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May 23, 2017  – The Fairfield County Sports Commission announced today the first recipients of its Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes a female scholar/athlete who is a graduating senior from Norwalk high schools with a financial award toward higher education.

Norwalk High’s Sarah St. Surin and Brien McMahon’s Isabella Bean were named as the two winners and each will receive a $2,500 grant as support for their college freshman year this fall.

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 in 2006 and whose name is memorialized through FCSC’s annual Courage Award. Criteria for nomination included academic honors, participation in one or more varsity level sports,  community service and displaying high levels of sportsmanship, leadership and character.

“There have been many tributes to Chelsea over the years, but this scholarship is exceptionally meaningful, ” said Chelsea’s mother Barbara Rittner. “To recognize someone who most exemplifies Chelsea, her spirit, her drive, her accomplishments, this not only rewards the recipients but reminds us of Chelsea and why her story stays alive. The scholarship winners this year, Sarah and Bella, are remarkable young women who in addition to all their academic, civic and athletic accomplishments have that “special spark” like Chelsea had. ”

For the first year the Commission felt it was important to recognize a winner from both schools to have each fully engaged at the start. Going forward the scholarship amount will be raised to $5,000 for one student/athlete from either NHS or BMHS.

“We believe that in taking this next step to keep Chelsea’s legacy vibrant and relevant the scholarship will have a strong impact for young women in Norwalk striving to succeed in college both in the classroom and on the field of play,” remarked FCSC Executive Director Tom Chiappetta. “Providing significant financial support to that end is another key role the Commission can play in meeting our mission and goals.”

Bean, who will be attending the University of Virginia, is a four-year high honor roll student and was a two-year captain of the lacrosse team as a four-year starter and captained the soccer side her senior year. She worked at Horizons in New Canaan the last two years as a second grade tutor for the summer program there.

St. Surin, who is headed for UMass Boston, was a four-year starter for the basketball team and captain as a senior. She is also a high honors student as well as a talented musician and serves as a volunteer coach and summer counselor at the Carver Center in Norwalk.

Chelsea Cohen Scholarship award to go to top female athlete from Norwalk, McMahon

NORWALK HOUR – December 22, 2016

By John Nash

NORWALK — Chelsea Cohen was the kind of athlete who could really make a difference every time she stepped on the field.

Since her tragic death from cancer in 2006, just months after she graduated from Norwalk High, the name Chelsea Cohen lives on through a variety of projects and honors undertaken and led by the Fairfield County Sports Commission.

The latest step in keeping Cohen’s spirit alive and well in her home city is this week’s announcement of the first Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship, which will be given to a graduating female senior student-athlete from Brien McMahon or Norwalk High.
cohengirlstcScholarshipThe first Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship winners Sarah St. Surin (left) and Bella Bean (right) pose with FCSC Executive Director Tom Chiappetta.

This year, two scholarships, for $2,500 each, will be awarded: one to a McMahon student, one to a Norwalk High student.

In the future, a single $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student-athlete from either school.

“To recognize Chelsea, to keep her memory and spirit alive is so meaningful and I cannot put into words how touched I am,” Barbara Rittner, Chelsea’s mother, wrote in an email from Singapore, where she is currently living. “To award a scholarship to a student-athlete who exemplifies Chelsea is a great honor. The scholarship will inspire the recipient to strive to be the best they can be to help them reach their dreams. Chelsea will be smiling on them.”

Criteria to receive the scholarship will include academic honors and success, participation in one or more varsity-level sports, and the student-athlete’s ability to exemplify sportsmanship, leadership and excellent character.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” Norwalk athletic director Doug Marchetti said. “The fact we can honor a very special young lady here in Norwalk, who was such an inspiration to so many people, and to keep her name alive is something really special.”

According to Fairfield County Sports Commission executive director Tom Chiappetta, he hopes to model the Chelsea Cohen Scholarship after Stamford’s Allyson Rioux Award — which is given to the top female student-athlete in that city and has grown over the years.

Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship Overview

The Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship recognizes a top female scholar and athlete from Norwalk with a financial award towards higher education.

Criteria for nomination:

  • Academic honors
  • Participation in one or more Varsity level high school sports or teams
  • Nominee must exemplify sportsmanship, leadership, excellent character and athletic prowess

Eligible candidates must be a graduating senior at Brien McMahon or Norwalk High School.  Schools will recommend candidates for consideration.

A Scholarship Selection Committee will conduct personal interviews and determine the winner of the Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship.Preferential consideration will be given to applicants who are also involved in activities such as music, theater and community service.

Upon successful completion of their senior year of high school and upon choosing to continue their education at a four-year accredited college or university, the scholarship is made available to  the award recipients to assist with that further education.The recipient receives a $5,000 grant toward their college education.

If you would like to support the Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship
click the button below to make a donation.