WEST ORANGE, NJ — The legacy of former West Orange police officer Timothy Groves continued this summer with the third annual Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, which was recently awarded to a group of 11 deserving West Orange High School (WOHS) seniors.

The scholarship, which is part of the West Orange Scholarship Fund (WOSF), was established in 2014 by Donald and Lisa Shauger in memory of Groves, a close friend of the Shaugers who died in 2013.

This year’s Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship recipients included: Tynae Adkins, Romina Amedrano, Justin Davis, Dylan Fequiere, Iveth Gonzales, Jendaya McNeill, Chelsea Morales, Melanie Pacheco, Janiya Peters, Linda Porcayo and Jane Wagner. (Read more about these recipients below.)

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The WOSF distributed the scholarships at the WOHS annual Senior Awards Night.

In order to be eligible for a WOSF scholarship, seniors must submit a written application. The criteria for each individual scholarship varies, but in general, winners are chosen based on financial necessity, academic record, extracurricular involvement and dedication to community service.

At the awards ceremony, the WOSF awarded more than $108,000 overall in scholarships to a total of 79 seniors. This year also marked the eighth-consecutive year that the WOSF broke its previous record for the highest scholarship amount awarded in a single year.

Over the course of this past year, The Shauger Group, Inc. (TSG) and Shauger family were instrumental in raising more than $25,000 for the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship. The majority of those funds came from the second-annual Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser, which was held on October of 2016.

The Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship received 100 percent of the proceeds from the fundraiser event, which was sponsored by TSG, the West Orange PBA Local 25, the West Orange Firefighters Association FMBA Local 28, and the West Orange SOA Local 228, in conjunction with the WOSF.

Each year, Lisa Shauger, president/CEO of TSG, and Donald Shauger, executive vice president of TSG, also make various contributions to the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship. Sine the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship’s inception, there have been a total of 16 scholarship recipients.

The Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship is one of its largest scholarships managed by the WOSF.

“When we lost Timothy Groves to cancer in 2013, it affected the whole community of West Orange,” said Lisa Shauger. “Donald and I knew right away that we wanted to do something special to honor Timothy’s memory, and we came up with the idea of the scholarship. Even though he’s no longer here with us, he is still making a meaningful impact on the West Orange community and, in particular, its youth. We were lucky to have known Timothy during his lifetime.”

The Shaugers’ hope was that the students who eventually received the scholarship in Groves’ honor would exhibit many of the same qualities that had made Groves so beloved in West Orange. As a result, the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship is set aside for students who commit themselves to various charities, organizations and volunteer opportunities. 

Future career plans in law enforcement or criminal justice are not expectations or requirements of the scholarship; however, it is particularly meaningful when recipients do happen to share Groves’ passion for law and justice, according to the Shaugers.

“Every day of his life, Timothy Groves brightened the lives of others in West Orange,” said Donald Shauger. “It’s fitting that the scholarship is still allowing him to do that. It was our honor to create the scholarship in memory of someone whose legacy should never be forgotten.”

Also recognized at this year’s Senior Awards Night was Jimmy Tiernan, who is the son of James Tiernan, TSG’s Operations Manager of the Landscape and Cleaning divisions. Jimmy Tiernan, a 2016 graduate of West Orange High School, received the Dean Michael Clarizio Cancer Scholarship, after having bravely fought cancer and a host of related medical issues. Tiernan is now successfully free of cancer and will be able to attend college this coming fall.

About the 2017 Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Tynae Adkins: Adkins has faced adversity but has shown great perseverance to keep up her studies. Despite her difficult schedule, she has still found time to work part-time, as well as serve as a volunteer at Ninja University. Career-wise, Adkins hopes to either work with veterans or become a medical researcher.

Romina Amedrano: Amedrano has volunteered for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Walk MS, tutored, and worked at a soup kitchen, as well as devoted a considerable amount of time to helping a friend battle cancer. Given Amedrano’s dedication to service, it is very fitting that her career pursuits center around an interest in child welfare, as well as the care of individuals with emotional, physical, and psychological disabilities. Amedrano was a member of three honor societies and served as the vice president of class council; she will attend Montclair State University in the fall.

Justin Davis: Following closely in Groves’ footsteps, Davis plans to study criminal justice or law enforcement. Already having earned himself a stellar reputation in the West Orange community for having gone out of his way to help a child with special needs, Davis has won two Good Samaritan awards and the 2017 Essex County School Board’s “Unsung Hero” award for his act of kindness. An honor roll student, Davis was involved in countless activities, including marching band.

Dylan Fequiere: Sharing Groves’ passion for service, Fequiere is actively involved with West Orange’s Our Lady of Lourdes R.C. Church and a local soup kitchen. A part-time coach for the West Orange Recreation Department, Fequiere earned a varsity letter and works in marketing sales.

Iveth Gonzales: With a demonstrated passion for service, Gonzales seeks a military career and plans to study criminal law or law enforcement. She has served as a cadet and squadron commander in the West Orange High School Junior Air Force ROTC. She received a 2017 Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. Service Academy Nomination and served as vice president of student council.

Jendaya McNeill: When McNeill attends college at Montclair State University, she plans to study criminal justice. During her time at West Orange High School, she belonged to the Junior Statesmen of America and debate club, as well as the unity club and Jubilee Choir. A hardworking individual, McNeill worked at both a local bakery and country club.

Chelsea Morales: Career-wise, Morales is interested in becoming a criminal justice investigator. Morales was involved with the high school’s color guard, where she learned about the value of hard work and discipline.

Melanie Pacheco: Pacheco plans to become a lawyer and then a judge, so she will study criminal justice in the fall. A member of five honor societies, Pacheco is a bright student and tutors other students in various subjects. Pacheco’s school activities included participating in Junior Statesmen of America and performing for three years in various school plays.

Janiya Peters: As an eleventh grader, Peters attended American Legion Auxiliary’s Jersey Girls State, a yearly nationwide educational program designed to give young women a hands-on learning and leadership experience in government. Peters plans to study political science and pursue a career as a local government official. Peters volunteered with her church’s youth ministry and soup kitchen, and she was a four-year participant in both the drama club and the Model United Nations.

Linda Porcayo: Porcayo, like Pacheco, is also interested in the legal field. A former intern for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Porcayo will study criminal justice in college and intends to become a lawyer. Porcayo volunteers with Meals on Wheels and at a homeless shelter; she also managed the wrestling and baseball teams, and was a member of both the National Honor Society and Italian Honor Society.

Jane Wagner: Like many of Wagner’s fellow Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship winners, Wagner is committed to community service. She has been involved with Relay for Life and the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure; she has also volunteered with a local food pantry, and served as a teacher’s helper at West Orange’s summer enrichment program and St. Joseph’s CCD program. Jane was a counselor-in-training at the Clara Barton Camp, a Massachusetts program through the Barton Center for Disease Education. She was a member of the high school’s Chinese club and participated in a three-week-long cultural exchange program in Japan.