By: The Flesches
Presenters of the 2018 Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarships
We were asked by Nick Ducharme and Emily Wells to write an article on the events that unfolded during the April STC meeting and Scholarship presentation. You really needed to be there, and if you missed it, following is a recap as viewed through the eyes of two very proud parents.
Let us introduce ourselves: we are Margaret and Fred Flesche, parents of Melissa Pellegrin, namesake for the chapter’s scholarship program. Melissa, after graduating from UCF with a Technical Writing degree, worked in her chosen profession for only a few years before she left us for a better life. Her years attending UCF and her interactions with fellow students, faculty, and STC events allowed her to earn the respect of all that knew her. After her passing, the previous scholarship program was renamed in her memory, and the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship was born. Little did she know how many future students would benefit from her passing so that the work she loved would carry on in perpetuity.
Thursday night, April 19th, was the 21st presentation of the 43rd and 44th scholarships in her memory. As in the past 21 years, we were present to witness scholarship presentations. However, this year we were honored to present the 2 scholarships to this year’s recipients, Laura (Abby) Rex, and Andrea (Andy) Romero. Congratulations to both of them for their accomplishments this year and in all future endeavors.
This year, as in the past, it was uplifting to witness the men and women that devote their time and efforts to further their education and make the world a better place. The celebrants who attended the presentation are living proof that it does take a village to raise a child. Village residents are comprised of parents, family, religious leaders, and educators that make such a big impact on all of our lives, throughout our lives.
The second part of the evening’s events was the recap and personal presentation addressed to two of UCF’s long term professors that are retiring after finishing the current semester, Dr. Dan Jones and Dr. Paul Dombrowski. They are definitely leaders within the “Village” and have been participants throughout their careers as evidenced with heartwarming testimonials by several current and former students in attendance. We joined in with our memories of Dr. Jones that date back to the first scholarship presentation and all of the years that followed. A friendship and respect developed, and it was an annual tradition to sit with Dr. Jones at the annual presentation meetings.
Overall the evening was filled with joy, with the scholarship presentation, obvious sadness from those present with the retirement of two popular professors, and the happiness of the two professors turning another corner in life’s journey and looking forward to many happy years of well-deserved retirement.
One final comment addressing the evening’s events. As we looked and listened to the comments and interactions of the students, former students, and visitors, which were very impressive, there was a feeling the world will be in a better place in the future due to the quality and dedication that emerges from those that were present. It is unfortunate that national reporting does not focus on events like the one that took place on this night in April and forgo reporting that brings despair, confusement and sometimes less than accurate information. This night’s presentation was the real thing and the basis from which the silent majority can be hopeful as we march into the future.