Posted by Tap Into
NEW YORK, NY – Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision + healthcare organization, has awarded more than $200,000 in merit scholarships to an outstanding group of students who are blind or visually impaired and Montville Township High School Graduate Travis Aprile was among those chosen.
Aprile was diagnosed with Behcet’s disease five years ago which has impaired his vision.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Behcet’s (beh-CHETS) disease, also called Behcet’s syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout your body. The signs and symptoms of Behcet’s disease — which may include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions — vary from person to person and may come and go on their own. The exact cause of Behcet’s is unknown, but it may be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells. Treatment aims to reduce the signs and symptoms of Behcet’s disease and to prevent serious complications, such as blindness.
Aprile’s mother, Gigi, told TAP into Montville that she is “very proud of Travis. Despite the fact that he has an autoimmune disease, he has persevered to get this award.”
Following a rigorous application process that included academic excellence and community involvement considerations, 20 high school seniors from around the country were each awarded unrestricted scholarships of $10,000 to help them make the transition from high school to a college or university of their choice. Additionally, three graduate students were each awarded $5,000 merit scholarships to support their continuing education.
“Lighthouse Guild is pleased to recognize these remarkable students who have shown that vision loss is not a barrier to success – in or out of the classroom. Their achievements are an inspiration and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for these bright young adults,” said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild, which serves more people who are blind or visually impaired than any other organization in the country.
Teachers also play an important role in their student’s academic accomplishments, so each year the Lighthouse Guild Scholarship Program honors one influential educator for the effect they’ve had on a scholarship recipient’s academic life. As part of the application process, each student is required to submit a personal essay describing how an outstanding teacher has made an impact on their education.
This year, Brian Fendrick, a Fremont High School (Plain City, Utah) AP English and Yearbook Advisor to graduating senior Marybai Huking, will be recognized with a $5,000 prize. As Marybai wrote in her nominating essay, Fendrick “never once doubted my abilities and believed that I would be successful when I didn’t believe in myself.”