Inspired by challenge, FLCC alumni create George Floyd Scholarship

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (October 26, 2020) — As she sat at her table for the annual scholarship dinner awards ceremony at Finger Lakes Community College in September 2017, Althea Jones-Johnson made a promise to herself: One day she’d do what she could to help future students of color join the list of honorees.

“I was just so grateful,” she said. “I remember saying to myself that I want someone else to be able to experience that.”

Samantha Meniscole, a Finger Lakes Community College graduate, helped create a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship at the college.

Fast-forward to the present: Having recently embarked on a master’s degree program in higher education, Althea has partnered with fellow FLCC alumna and graduate student Samantha Maniscola to establish a new scholarship for African-American students.

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship awards $1,000 to a deserving student in the memory of the Minneapolis man who was murdered by police during what should have been a routine misdemeanor arrest.

The first recipient is Lucas Cupelli of Geneva. Cupelli learned about the scholarship soon after it was created. “I applied because I am a young, bi-racial black male and I am working hard to be a positive role model for students like me,” he said. “This scholarship will help keep me from getting into debt with student loans. I am having a daughter in November and every little bit helps.”

The scholarship is inspired by a desire to bring change and a challenge by North Central University President Scott Hagan who announced the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship at his institution in June and called on every university president in the country to follow suit.

“I saw that this college had challenged other institutions to do the same things and I called Sam and said, ‘We should do something like this for FLCC.’ And now, here we are.”

Jones-Johnson considered the support she received while studying at FLCC. She was awarded a scholarship created in honor of a retired provost, the Thomas Topping Adult Returning Student Scholarship. A year later, a second scholarship, the Brian M. Kolb Leadership Award.

“The scholarships definitely helped me financially and motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and see my own potential. I hope we’re able to help others do the same.”

The Floyd scholarship is one of several new scholarships awarded in the past year. Others announced at an online event, held in lieu of the Annual Constellation Brands Honors Dinner, include:

  • The Sam Argetsinger Memorial Scholarship, created in memory of its namesake, a highly regarded Finger Lakes grape grower who was also known for his interest in preservation, land management, and Iroquois history. Created by his friends and family, the scholarship was awarded to James Gantz of Geneva.
  • The IBERO Hispanic Scholarship, sponsored by the IBERO American Action League, was awarded to Juliana Quinones of Rochester.
  • The Wayne County Healthcare Scholarship was established by the Rural Health Network in partnership with FLCC to respond to the need for healthcare workers. It was awarded to Shantaye Burkholder of Lyons; Hannah Bridson of Macedon; Jenna Crego of Marion; Chantel Johnson, David Milliman and Annalise Schram of Newark; Jessica Privitera of Ontario; Irina Chebotareva, Victoria Dempsey Rylie Froehler, Crystal Perkins, Katherine Smyth, Joseph Vernille and Kaitlin Wyffels of Palmyra; Miranda Bennett and Deedra Dowdle of Sodus; and Mercedes Westfall of Williamson.

The privately funded FLCC Foundation scholarships are presented to part- and full-time students entering or returning to FLCC this fall or those who transferred to four-year colleges and universities. Students apply for and are selected to receive the awards based on a variety of criteria relating to major, grade point average, and intended occupation. The awards range from $300 to full tuition.


The 2020–21 scholarship recipients by local town are as follows (this list includes some students who earned scholarships in the spring 2020 semester and have since graduated):

Penn Yan: Laura Bagley, Frances F. MacLeod Memorial Scholarship; Akiya Brewer, Robert Angell Imagine Scholarship; Vincent Nicosia, AMVETS Post 332 Farmington, NY Scholarship; Rachel Wheeler, FLCC Alumni Association Excellence Scholarship

Naples: Cordell Bradley, John H. Brahm III Memorial Scholarship; Jake Cratsley, G.W. Lisk Co. Inc. Excellence Scholarship; Kristin Girard, FLCC Foundation Scholarship; Amber LeMay, FLCC Alumni Association Excellence Scholarship; Kate Livingston, Ann Hamilton Memorial Scholarship, FLCC Mathematics Department Award in Memory of Sherman Hunt; Sarah Grace Parshall, FLCC Nursing Alumni Legacy Scholarship; Michaela Williams AVI Fresh, Inc. Hospitality Scholarship

Rushville: Michael Hiller, Monty Stamp Memorial Scholarship

Stanley: Henry Sloth, Mathematics Department Award for Excellence.