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First Recipients of the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award

Three high school seniors were recently recognized as first-time winners of the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award administered by the First County Bank Foundation.

Kelly Andersen from Trinity Catholic High School (Stamford), Annie Zhang from Westhill High School (Stamford) and Daniel Eyzaguirre from Brien McMahon High School (Norwalk) each won a $5,000 scholarship from the First County Bank Foundation for being recognized as outstanding citizens in their communities. The money will be used toward their continuing education.

The award is named after Richard E. Taber who retired as chairman and CEO of First County Bank last March. It is in recognition of Taber’s 40+ year career at the bank and innumerable contributions to the community through The First County Bank Foundation.

“The achievements of these young adults in the realms of citizenship, leadership, academics, service and sportsmanship are being honored with this award,” said Kathy Harris, vice president of the First County Bank Foundation. “An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices, each of them have made throughout their high school years.

This annual award honors high school students living in lower Fairfield County who consistently demonstrate good citizenship at school, at home and in the community. The program awards scholarships to three deserving students and is designed to recognize and encourage young people who are honest, hard-working, helpful and fair. Each year, the foundation will accept student applications from Jan. 1 to May 31. Winners will be notified by June 30.

“As a community bank and nonprofit foundation, First County recognizes its role in helping young people achieve their college goals,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “With the economy continuing to affect many students’ ability to attend the college of their choice, it is critical that we and other organizations continue to offer scholarships to deserving high school seniors.”

When asked about the award, Kelly Andersen said, “Our being selected among such a distinguished group of high school seniors is a testament to our hard work and dedication to all of our efforts from academics and community service to athletics. From more than 60 applicants, First County Bank Foundation judges were able to see what the other two award winners and I brought to the table, which is a really nice feeling.” Andersen intends to study mathematics at Sacred Heart University and become a high school teacher when she graduates.

“I have a passion to change the world,” said Annie Zhang, who has been accepted to Clark University in Massachusetts. “I want to help people in developing countries which lead to my interest in international relations and sociology as majors in college. I hope to eventually work for the United Nations where I will be able to help many people in different countries. I plan to continue volunteering and advocating for nonprofit organizations in college and throughout my adult life.”

“Receiving the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award is an honor and I feel very fortunate to have been selected with Annie and Kelly. While education is certainly a very important part of my life, community service is where I’ve noticed the most impact on others,” said Daniel Eyzaguirre, who intends to study business at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “I want my voice and my ideas to be heard. The only way this world can become a better place is to help out around your community. It’s the little steps that count toward the bigger goal.”

This award does not seek to salute star scholastic or athletic performers. Applicants are judged by the following characteristics:

  1. Citizenship – The student must be regarded as dependable and demonstrate respect for people, property and the law. The student is also courteous, helpful and caring in their relationships with other students, teachers, coaches and adults.
  2. Leadership – The student demonstrates an ability to work with and motivate others, has sound values, good judgment, sense of fairness and has earned the respect of their peers.
  3. Academics – The student continually strives to the limits of their abilities, both in the classroom and at home, to achieve those personal academic goals that their parents and teachers believe are within reach of the student. This in no way implies that the candidate must be academically superior.
  4. Service – The student readily and unselfishly helps others at home, at school and in their community to a degree that is judged exceptional for a person of the candidate’s age.
  5. Sportsmanship – The student demonstrates an earnest attempt to do their best during athletic or group competitions, shows a respect for the rules of that competition, and in terms of priorities, place the success of the team above a need for personal advancement. This does not imply that the student must be an outstanding athlete.

Each winner receives a personalized certificate; a check for $5,000 will be sent directly to the school of choice; a congratulatory advertisement will appear in the local newspaper, including a photo; and winners will be prominently displayed with a photo on First County Bank’s Website.

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