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Six Bellmore-Merrick grads earn soccer scholarships

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Six Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District graduates were awarded scholarships by the Long Island Junior Soccer League.

Established in 1966 under the goal of “building character through soccer,” LIJSL has continued to foster growth and development of youth through the sport by teaching players the values of hard work, discipline, responsibility and teamwork.

Each year, LIJSL awards student-athletes in their senior year of high school with scholarships. These well-rounded students exemplify the very character that the league was established upon.

“This has not been an easy year, but even in a pandemic, we have donors who continue to be generous and recipients that are worthy,” said LIJSL Scholarship Program Chairperson Lynn Scarpati. “We have all found something special in crisis and ways to face these challenges.”

The 2020 scholarship recipients mark the program’s 40th year of providing exceptional students with awards. Four of the local recipients hail from Mepham High School: Greg Paul (Alfred University) received the Brittany Walsh Memorial Scholarship; Gaetano Parisi (Rogers Williams University) received the Miles for Matt Scholarship; Rory King (Northeastern University) was given the Peter C. Collins Memorial Presidential Scholarship; and Tyler McElwee (SUNY Oneonta) earned the Michael Secko Memorial Scholarship.

“It shows that we’re a strong, well-rounded district with a bunch of tremendous kids who excel in and out of the classroom,” Mepham varsity boys’ soccer coach Zach Gosse said.

Paul, Parisi and King were all members of the Pirates’ 2018 Nassau County Class A championship team.

Other local honorees included Calhoun High School’s Conor Andrews (Ohio University), who was named the John R. Pinezich Memorial Scholarship winner, and Kennedy High School’s Ross Gossett (University of Maryland), who received the Michael Scarpati Memorial Scholarship.

“The league would like to acknowledge and express its appreciation for the tremendous support the scholarship program has received from sponsors and foundations,” said LIJSL Managing Director Steve Padaetz. “The continued backing from our supporters has been an essential piece to the program’s longstanding years of success.”