MONTVILLE, NJ - The Alliance of Private Special Education Schools in North Jersey has awarded six high school students with disabilities scholarships to support them in their pursuit of a higher education and career training after graduation.

Each year, the Alliance provides two different scholarship programs to graduating high school students with disabilities who have demonstrated their strong commitment to advancing their potential through higher learning in post-secondary education and/or career training opportunities. After reviewing scores of applications, the Alliance has awarded the Connections for the Future Scholarship to Andrew Chin of Morristown, Lauren Farbanish of Dover, and Thomas Licato of South Plainfield. In addition, they awarded the Joe Gorga Transition to Adult Life Scholarships to three students: Aaron Rodriguez of Kearny, Kiara McCoy-Lee of Paterson, and Garrett Mazzrillo of Midland Park.

The winners’ applications include letters of recommendation from principals, teachers, counselors and employers, in addition to acceptance letters from colleges or post secondary training programs. Each winning students also provided a long list of accomplishments, successes, and challenges they were able to overcome.  Successes include extensive volunteering, published poetry, a television appearance, a youth ambassador and a Sunday school teacher- all while upholding academic excellence. Most notable in all the applications is the diligence, self-motivation, compassion and perseverance with which each applicant moves forward every day despite their disability.

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“With each year, the scholarship applications we receive increase in number, making it harder to choose from so many motivated and talented young students,” said Diane Somers, the scholarship chairperson. “This year, the winning students’ applications were exceptional in all areas of achievements, community service, accomplishments, citizenship and future goals.”

The winners, from both private special education schools and public schools, will receive funds to continue moving toward their bright futures and will receive between $1000 to $500. This marks the 5th consecutive year that the Alliance has been offering annual student scholarships.

ABOUT: The Alliance of Private Special Education Schools in North Jersey is a member-based organization of more than 35 state-approved private special education schools in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Somerset, Sussex Passaic, and Warren Counties. Based in Montville, NJ, the Alliance provides important resources and information for parents, educators, professionals and others who are interested in helping students receive the special education services he or she needs. To learn more, go to: or call 973-407-0596.