Rotary Club Awards $43,125 in Scholarships

The Rotary Club of the Plainfields recently presented scholarship awards to twenty-three graduating seniors from the class of 2018 at North Plainfield High School and at Plainfield High School.

The Rotary club awarded $8,185 in scholarships to graduating seniors at North Plainfield High School and $14,250 to seniors at Plainfield High School. The club also awarded another $20,625 through the Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship Fund to past graduates of the high schools in Plainfield, North Plainfield and South Plainfield.

The local club sponsors its own F. S. Mathewson Rotary Scholarship, awarding a total of $5,000 to students at North Plainfield High School.

“Four scholarships were awarded in memory of Matty Mathewson, the first member of our club to serve as District Governor,” said club president Roberta Smith. ”We honor Matty’s memory through our community service activities, including these scholarship awards to assist students as they continue their education. Candidates for this award must demonstrate a mix of academic achievement, financial need, community servic,; school service, and must be a member of the North Plainfield High School Interact Club, the youth service club of Rotary.”

“Members of Interact work very hard on many service projects of their own, including highly successful blood drives, community youth activities, food bank support, and many others,” continued Ms. Smith. “The members also work at our Club’s garden plots at the Giving Garden in Warren, helping us raise fresh vegetables for the hungry. They also help us raise money during the year for our scholarship program, giving rise to recognition of that hard work with these special scholarships.”

The Mathewson Rotary Scholarships were presented to Gissel Martinez, Paula Yanez, Aisha Shazam, and Fiona Chen.

The Club also awards scholarships on behalf of the Plainfield Foundation, a community-based non-profit that awards funding to benefit local community groups. This year, the Rotarians awarded $3,185 from the Leo Albert Friese Scholarship Fund to North Plainfield High student Fiona Chen. The Friese Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who will pursue a major course of study in science.

At Plainfield High School, the Club awards PHS Alumni Association Scholarships and J. Wilbur Tovell Scholarships to Plainfield High School seniors on behalf of the Plainfield Foundation. The PHS Alumni Scholarship Fund was established in 1986 when the PHS Alumni Association, prior to disbanding, asked the Plainfield Foundation to award their scholarships. The Foundation established the PHS Alumni Scholarship Fund. Candidates demonstrate academic achievement, participation in school activities.

Recipients of the $8,250 in PHS Alumni Scholarship awards were Tyshana Campbell, Jonathan Friere, Kelly Coca, Bryant Yancha-Pazmino, Gretel Rodriguez, Kamea Roberts, Shannon Roberts, Tahira Fleming, Kayla Avalosi, Stefany Cardona, Desteny Borrayes-Escobar, Kate Borrayes-Escobar, Wendy Guzman, and Saira Mazariegos.

The J. Wilbur Tovell Scholarship Fund was established as a bequest from Plainfield resident and alumnus of Plainfield High School. J. Wilbur Tovell (1893-1974) who graduated PHS in 1911 and New York University in 1915. His bequest stipulates that scholarship candidates must be male students only, with academic achievement and participation in school activities.

Recipients of the $14,250 in J. Wilbur Tovell Scholarships this year were Jaylen Ross, Jerry Chen, Quaran Sherrod, Bryant Yancha-Pazmino, Pedro Monroy, Kashawn Morris, Jonathan Friere.

Finally, the Rotary Club also administers the Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship Fund. This fund was established in 1988 by a $1 million bequest in the will of the late Plainfield author Adele DeLeeuw. The Club works with four other Rotary clubs in the area to see that the annual income from the bequest is awarded to students who pursue a course of study in poetry, art, journalism, writing, or engineering. “We have awarded a total of $1,261,500 over the twenty-three years that the Rotary Club has administered the program,” said Michael Townley, chairman of the Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship Committee.

The DeLeeuw Scholarship awards for Plainfield, North Plainfield, and South Plainfield students totaling $20,625 were presented at a special dinner on June 12 at the Spain Inn. Recipients from each community were Kenar Meyers of Plainfield; Brenda Okereke and Melody Njoku from North Plainfield; and Scott Riccardi, Nolan Berry, Tyler Curtis, and Nicholas Ruzicka from South Plainfield.

The other four Rotary clubs awarded an additional $34,375 to students from their communities.

The Rotary Club’s Plainfield Scholarship Committee was chaired by Tom Reedy, assisted by Roberta Smith, Victoria Griswold, and Rev. Joyce Scheyer. The North Plainfield Scholarship Committee was chaired by Janice Allen who was assisted by Fred Saide. The Adele DeLeeuw Scholarship Committee was co-chaired by Michael Townley and Shannon Jefferys.

The Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield, founded in 1921, has served the community for over 97 years. Members are community and business leaders in the area who meet weekly on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at Giovanna’s Restaurant in Plainfield, except the first Wednesday of the month when they host a Social Hour at 8:30 a.m. at The Coffee Box, 1359 South Avenue, Plainfield. Rotarians work on community service, vocational service, and international service projects throughout the year, with their main focus on community service in Plainfield and in North Plainfield.

Contact Michael Townley, club secretary, at for additional information about the Rotary Club and its activities or to inquire about membership, or visit the Club’s website at or its Facebook page at