NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Emily McGrath, a member of North Plainfield High School’s Class of 2017, was the recipient of the Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten in North Plainfield’s first scholarship. On May 25, Giving Nest co-founder Mary Sue Frank presented McGrath with the $500 award.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants had to have attended the Giving Nest, be a senior going to an institute of higher learning, and had to continue to embrace and carry on the school’s mission. “The core of the Giving Nest curriculum is to teach young children the joy of being kind, compassionate and giving to others,” said Frank, adding, “In awarding the scholarship, the school sought an applicant who exemplified this motto; someone who, years later, continued to embrace and carry on the school’s ideal of helping others.”

Three seniors applied for the scholarship and a committee of parents and staff was formed to select the recipient. “The committee was given the three applications - names were deleted -  and, after careful review, Emily McGrath was chosen because she consistently did community service and for long periods of time” said Frank.

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McGrath’s list of involvements included volunteering at the North Plainfield Thanksgiving Dinner (2013-2016), the Girl Scout Community Valentine Dinner (2013-2017), Clean the Town (2012-2017), and North Plainfield Senior Citizen Picnic (2013-2017) as well as a Volunteers in Mission Trip (2015). Additionally, said Frank, the high school senior’s responses to mandatory questions on the scholarship application garnered the committee’s attend.

In response to ‘Why is community service so important?’ McGrath wrote: “In an town like North Plainfield, quaint but mighty, community service is one of the driving forces that hold our community together. Community service is all about beautification and unity. One person alone can make a change but together a group of people can make an even bigger one …”

As part of the application process, the North Plainfield resident was also asked to detail which community service project she was most proud of and why. McGrath provided details of her summer 2015 trip to Maine as part of the Volunteers in Mission program. The goal of the trip, explained McGrath, was to rebuild and repair broken down homes of the state’s poverty ridden citizens.

“It was a rewarding and humbling experience, for not only did I make new friends, but it made me step back and take a good look at my life. It made me realize that I had so much and should be more grateful for what I had because so many people who live very near us have so little,” wrote McGrath. “…This experience taught me that you don’t really have to travel far to find people who need your help in event the smallest of ways…”

McGrath went on to state: “Community service is truly a group effort; it is something that comes from the kindness of one’s heart, but is essential to the function of a community. Community service is about putting others before yourself and not doing it because you are being forced to or [because] you believe it’s the right thing to do, but because you want to and love the warm feeling it give you on the inside.”

“After the committee chose Emily, I read her application and her answer to my question ‘Why is community service so important?’  Her answer was spot on to our philosophy and I was especially moved by her comment ‘One person alone can make a change but together a group of people can make an even bigger one…’” said Frank. “It reminded me of my favorite quote by Helen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’”

In addition to the Giving Nest Scholarship, McGrath was also the recipient of the Lisa DelNegro Memorial Scholarship, the North Plainfield Optimist Club Scholarship, a Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield Scholarship, and the North Plainfield Lion’s Club Francis Vitelli Memorial Scholarship. She applied and was accepted to Juniata College, Ursinus University, Ramapo University and Stockton University.

The Giving Nest celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016 and, in addition to its North Plainfield location, there are schools in Bridgewater, Martinsville, Warren and Watchung. This year, co-founder Debbie Hannon will be also awarding a $500 scholarship to a college bound senior from Watchung Hills Regional High School.

“One of our director's, Tracy Eder, made the suggestion that we start a Giving Nest scholarship and we loved the idea,” said Frank. “I wish we would of thought of it before and the goal moving forward, is to award a scholarship annually and expand to other high schools in and around the vicinity of Giving Nest locations.”

About the Giving Nest Preschools

The Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten in North Plainfield at St. Luke’s Church opened its doors in September 1990. Today, the school offers a variety of half- and full-day Monday through Friday, Thursday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes for children 2 1/2 to 5-years and full-day kindergarten along will early morning and late afternoon extended care services and age-appropriate enrichment classes.

There are also Giving Nest’s in Bridgewater, Martinsville, Warren, and Watchung. Bridgewater, Martinsville, and Watchung offer a variety of half- and full-day Monday through Friday, Thursday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes for children 2 1/2 to 5-years along will early morning and late afternoon extended care services on as needed basis or permanent basis. North Plainfield and Martinsville offer full-day kindergarten while the Warren school offers full- and half-day programs for children 18- to 30-months. Additionally, several locations offer age-appropriate afternoon enrichment classes and, during the summer, themed summer camps are held in Warren and Watchung.

For enrollment information or to schedule a tour or learn more about the Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten, visit Prospective parents can also contact the school of their choice by calling: North Plainfield - (908) 754-2060; Watchung - (908) 222-1003; Martinsville - (732) 302-1321; Bridgewater - (908) 704-9555; or Warren - (732) 893-8222.

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