Scholarship applications are now open for the 2019 year.
Recipients of the scholarship must be pursuing a career in education and demonstrate excellence in academics, extracurricular activities and leadership skills. The recipients must also demonstrate the spirit to Live, Laugh, and Love in both life and education the way Vicki did.
To download the 2019 National Scholarship application click here.
To download the 2019 Connecticut Scholarship application click here.
To download the 2019 renewable application click here.
Miss Soto’s Literacy Legacy is offering a grant opportunity to any Stratford teacher committed to carrying
out the messages of hope, community restoration, healing and unity through classroom programming.
The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund participated in Sterling House Community Center’s Back to School drive today. We gave away over 200 backpacks, pencil cases, book covers, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, folders and more! We are so honored to support the Stratford community and wish all students a successful school year!
Jessica Taliercio, the 2017 scholarship recipient from Bunnell High School, wrote to us this summer to let us know how her freshman year at Quinnipiac University went.
Jessica said, “My first year at Quinnipiac University has been absolutely amazing. The campus is beautiful and the people are great. I made wonderful friends as soon as the first semester started, and I know they will be in my life forever. Seven of us will be living in a suite together next year and I am very excited about it. I have loved my experience at Quinnipiac, and I cannot wait to continue it. It’s great that it is close to home, but I feel at home when I am there. Quinnipiac was not my first choice when deciding where I was going to go to college, but I can’t imagine going anywhere else.
I made the Dean’s list both fall and spring semesters of my first year. I only received one B the whole year, and the rest of my grades were A’s. It was difficult taking up to three math classes per semester, but math is my major and I was able to exceed in each of the classes. I am a part of the 5 year MAT program, but in my sophomore year I will be able to seal my spot in this amazing program. I joined the Quinnipiac Future Teachers Organization in which I met such wonderful future educators. I extended my involvement by playing intramural volleyball where my team and I won the championship in the fall.
What I am most proud of from my first year at Quinnipiac was being recommended by one of my professors to be a Calculus I peer tutor, in which I would hold review sessions for next year’s Calculus I students. After applying and completing the interview processes, I was selected! Therefore, next year I will start being a Calculus I peer tutor! My goal is to become a high school math teacher, so this is going to be amazing practice for me!
I plan on being even more involved my sophomore year. I am very excited to see what is in store for me in my future at Quinnipiac University. I cannot wait to officially become a part of the education program and be one step closer into my dream of becoming a teacher.”
We are so proud of Jessica and her tremendous accomplishments in just her first year alone! We wish her all the best next year and cannot wait for her next update!
Rachael Merritt received the VSMF scholarship in 2015 from Bunnell High School. Rachael attends Central Connecticut State University and is entering her senior year. This summer we spoke to her to catch up on everything!
“I have been busy this summer working at Pumpkin Preschool with my wonderful coworkers and children. I am eager to start my senior year at Central Connecticut State University with a 3.84 GPA!
Last semester I completed field work in a middle school English classroom and it was so much fun! When I return to school, I will be completing the last of my field work hours in local middle and high schools as I gear up to begin student teaching. I am also so excited to go back to school and begin work as the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society Vice President! Although it is always tough to go to school away from my family, I am eager to finish this next chapter in continuing Vicki’s legacy.”
We are so proud of Rachael for her outstanding academic achievements and wish her all the best this fall as she continues her field work hours and looks ahead to student teaching!
Kaitlyn Keegan just completed her freshman year at College of Charleston and wrote to us to share how her first year went. Kaitlyn, our 2017 Stratford High School VSMF Scholarship recipient, said: “With my freshman year of college being completed already, I finally understand why everybody tells me to enjoy each and every second. It truly does fly by so quickly!
College of Charleston has become my second home and I could not imagine going to school anywhere else. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to go to such an amazing school. Being in the city of Charleston has given me access to so many beautiful people, places and resources that have inspired me, motivated me and pushed me just enough, all while making sure that I stayed grounded and never take for granted the simplicity in the beauty that I am surrounded by every day in Charleston. I have been lucky enough to have met some outstanding future educators that I will be proud to be teaching with once I graduate from Charleston! It is amazing to see so many people so motivated to not only become educators, but to make a positive impact on the world.
This past school year, I decided to change my major from Elementary Education to Early Childhood Education due to the fact that I want to be able to work with children in the earliest years of their lives as students so that I can make sure that they are well rounded students with a strong foundation that are inspired by everything around them, that have a love and a passion for learning once they reach elementary school.
During the 2018 Spring Semester, I was chosen through College of Charleston’s Impact Program to be a Peer Academic Coach! I will begin my classes and my training this coming Fall Semester and will be in full swing starting as a Peer Academic Coach in the Spring of 2019! I am very thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait to help as many students as I can. On campus, I have been involved with College of Charleston’s branch of Save the Children Action Network and been involved with student activism. I love to volunteer with children and to make as big an impact as I possibly can. I am very excited to get back to school so that I can accomplish even more, make more amazing memories, and do what I love!”
It was so great hearing from Kaitlyn and all that she has been involved with her freshman year! We are so proud of her for all of her academic success and continued passion for being involved with so many wonderful programs in Charleston that support children. We wish her all the best as she gets ready for her sophomore year this fall!
