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Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship Recipient Named

By June 8, 2024Archive


The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame & Youth Foundation today announced that Jocelyn Bacila is the recipient of its 2024 Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship. The award recognizes a female scholar/athlete who is a graduating senior from Norwalk’s high schools with financial support toward higher education. Bacila, from Norwalk High, will receive a $5,000 grant for her college freshman year this fall at Marist College.

The scholarship is awarded to the candidate that best exemplifies the spirit and qualities of the late Chelsea Cohen, a graduate of NHS who passed away after a long bout with cancer in 2006 and whose name is also memorialized through an annual Courage Award. Criteria for nomination includes academic honors, participation in one or more varsity level sports, community service and displaying high levels of sportsmanship, leadership and character.

Started in 2017, past award winners are: 2022’s Lucy Grillo (McMahon) and Emily Whelan (Norwalk High), who each received $3,000, Christline Edward (2021, NHS), 2020’s Jocelyn Lister (McMahon) and Giselle Vigil (Norwalk), Stephany Escalante in 2019 (NHS) and McMahon’s Savannah Buzzeo (2018). The first two honorees, one each from McMahon (Bella Bean) and Norwalk High (Sarah St. Surin), both received $2,500 grants. In the seven years of the scholarship, FCSHOFYF has now distributed a total of $36,000 to the 10 recipients. No award was granted in 2023.

“The selection process for the Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship is always challenging as the candidates applying are immensely qualified and terrific young women,” said Chelsea’s mother Barbara Rittner. “This year’s winner Jocelyn Bacila stood out for her enthusiasm, tenacity, leadership, empathetic nature and inclusiveness. She has overcome personal adversity and achieved.   I wish her every success as she begins her college career and achieving her goal of becoming a Physician’s Assistant.” 

Bacila, who will graduate with a 3.7 grade point average and has been a 4-year high honor roll designee, plans to major in Biomedical Science. Jocelyn played two years of varsity volleyball for the Bears and will continue her athletic career with the Marist club volleyball team. She was also captain of her U16 & U17 travel teams.

Jocelyn has a long and varied list of community service and club activities that she devotes time to helping others and sharing her leadership skills. For the past three years, she has been the president of the NHS Chess Club, founded and heads the Multicultural Inclusive Club as its advisor and is president of the Spanish honor society.

Since her freshman year, she has participated in Peace by Piece: The Norwalk Community Quilt Project, which is an intergenerational after school art program with a mentoring component. She also is a swim instructor and lifeguard.

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