The legacy of the late Hatfield Township Police Officer William Chapman lives on in the efforts and intellect of four high school seniors.
Laura Fenerty, of Lansdale Catholic High School; Amanda Kloth, of North Penn High School; Brielle Alderfer, of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School; and Rachel Almedia, of North Penn High School were announced as the 2014 recipients of the William J. Chapman Memorial Scholarship at Wednesday’s Hatfield Township Commissioners session.
Hatfield Township Detective Rich Hoffner said the scholarship, now in its eighth year, is a tribute to Chapman, who died of pneumonia on May 10, 2005 at age 37. He joined the Hatfield Township Police force in 1990.
“He was an exemplary police officer and an extraordinary man. Those who were fortunate enough to call him a friend remember his kindness, his loyalty, his optimism, and his remarkable sense of humor. He was a sincere and fair officer,” Hoffner said.
Chapman’s peers founded the memorial scholarship in the wake of his death.
“There is no better way to cultivate his ideals than to assist students who chose a career to invest back in their community,” Hoffner said.
Eligible fields of study for the scholarship include criminal justice, education and social work.
“They exemplify the spirit of the scholarship,” Hoffner said. “They distinguish themselves through outstanding achievements to the community. Officer Chapman would be proud of the young adults to receive the award bearing his name. Thank you and we are pleased to honor our friend.”
Det. Sgt. Jay Ciarlello, who is president of the memorial scholarship fund, said it was a very competitive process, before listing the accomplishments and achievements of each of the students.
Fenerty, he said, is a member of Lansdale Catholic’s National Honors Society and Latin Honors Society. She is also a member of the Crusader online school newspaper. Fenerty is a patient transport volunteer at Doylestown Hospital and a student volunteer at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. She is a four-year member of the Lansdale Catholic track and cross country teams. Fenerty is a Monsignor Shade AP Scholar with Honors and a four-time varsity letter recipient. Fenerty is heading to Penn State University’s Schreyer Honors College to study secondary education.
Kloth is a whiz kid from North Penn High School, and was No. 2 out of 1,000 students in her class, Ciarlello said. While attending North Penn, Kloth was in the National Honors Society and was a member of the theatre, thespian troupe, chorus, women’s choir, Christian Club and North Penn Television. Kloth is a National Merit Scholar and AP Scholar. She holds the highest class average in English, Science, Spanish, Math and History. Kloth has volunteered as tutor at Knapp Elementary School, helped displaced families in wildfires in Colorado, and works with underprivileged children in Kensington.
“I’m sure you’ll agree, Amanda’s going to be an excellent teacher,” Ciarlello said.
Alderfer garnered all straight A’s in her four years at Christopher Dock. She was a member of the student newspaper, choir, and was named the Most Improved Player in field hockey. Alderfer volunteers her time with children with disabilities at a summer camp and delivers meals to the needy. She heads to college to become a nurse this fall.
In her essay of her scholarship application, Alderfer wrote of how she was influenced by a Hatfield Township Police officer when she was six years old.
“She was pulling her siblings in a wagon, and her sibling were falling out of the wagon. A Hatfield Township Police officer stopped to help her load her siblings back in,” Ciarlello said. “I can only imagine that was Bill Chapman.”
Almeida was not present at the scholarship recognition.
Commissioners President Tom Zipfel said he was very impressed with the accomplishments and dedication of each girl to her community.
“I wonder if they have done more in their short lives than most of us have done in our longer lives,” Zipfel said. “Each year, it becomes more impressive. This is the best of what Hatfield has. We are thrilled to recognize and remember William Chapman. There is no better way to honor him than to point out the strengths of our best young students.”
“And they are all women this year – that’s even a nice twist to it,” Zipfel said.