Cianta Zapata – Susan Wagner High School

Throughout her tenure here at Susan Wagner – Ms. Zapata overcame many obstacles to achieve her goals. She finished with a 92.8 average. Ms. Zapata experienced tragic family loss years ago and yet she persevered – she kept going, kept fighting and remarkably made everyone so proud of her. She graduates with a Regents diploma and she aspires to attain a degree in visual arts from CSI where she will be starting this fall.

Jonathan Samanka – Gaynor McCown High School

Jonathan has had to overcome many obstacles in his life. Communication was extremely difficult because of a hearing loss. Through hard work and perseverance he overcame that barrier and actually became one of the finest debaters in the school. Jonathan is a young man who values education and pushes himself to the limit. He exudes confidence in all that he does. He is undecided which college he will attend this fall.

Stephanie Caputo- Tottenville High School

From the very first day, Stephanie was determined to challenge herself by taking difficult courses including college prep courses. She qualified to be in the Tottenville Culinary Program based on her high academic standing and her passion for the field. She volunteered for Tottenville’s mentoring program – helping other struggling students improve in their academics. She will be attending CSI in the fall.

Pamela Arce Esteras – Concord high School

Pamela worked extremely hard to achieve high grades and earn the respect and fondness from her teachers and her fellow students. Her cumulative average was above 85% and most remarkably she completed four years of high school in just three years.  She was the valedictorian at graduation and will be attending CSI in the fall. 

Zyasia Jennings – Curtis High School

Ms. Jennings has had so many accomplishments in high school – it’s hard to know where to start. Zyasia completed the rigorous Nursing program at Curtis and has achieved a Regents Diploma. She is kind, considerate and intends to go after a BSN degree in Nursing from CSI this fall. She also accrued hundreds of volunteer hours over the last two summers working at Silver Lake Nursing Home.


2016 Winners

Eli Gottesman –  Tottenville High School

Eli is a very hard-working student who has persevered and excelled in high school despite his autism. He achieved grades above a 90 average and has participated in several school activities including school plays. Additionally, he has given his time and efforts in volunteering on Saturdays during the school year helping other children with autism to overcome their adversity. His determination is noteworthy and we are proud to recognize him as our outstanding student for the “FAB” award. He will be attending CSI in the fall of 2016.

Daymi Mendez – Petrides High School

Daymi Mendez has been a student at The Michael J. Petrides School since Kindergarten. During her years here she has been a member of the Key Club, PACS and the Petrides Varsity Volleyball team. Daymi has participated in fundraising events for UNICEF and Habitat for Humanity. She is a caring, conscientious and dedicated student who will lend a hand wherever there is a need. She has earned Merit Roll status and has worked tirelessly as a peer teacher during her junior and senior years serving the Petrides elementary school students. Daymi plans on attending the College of Staten Island to pursue a career in speech pathology. Her hope is to one day return to the Petrides School as a speech pathologist and to be able to have the same positive impact on her students as she herself received when she was a student.   The FAB was honored to give her our scholarship in 2016. She will be attending CSI in the fall of 2016.

Ngawang Tseten – Curtis High School

Ngawang is an intelligent, mature, and dedicated young individual who is marked by his boundless energy, unstoppable enthusiasm and commitment to his goals. In his teen years he suffered a devastating injury and lost both of his arms. Ngawang had to learn how to do things differently and go through a difficult rehabilitation period. However, he came to Curtis determined to succeed and learn. He succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. Academically, he achieved AP classes and he has been an energetic and engaged member of his school and local community in many aspects. In April, 2016 he was selected to perform at the “Garden of Dreams” held at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall, an event sponsored by the Madison Square Garden. He will be attending CSI in the fall of 2016.

Dorothy Sanzone – Susan Wagner High School

Dorothy is a high-achieving senior ranked in the top 12% of her class. She has learning difficulties but  through her hard work and perseverance she achieved high marks and impressed staff and her classmates alike. Her sparkling personality and her willingness to pour herself into anything she did made her so successful on so many fronts. She was a member of the Academy of Visual arts and was instrumental in painting many backstage sets for numerous theatrical performances. She also contributed community service through the mural club. We were proud to award her and she will be attending CSI in the fall.

Morgan Moretti – New Dorp High School

Morgan has been an outstanding student throughout her four years at New Dorp High School. Although having a hearing impairment and other learning disabilities this did not stop her one bit. She lost her Dad when she was very young and lives with her mom and a severely autistic brother. She showed remarkable drive, perseverance and sheer determination to succeed in high school planning to go on to college. She has been accepted into Montclair State in September and the FAB was honored to present our scholarship to her.

