BRISTOL – Four local students were rewarded for their achievements and their service to veterans’ relatives Tuesday during American Legion Post 2’s Scholarship Award Night.
Honorees gathered with family members, some of whom were veterans themselves, to celebrate their accomplishments at the Post at 22 Hooker Court.
Dave Connelly, chair of American Legion Post 2, welcomed the guests and explained that the Legion Board traditionally selects three recipients every June. This year was an exception.
“You are all extremely well deserving and we’re happy to have you here to be honored,” he said.
Danielle Bairrington, who attends Bristol Eastern High School, was one recipient. Her father, James Bairrington, served in the U.S. Navy on submarines from 1982 to 1991.
“I feel very honored,” she said.
During her time at school, Bairrington was in the tennis, soccer and Leo clubs. She was part of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. She is graduating at the top 10% of her class.
Bairrington plans to attend the University of New England, where she will study animal behavior in hopes of becoming a service animal trainer.
“I just love animals and I really want to help people so I decided to combine them,” she said.
Another recipient was Caitlyn DiAngelis, who attends Bristol Central High School. Her grandfather, Jay Stephenson, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War on a Destroyer.
“It feels exciting to receive this scholarship; it makes me feel very honored,” she said.
DiAngelis was in the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. She received the Principal’s Commendation Award, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and the Literature Department Book Award.
She was also part of the school’s RAMbassador program, the American Sign Language Club, the Rampage (Newspaper) Club, The InterAct Club, Educators Rising, the Student Council, Unified Theater, the Choir and the school’s Adams Family Musical.
DiAngelis plans to attend the University of Saint Joseph to study to become a pediatrician.
Adam Ward, also of Bristol Central High School, received another scholarship. His grandfather, former Mayor Art Ward, served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
“I’m honored to get this scholarship,” he said. “I know it will help me a lot in college. I’m very thankful.”
Ward was a member of the National Honor Society. He played soccer, wrestled and played golf in school. He was class vice president for two years and president for one year.
Ward plans to attend the University of Alabama and study biology. He hopes to become an anesthesiologist.
Brianna Ogonowski, who attended Bristol Eastern High School, was the fourth scholarship recipient honored that night. Her grandfather, Thomas Simpson, served in the U.S. Army Artillery from 1970 to 1971.
“It feels really good to receive the scholarship, I’m so honored to be chosen,” she said.
Ogonowski was part of the Science National Honor Society and the Latin Honor Society, received the BE Academic Award, was in the top 10% of her class all four years and was a Bristol Sports Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete.
Ogonowski was her school’s swimming and diving team captain, served on the athletic leadership council. She was also lifeguard, a Sunday school helper and a soup kitchen volunteer.
Ogonowski plans to attend Duquesne University where she is aiming for a Forensic Science and Law five-year degree. She hopes to become a crime scene investigator for the FBI.
The night also saw the election of a new slate of officers for Post 2, including a new Commander, Darren Pearson.
“It is an honor to be entrusted by the members to be Commander for the Legion,” said Pearson. “Rick (Schreiner) did a tremendous job over the past three years. We have some projects we want to get going with the community with our membership, the Sons of the American Legion and the Auxiliary. The Legion has been here for 100 years and we want to keep it going for another 100 years.”
Rick Schreiner, who had been commander for the past three years, said it is time for the Legion to move forward under new leadership.
“Darren will do a great job,” he said.
The following officers were also elected:
. Chaplain- Lenny Webster
. Finance Officer – Jim Pelletier
. Jr. Vice Commander- Dave Blandino
. Sr. Vice Commander- Chris Couture
. Adjutant – Joshua Pearson
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.