The Persbacker Family Fund Scholarship at Connecticut Community Foundation has awarded college scholarships of $3,500 each to six Bridgewater residents for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Persbacker Family Fund is among the largest college scholarship funds available to students residing in Bridgewater, Connecticut. To receive a scholarship from the fund, a student must demonstrate an outstanding commitment to community service in the town of Bridgewater, and the student’s primary residence must have been in Bridgewater for at least six years. The awards are renewable for up to four years.

Kathleen Sinatra, a 2017 graduate of Shepaug Valley School—the regional high school for residents of Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington—has received the Persbacker Family Fund Scholarship for three consecutive years, totaling nearly $9,000. A junior at Union College in Schenectady, New York, majoring in political science and Spanish and Hispanic studies, Sinatra devoted most of her community service in Bridgewater to the Burnham Library.

She said, “My parents always taught me the importance of giving back, which was what initially pushed me toward community service, but what kept me involved was the connections I made. Now in college, I still try to be involved in town community events, such as large library fundraisers and the town fair.”

At Union, Sinatra is a campus tour guide and a student representative on the school’s Diversity Liaison Committee. She and 16 other students have published a book titled Generation Now: Millennials Call for Social Change and she has begun research on the impact and value of a humanities degree. This past winter she served as an intern with [New York] Congressman Paul Tonko’s office. In the fall, she plans to study abroad in Seville, Spain.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Persbacker Family Fund for providing me with scholarships that have allowed me to attend Union,” Sinatra said. “Without having attended Union, I know that I would not have had the opportunity to study in Washington, D.C., for a term, start research as a first-year student, or study abroad in Spain.” 

Former Bridgewater resident Victor L. Persbacker established the scholarship fund at the Foundation with the intention of making college more affordable for students dedicated to community service.

The Persbacker Family Fund has awarded scholarships totaling over $220,000 since its inception in 2004. In addition to Sinatra, this year’s recipients of the scholarships are:

  • Mason Gsell (Louisiana State University) – $3,500
  • Katherine Klein (Boston College) – $3,500
  • Lars Vikstrom (Ithaca College) – $3,500
  • Dakota Wilson (Northeastern Junior College) – $3,500
  • Hunter Wilson (University of Northwestern Ohio) – $3,500

Learn more about the scholarship program at Connecticut Community Foundation.

Top photo: Kathleen Sinatra