Skylar Hand – New Dorp High School

This young lady experienced speech delays but that did not slow her down in setting her goals high. She utilized every strategy and resource that was available to her so that she would achieve high marks and continues her quest toward college. She was active in school activities and participated in several school-wide community events. She is going to Cobbleskill for 2 years and then she wants to transfer to SUNY Oneonta to study to become a meteorologist. We were extremely honored to recognize Ms. Hand with our scholarship.

Esmira Alfaro  – Port Richmond High Schoool

Esmira is classified as Speech and Language impaired. Her disability mainly affects her receptive language and processing skills. She has developed strategies to overcome these delays and has worked very hard both in school and outside school to perform well. Esmirna Alfaro can be described by most as an extremely hard working and determined young lady.   Esmirna has a cumulative average of 88% and she will be graduating with a Regents endorsed diploma. She plans to attend the College of Staten Island in the fall. Esmirna would like to become a Science High School teacher. She hopes to be able to motivate and encourage young people to value their education as she does. We were proud to recognize Ms. Alfaro’s achievements.

Danielle Torres – Concord High School

Danielle Torres is an amazing example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish. Danielle came to Concord High School in September, 2016 with a bit of an ambitious goal, to graduate in June. This was ambitious because she was only starting her junior year of high school. She completed two years of high school in one year. Through her determination and hard work she completed all courses and graduated in June, 2016. She was also the salutatorian at graduation. We were honored to recognize Ms. Torres. She will be attending CSI this fall, 2016.

Jose Gonzalez – McKee High School

The FAB for Life winner from McKee High School is Jose Gonzalez. Jose has done very well in the CISCO Networking Program at McKee and has been in Honors classes all four years. He is graduating with an 89 average. Jose’s greatest struggle in school has come from his hearing impairment. If you met Jose, you would not even be aware of the struggles he has had. He is motivated to work hard and achieve his goals. Jose is going to be attending the College of Staten Island to get his Bachelor’s degree in computer science and become a computer technician. Jose was also the recipient of the DREAM.US Scholarship for undocumented students, which covers full tuition for all four years of college at CUNY or SUNY School. We were honored to meet such a nice, determined young man and wish him all the success in the world.

Zachary Martinez – CSI High School of International Studies

Zachary’s strongest and most admirable quality is his sheer determination to do well in everything he does. Zachary meets academic rigor with confidence, optimism and utmost motivation. As a result, Zachary has excelled at school, maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 91.36%. Zachary has always taken the initiative to seek academic intervention during times of need and has never succumbed to the pressure of demanding courses. He is quite an impressive young man and we wish him success this fall as he enters the College of Staten Island.

2015 Winners

Shabnah Sarfaraz- The College of Staten Island High School for International Studies

Shabnah has been described as one of the most respectful, appreciative, kind and hard-working students in the school.  She never let a setback slow down her determination to achieve in her academics.  Shabnah gave over two hundred hours of community service through activities such as “The Giving Project”, “Health-Oween”, and “International Day”.  She will be attending the College of Staten Island.

Carlos Simon – Curtis High School

Carlos was born without both upper extremities and has overcome many challenges in his life.  He has passed several A.P. course while at Curtis and excels in English, History, Math, and Science.  He graduated with an advanced regents diploma and a 92 average while being enrolled in a very challenging honors program.  He is also an accomplished artist and will be taking all of his abilities to the College of Staten Island.

Jennifer Taub – McKee High School

Jennifer was the overwhelming selection for the FAB award at McKee.  She exemplified perseverance, and her ability to overcome adversity was outstanding.  She will be attending the College of Staten Island in the fall.  Her sister Natalie was also a winner from New Dorp High School this year.

Erin Henrich- New Dorp High School

Erin is a young lady with high aspirations.  Erin achieved high academic success in high school by never giving up and working very hard.  She contributed in many ways in the community and at New Dorp and will be attending the College of Staten Island where she is leaning towards studying education or social work.

Natalie Taub – New Dorp High School

Natalie has show remarkable perseverance through her four years at New Dorp.  She worked as a Junior Camp Counselor at the JCC her junior and senior years and was a teacher favorite throughout her time at the school.  She will be attending the College of Staten Island where she plans to study education.

Amanda Vazquez – Petrides High School

Amanda has a physical disability but this never got in her way to achieve both academically and socially.  She was a member of the school’s basketball team and as a senior she inspired other students to be great no matter the challenge they faced.  She will be attending Kingsborough College and plans to study Forensics.

Kevin Mojica – Port Richmond High School

Kevin came to Port Richmond as a sophomore transfer from Puerto Rico.  He achieved an 84 average in his 3 years and a 90 average in his final semester – he never stopped improving.  Kevin’s dedication, effort and work ethic he displayed on a regular basis has been applauded by the entire staff and his fellow students.  He will be attending Kingsborough College and plans to study Forensics.

