MARGATE – With the award of two $2,500 college scholarships Wednesday, June 6, the Margate Business Association’s scholarship program reached an impressive milestone. Since the inception of the Daniel and Maria Walters Scholarship Program in 1999, the organization has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships.
At a ceremony at the Margate Public Library Wednesday afternoon attended by the scholarship recipients and their parents along with MBA members and Daniel and Maria Walters, MBA President Ed Berger presented checks for $2,500 to Atlantic City High School senior Bess Levin and Ocean City High School senior Hailey Stack.
“This is the first time in a long time we have had two female award recipients,” scholarship co-founder Daniel Walters said.
Walters, a longtime educator and former head of the Absegami High School English, reading, drama and dance departments, along with his wife Maria, a longtime English teacher at Oakcrest High School and local businesswoman, started the scholarship program after they helped to organize the MBA.
“We brainstormed ways to make the MBA more community oriented,” Maria Walters said. “The scholarship program is a great way for businesses to give back to the community.”
The program was initially funded through small fundraisers and 50-50s, but they got the idea to hold a wine tasting, which was just coming into fashion at that time.
“We grew it until we semi-retired and turned the fundraising duties over to the young people,” she said. “They have done a remarkable job making it the event it is today.”
All of the funding for the scholarships, which are available to Margate and Longport students regardless of the school they attend, come from the annual MBA Spring Wine Tasting event, which is held at Steve & Cookies By the Bay. The event, which was held on April 25, featured wine, beer and spirit tastings along with live and silent auctions of donated items MBA members secure from local businesses. The event has become one of the premier social events in the Downbeach area.
The MBA received 11 entries this year, which were judged anonymously by six volunteers based on academics, letters of reference, extracurricular activities and essay. This year’s essay prompt was on Greek life and if it should be banned or allowed to continue.
Levin will attend University of Vermont where she will study to become a doctor specializing in pediatric nutrition. She is a varsity athletics standout with letters in field hockey and crew and has volunteered as a counselor for the Margate Field Hockey Camp, Read Across America and a mathematics tutor. She is a member of the National Honor Society, on the high school’s merit roll and will graduate in the top 10 percent of her class.
Stack will attend the College of New Jersey where she will study criminology and law. A varsity athlete, she was captain of the lacrosse, diving and field hockey teams. Her volunteer work includes being a teen ambassador for the Dean Randazzo Cancer Fund, a library assistant at the William H. Ross School, and she volunteers for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.
She has been on the National Honor Society for four years, and received OCHS’s Distinguished Honors award, Excllence in Scholarship award and Scholar Athlete award.