WOHS Seniors Named 2016 Recipients of Donald and Lisa Shauger’s Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship
By Alexandra Gakos
June 28, 2016
On Thursday, June 2, 2016, financial scholarships were awarded to four West Orange High School seniors through the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, which was founded in 2014 by Donald and Lisa Shauger. The Shaugers established the scholarship, which is part of the West Orange Scholarship Fund (WOSF), in memory of their friend, former West Orange police officer Timothy Groves, who passed away from cancer in 2013.
The announcement of this year’s four winners—Rebekah Pedo, Christine Bell, Brendin Espeleta-Silveria, and Jada Parker—took place at West Orange High School’s Senior Awards Night.
This is the second consecutive year that the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship has been awarded. Last year, then-senior Thomas Sayers became the first-ever recipient of the scholarship.
All WOSF scholarship recipients are chosen on the basis of their written applications, with consideration given to factors such as financial necessity, academic record, extracurricular involvement, and dedication to community service. For the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, specifically, special consideration is granted to students who exhibit commitment and dedication to various charities, organizations, and volunteer opportunities—just as Officer Groves did during his lifetime—regardless of their intended career path. Although future career plans in law enforcement or criminal justice are not required criteria for a Groves Memorial Scholar, it is particularly meaningful when recipients share Groves’ passion for law and justice.
In total, this year’s four Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship recipients collectively were provided with $5,200 in scholarship money, $200 of which was earnings on permanent endowment and $5,000 of which was donated directly to the scholarship.
Over the past year, as a result of the steadfast commitment of The Shauger Group (TSG)—and its similarly civic-minded friends and colleagues—to the WOSF and its mission, a total of over $21,000 has been raised for the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship. The majority of that sum was donated at the first annual Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship Dinner, which was hosted by TSG in October 2015. The West Orange PBA Local 25 and WOSF lent their support to TSG as co-sponsors of the fundraiser, which attracted approximately 140 attendees. As Groves was a former West Orange police officer, the West Orange PBA Civic Association also raised funds this year for the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship. The Association held a beefsteak dinner in April 2016 and donated proceeds from the event to the scholarship fund in memory of their fallen colleague and friend.
Lisa Shauger, President/CEO of TSG, and Donald Shauger, Executive Vice President of TSG, also make miscellaneous contributions to the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship any time a West Orange resident with whom the Shaugers were close passes away.
“We are elated that our scholarship that has been able to help five students since its inception,” said Lisa Shauger. “Timothy Groves was a remarkable individual, and we are honored to keep his memory alive through the scholarship. This year’s scholarship recipients exhibit the same strength of character that he did, as well as the same level of commitment to volunteerism and community service that drove him every day of his life.”
The WOSF Awards Committee, headed by vice presidents Deb Weston and Pat Sforza, chose this year’s 75 overall WOSF award recipients. At West Orange High School’s Senior Awards Night, the WOSF awarded 86 scholarships for a total of $67,700; for the sixth consecutive year, the WOSF has set a record dollar amount in scholarships, repeatedly surpassing its total from each prior year.
Since its creation in 1923, the WOSF has awarded over $1.1 million in scholarships and has benefitted approximately 1,700 students overall.
To donate to the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship through the WOSF, please contact WOSF President, Richard Rizzolo, at firstname.lastname@example.org and WOSF Treasurer, Jim Quinn, at email@example.com. Please make the donation check payable to the West Orange Scholarship Fund (noting Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship in the memo) and mail it to Jim Quinn, 290 Araneo Drive, West Orange, NJ 07052.
About Officer Timothy Groves
Officer Groves bravely served as a member of the West Orange Police Department for 14 years before his passing in 2013 at the age of 48. Passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated, Officer Groves gave much of his time—and himself—to the West Orange community during the years of his life. A charitable person, Officer Groves served as a mentor to West Orange children, volunteered considerably with Special Olympics, and held the role of West Orange Police Department youth program coordinator. Officer Groves was the 2009 West Orange Police Officer of the Year; in his memory, the Watchung Heights police substation was officially renamed the Police Officer Timothy Groves Community Center and Police Substation in 2014.
Officer Groves received countless awards for valor, community service, and citizenship during his lifetime, including the following:
- 2001 Life Saving Award, Command Citation-Apprehending Burglary Suspect
- 2001 Essex County Valor A Award
- 2009 Essex County Scholarship “B” Award
- 2009 West Orange Police Officer of the Year
- 2009 200 Club Valor Award – Outstanding Action in the Line of Duty
- 2009 Christian Love Baptist Church Community Service Award
- 2010 Essex County “A” Award
- 2011 West Orange Elks Citizen of the Year for recognition of Exceptional Contribution to Youth Development program within the Township of West Orange
- Elks Distinguished Citizen Award – Outstanding Meritorious Service to Humanity
About the 2016 Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Rebekah Pedo: Pedo, an AP Scholar with Honors and a member of five National Honor Societies, has been exploring different areas of law enforcement for her future career. Pedo served as a summer intern in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, where she learned about the justice system at the courthouse, and attended State Trooper Youth Week, where she underwent difficult physical training exercises. In addition to being awarded with the 2016 Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, Pedo was also named a recipient of the President’s Award for Educational Excellence at the 2016 Senior Awards Night ceremony.
Christine Bell: Bell intends to major in Forensic Psychology. An admirable, hardworking individual, Bell has had to work diligently while helping her mother take care of her two younger siblings. Shouldering a significant amount of responsibility, especially for a person her age, Bell works at the Jewish Community Center year-round to assist her family and save for college.
Brendin Espeleta-Silveria: Espeleta-Silveria entered the Institute for Citizen Empowerment (I.C.E.) during his sophomore year; there, he was introduced to the fields of study of Criminal Justice, National Security, and Forensic Psychology that he now is interested in pursuing. Espeleta-Silveria, a member of the WOHS soccer team and boys step team, works with young children as a soccer trainer.
Jada Parker: Parker, a student-athlete, plans to attend Seton Hall University and major in Law. With a passion for serving the community and a desire to demand justice for those who merit it, Parker intends to become a prosecutor after she graduates. A dedicated and well-rounded individual, Parker holds a part-time job, volunteers, and runs track.