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--- Issued September 12, 2010

Thirty-two students were awarded $44,032 for private elementary schools and college on July 26 at Erie City Hall Council Chambers in a presentation ceremony in which HACE Executive Director John E. Horan gave tribute to those responsible for the scholarship programs.



Shown above and on the home page of this Web site are the five winners of the 2010-2011 Louis J. Tullio Scholarship Awards: Amal Abukar Sheyla Agosto, Svetlana Momet, Antoinette Riley, California University of Pennsylvania; and Ntibanganyimana Stephano.

Click here to watch the presentation video... Twenty-seven students were awarded $39,032 to attend private elementary schools in the 13th annual Ellen Curry Scholarship awards presentation. The scholarship program is designed to help give public housing children the benefits of a private education.

In addition, five public housing youths were awarded $1,000 each at the Louis J. Tullio Memorial Scholarship presentation. These scholarships are meant to encourage higher education and self-esteem among high school and college students living in public housing and, also, to keep alive the memory and spirit of Mayor Louis J. Tullio, Erie’s only six-term mayor.

Another purpose of the Tullio scholarship is to identify and assist these young adults to become role models for other public housing children.


HACE honors winners at the Ellen Curry Awards ceremony at Erie City Hall.

Curry Scholarship winners for 2010-2011 are: Zuri Marshall, Caitlyn Wisinski, Tehya Vargas, Rachel McClain, Akol Akol, Joseph Wisinski, Nyrie Burrows, KiShawn Higgins, James Coleman, Noah Laughner, Ayana Vargas, Opal Akol, Aala Marfing, Kiah Tolbert, Mar’Zon Horton, Alexis Proper, Alanna Blose, Le’Fayeziah Simmons, Judea Higgins-Morris, Levonne Rowan, III, Victoria Tenon, Armando Vargas, Danaya Cooley, Leozna Gore, Armani Oosterkamp, Lyric Rutkowski, and Esraa Marfing.

These children will attend St. Peter School, Blessed Sacrament, Luther Memorial Learning Center, St. James, St. John-Holy Rosary, St. Luke, Holy Family , and Villa Maria Elementary.

Since the Curry Scholarships began in the 1998-99 school year, 95 children have received $324,457 in scholarships.

Curry Scholarships are funded by private donations to the Ellen Curry Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1998 by the Housing Authority at the request of Ellen Curry who was a longtime member of the Authority Board. Curry left the bulk of her estate to the Ellen Curry Foundation for the education of public housing youth.

Winners of the 2010-11 Louis J. Tullio Scholarships were:

Amal Abukar, attending George Washington University; Sheyla Agosto, Mercyhurst North East; Svetlana Momet, Mercyhurst North East; Antoinette Riley, California University of Pennsylvania; nad Ntibanganyimana Stephano, Penn State Behrend.

About $67,000 has been awarded in Tullio Scholarships.

At the scholarship presentation at Erie City Hall, HACE Executive Director John E. Horan explained that:

"We only come over to City Council Chambers once each year. This is the meeting where we present our scholarships for the coming school year. This year, we have a total of 32 young people who will be receiving scholarships through the Ellen Curry Foundation. The Ellen Curry Scholarships go to elementary school students. We also award several college-bound students the Louis J. Tullio Scholarship.

"The Housing Authority has been in business since 1938 and our main mission is to supply affordable housing to low income families and individuals and senior citizens and persons with disabilities. We provide housing to approximately 8,000 individuals through public housing and our Section 8 programs. That is a big part of our responsibility and has been for many years.

"The other part of our mission is to help our residents who are in our program become economically self-sufficient. We do that in a variety of ways, not the least of which is this scholarship program.

"The scholarship program came about because of two individuals; the late Mayor Louis J. Tullio, who was mayor of the City of Erie for 24 years. Many of the adults in the audience may still remember Mayor Tullio. He served as mayor from 1965 until 1990. The only mayor to be elected for six terms. That will never happen again. Among other things the mayor was a big proponent of the public housing program. He was responsible in a large portion for the inventory of public housing that we have today. In addition to that, he was also a coach and a teacher before he was elected as mayor of the City of Erie.

"When he passed away in 1990, the Housing Authority established the Louis J. Tullio Scholarship Program. We were able to do that because of the generosity of the law firm Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, Inc., who contributes to that scholarship every year.

"In addition, we conducted a major fund raiser in 2001 and we were able to endow the Tullio scholarship. Since 1990 to the present time, we have awarded approximately $67,000 in Tullio scholarships for college-bound students.

"The Ellen Curry Scholarship Program was also due to the generosity of another individual, Ellen Curry. She was a board member of the Housing Authority for 29 years. She served during the growth period of the Housing Authority and was responsible for the tremendous increase of programs that serve the residents of public housing.

"These programs include Head Start, day care, recreation programs, the C.O.P.P.S. program, and educational training for adults and children. All of these programs came about during Ellen Curry’s tenure on the Housing Authority board.

"When Ms. Curry passed away in 1998, she left a portion of her estate to fund the Ellen Curry Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide financial assistance for elementary school students to attend private school. With that bequest from Ellen Curry, since 1998, 95 children have received scholarships totaling $324.457.

"It is an amazing story from an individual who was a very kind person who was committed to people who live in public housing. Due to the generosity and vision of these two individuals we are able to carry on their memory by providing scholarships to assist in the education of those young people who live in public housing.

"I always like to speak about the history as to how we got where we are. All of the money that we have awarded over the years has come from private donations. We have an annual golf tournament each year that raises about $30,000 for the Ellen Curry Foundation. In 2010 we will award scholarships totaling $44,000.

"The Housing Authority has made a number of commitments to assist our families in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Most important is the opportunity to improve their own education level, but also, our incentives to young people to take advantage of the educational opportunities in our programs.

"It is hard to explain to children that if you work hard for 12-16 years you are going to have a better life. We have a program that provides incentives on an on-going basis such as; if your child gets an honor card for the grading period then they get a little reward from the Housing Authority. If they do well for the entire school year they get a U. S. savings bond. Those reinforcements help to make your job as parent’s a little easier. As all of you here tonight understand, the ticket to getting out of public housing is educational achievement.

"The first step to that success is doing well in school, graduating from high school and continuing your education."