Mike LaPia, our 2015 Stratford High School VSMF Scholarship recipient, graduated from Quinnipiac University this past May. Mike received his Bachelors in History (in 3 years) and is now pursuing a Masters in the Art of Teaching at Quinnipiac.
Mike said, “It feels like just yesterday I was given the honor of being presented with the Vicki Soto Memorial Scholarship my senior year of high school, but it has already been three years! Time has truly flown as I graduated Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor’s degree in History. I have recently begun pursuing my master’s degree in the art of teaching at Quinnipiac and am looking forward to completing my student teaching experience at Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, CT.
Though my undergrad experience has come to a close, I got to learn a lot about history among other things and look forward to developing my craft in the classroom this year during my internship. I would like to thank the Soto family for all their support over the course of this journey and I am eager to carry on Vicki’s legacy in my own classroom in the future!”
We are so proud of you Mike for all of your incredible accomplishments as an undergrad! We wish you all the best as you pursue your master’s degree and are so grateful for all the work you’ve done to support Vicki’s legacy. We cannot wait to hear from you when you are teaching in a classroom of your own! Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Catching Up With Olivia Mastroluca!
Olivia Mastroluca was one of the 2016 winners of the Victoria Soto Memorial Scholarship and this summer we caught up with Olivia to see how school life is going! Olivia said, “College is absolutely amazing and I love everything about it. I’m very excited for the coming school year to be able to move into an apartment with my best friends and hopefully study abroad in Florence for the Spring semester of 2019. I’ve loved every single second of being at Fairfield University and can’t imagine having gone to school anywhere else. It is such a fantastic school and I’m amazed how it became a second home to me so quickly. There is nothing I can complain about and being close to home is a plus!”
Olivia will be starting her Junior year at Fairfield University in September. She is majoring in English with a concentration in Teacher Education and a minor in Educational Studies. She is also on the 5-year BA/MA track, with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher once she graduates. She has been involved in several organizations on campus such as becoming a Tour Ambassador and being on the executive board of Play Like A Girl (PLAG). Also, she has been doing a lot of volunteer work, including being an usher at the on campus theater and reading and tutoring children in two Bridgeport schools, since she started at Fairfield.
As for what’s ahead this semester for Olivia, she said, “I’m really motivated to become more involved at school and really make the most of the next two years! I can’t believe I already have two years under my belt; I never believed people when they told me college would fly by, but they were so right. I can’t help but feel like there is still so much more for me to do, and I can’t wait to accomplish it all. I’m eager to see where this school year takes me and all of the various opportunities that it will bring with it. I’m looking forward to being able to get more exposure in the school and classroom setting and being able to get more hands on experience. I am beyond thrilled to see what my junior year has in store for me!”
We are so excited to see what’s in store for Olivia, too! We know she will continue to do great things and we look forward to catching up with her again soon!
This summer we’ve been catching up with all of the past Victoria Soto Memorial Scholarship winners to see how things are going. Next up we talked to Katelyn Root, one of the 2016 Bunnell High School scholarship recipients.
Katelyn has been busy this summer working three jobs: as a nanny, waitress, and desk attendant at the gym. Back at school (Eastern Connecticut State University), she has been working as a student leader at Eastern’ s Center for Community Engagement, where she coordinates volunteer programs, orientates volunteers and works closely with community partners.
Katelyn said, “This semester I will start my position as Secretary for the Education honor society, as well as continue to volunteer around Willimantic. Serving the community and working with children definitely assures me I have made the right career path, as I think of Vicki always and love what I do just like she did.”
We are so proud of Katelyn for keeping Vicki’s legacy close to her heart and perusing her dreams of becoming a teacher. We wish her all the best next semester!
Michael Rosati, the 2017 VSMF CT Scholarship winner, just completed his freshman year at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. We caught up with Michael to see how his first year there went and what he thinks of college life so far.
Michael said, “I love going to school at Salve. I enjoy the small campus environment where I can recognize almost all the faces I see. Additionally, living and going to school right on the water is the best. I love being in walking distance to the beach and having the ocean always in view! I have been making some amazing friends and having a lot of fun – so far, college life has been great.
I am still double majoring in elementary and special education and I have already taken several education classes. I finished my freshman year making Dean’s List! I also have begun my testing for my teaching certification. So far I have passed my special education, science, social studies, and english language arts praxis exams. I still have to take two more.
I have been getting heavily involved on campus. I have been involved in campus ministry, a leadership program, and my favorite, Salve’s chapter of Best Buddies. I was even elected treasurer for next year! I am excited to get more involved with the club. I love working with and befriending all the people who are often marginalized because of their disabilities (such as autism, down syndrome…etc.).
This summer I am working at Sterling House Day Camp in Stratford, CT. I am the gym director, so essentially the physical education teacher of camp. I facilitate games such as kickball, dodgeball…etc. for all the campers. I see about 175 campers a day in grades pre-k through 8th grade! I love working with kids all summer, I can’t imagine spending my summer any other way!”
What a great update from Michael! We are so proud of him for all of his tremendous accomplishments, making Dean’s List, passing praxis exams, completing his course work, and finding additional time to volunteer with Best Buddies. We are excited to see what is ahead for him in his Sophomore Year! Enjoy the rest of your summer Michael and tell Sterling House we say hello!