Tony Aye– Susan Wagner High School

Tony was a member of Susan Wagner’s Air Force Jr. ROTC program.  He has received countless awards and leaderships positions and was the Squadron Commander.  Tony’s learning disabilities never got in his way as he achieved an 82 average.  His community service hours exceeded 1000 hours.  He will attend the College of Staten Island in the fall.

Thomas Fontaino – Tottenville High School

Tom was born with cerebral palsy.  Even with this disability, he has excelled both academically and socially at Tottenville.  He was active in the school’s social clubs, yearbook committee and was a very active member of the Tottenville Occupational/Physical Therapy Department.  He has assisted with many school fundraising activities and has mentored students to help them be more successful.  He will be attending the College of Staten Island in the fall.

2014 Winners

Silvia Alba – Tottenville High School

Silvia has shown determination, enthusiasm and leadership throughout her four years of high school.  She volunteered and became an integral part of the grade advisor’s office helping many of her classmates and was also awarded an Advanced Regents Diploma which is a tremendous accomplishment.

Eric Yang – McKee High School

Eric is a remarkable young man who had difficulty with social interaction skills upon entering high school.  Through perseverance and hard work, Eric made great strides in his ability to interact with his classmates and received an Advanced Regents diploma.  He has a strong determination to succeed in college and plans to pursue a career in the medical field.

Kayleigh Warnock – New Dorp High School

For a young lady who struggled with socialization skills when she first arrived as a 9th grader, she made a remarkable turn-around with the help of her teachers.  Kayleigh has a strong talent for art and she hopes to work with this medium and she heads off to college.

Brianna Acciarello – New Dorp High School

Brianna, although being very shy, displayed leadership qualities throughout high school.  Her goal is to become an Instructional support high school teacher. She is known by her relentless work ethic and self-motivation and this has led to many achievements in her high school years.

Rabia Ali – Petrides High School

A young lady who experienced learning disabilities in receptive language skills, she continually worked hard to improve academically. Through perseverance and drive Rabia achieved a Regents Diploma.

Alyssa LaRocca – Susan Wagner High School

Upon entering Susan Wagner, Alyssa had several learning disabilities. Through sheer determination and guidance from her teachers, she overcame these difficulties.  Alyssa took college preparatory courses and achieved honor roll throughout her four years at Susan Wagner.  She won the Silver and Gold Awards in Girl Scouts for completing one hundred hours of community service.  She volunteers as a counselor and her goal is to become a teacher.

Christopher Brick – Curtis High School

Christopher has demonstrated significant personal and academic growth and has always pushed himself and extended his daily schedule to attend additional prep coursed to achieve higher grades.   He was a member of Curtis High School’s Naval ROTC program for all four years, and also volunteers in the Veteran Affairs office and at the Staten Island children’s Museum.  He graduated with a Regents Diploma.

Christopher Tripoli – Port Richmond High School

Chris has worked extremely hard to overcome his learning disability.  As a young man, he became interested in the culinary field.  Through Curtis’ culinary program he was able to pursue his interest in the field. He has won competitions in this program and plans to pursue an Associate degree in Hospitality Management.  Chris became an Eagle Scout in October, 2013, after completing his community service project creating a pathway at his church.  He also was a member of the track team.

2013 Winners

Monica Dibella – New Dorp High School
Katie Doxsey – New Dorp High School
Craig Cortopassi – Susan Wagner High School
Dominic Abbriano – Port Richmond High School
Sarah Walsh Lopes – Curtis High School
Amanda Giordano – Tottenville High School
Dante Rumph – McKee High School

2012 Winners

Michael Giannola – Susan E. Wagner High School
Bill Washington – Curtis High School
Jovita Palafox – Port Richmond High School
Kevin Foster – McKee High School
Jennifer Weaks – New Dorp High School
Candace Beyers – New Dorp High School

2011 Winners

Peter Troia – Susan E. Wagner High School
Angela Lombardo – New Dorp High School
Ishad Tull – New Dorp High School
Jeffrey Bennett – McKee High School
Mark Fiorentino – Port Richmond High School

2010 Winners

Glena Clark – Susan E. Wagner High School
Kenyell Parris – New Dorp High School
Sebastian Pazdry – New Dorp High School
Emilio Paoli – McKee High School

2009 Winners

Raciel Guzman – New Dorp High School
Jennifer Saldana – New Dorp High School
Dean Patrick Gatchalian – Susan E. Wagner High School

2008 Winners

Caitlin Smith
Sean Bonner

2007 Winner

Katie Prestovino – New Dorp High School

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