Sturbridge Rotary Club Awards Scholarships

Pictured, left to right: Sylvia Costa, Emily Irene Bready, Philip Standrowicz, Rachel Godek and Thomas Muir. Tayla Lynn Shepard was not able to attend.


STURBRIDGE – The Sturbridge Rotary Club has been awarding scholarships each year to local students for the past 45 years.  The first scholarship was for $500 and the amount awarded has steadily increased over the years.  This year Sturbridge Rotary has chosen to award scholarships of $1,000 each to six students from Tantasqua Regional High School.  Cumulatively, we are proud to have awarded over $200,000 in local scholarships.

Of the 47 applications reviewed this year, the scholarship committee chose the following students based upon the Club’s criteria of personal and scholastic achievement, participation in school activities including sports as well as community participation through work and volunteering.

Tayla Lynn Shepard from Sturbridge has been accepted at the American International College in Springfield, MA in the Nursing Program including forensic nursing.  At school, Tayla was in the Culinary Arts Division where she won several awards and also attended the SkillsUSA Leadership Conference. This year Tayla won a scholarship for her superior performance on the MCAS.  She is a member of the National Honors Society which comes with a requirement of completing 30 hours of community service per year.  She also participated in the USBC Youth Bowling Team serving as its team captain.  Throughout school, she worked at several fast food, pizza and seafood restaurants where she received high praise for her work ethic and focused customer service.

Emily Irene Bready from Wales has been accepted to pursue a BS in Public Health/BSN dual degree program offered through Worcester State University and the MA College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences University.  While attending Tantasqua, Emily was in the Health Careers Program which upon her graduation, will provide Emily with a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate and a Home Health Aide Certificate, serving her well to pursue a nursing degree.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, competed in SkillsUSA and participated in the Relay for Life.  Her community activities include volunteering at “Hands-Only CPR” Booths and making blankets for premature babies at St. Vincent’s Hospital, as well as being a member of the Tantasqua Buddies Club where she works with special needs youngsters. Her employment as a student has been with the local Parks Department, child care and working with customers at a local sandwich shop.

Thomas Muir from Sturbridge has been accepted at UMass Amherst pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering.  In school, Tom participated in Relay for Life and helped with the Westfield River Watershed cleanup, the latter of which relates to his love of the outdoors and protecting the environment.  His extra-curricular activities at school include being a successful lacrosse player serving as captain the last two seasons and participating in Club Lacrosse where he was named a US Lacrosse Academic All American.  A member of the National Honor Society, Tom finds time to belong to the Fishing Club where he excels at fly fishing.  Tom works at a local restaurant filling in wherever needed.

Rachel Godek from Wales has been accepted at UConn (University of Connecticut) in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a Molecular and Cell Biology major.  Her application to Syracuse University is pending.  Her occupation preference is a Physicians Assistant. Rachel enrolled in seven AP classes plus has an impressive list of extra-curricular activities including cross country, basketball, lacrosse, National Honor Society and student council where she served on three executive boards and as Class Historian.  Her community service list is extensive including THS Red Cross Blood Drive, Community Toy Drive chair, several Special Olympics events, Breast Cancer Awareness, to name a few.  Rachel’s part-time job is a coach and referee for the Wales Recreational Basketball games.

Sylvia Costa from Brimfield has been accepted at UMass Lowell College of Engineering with a major of Civil Engineering.  At Tantasqua, Sylvia participated in Relay for Life and belongs to several clubs including “Be Good to People” and is part of a group called Humanities Scholars.  She was also chosen in her sophomore year to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) program and has participated in the school science fair every year.  For the last two years, Sylvia has been employed by the Town of Brimfield as a videographer for local meetings.

Philip Standrowicz from Southbridge has been accepted to Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston focusing on a Computer Science program.  During his schooling, Philip was very involved as a musician in various bands including the Marching Band and advancing to section leader and also to Drum Major.  He played in the Jazz Band, the Show Choir Pit Band, and attended Drum Major Academy at UMASS Amherst and was accepted into the 2018 MA Central District Band and received an All-State Audition recommendation.  He has volunteered regularly at his church in various capacities, as well as with the Southbridge Lions Club.

Philip Standrowicz is also the recipient of the Wendell Wright Memorial Educational Award for $500 which is an award in memory of Wendell Wright.  The funds for this award were donated by family and friends of Wendell, a former teacher who took pride in assisting students pursue their educational goals.  The Award was presented by Wendell’s widow and Sturbridge Rotarian, Dorothy Wright.

Sturbridge Rotary Club is one of 35,000 clubs worldwide providing humanitarian service as members of Rotary International.  Beyond the local and international help that we provide, we are most proud of our support of educational programs for youth such as sponsoring students to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award program as well as awarding scholarships to the young men and women that we recognize here.  These students attended a recent Club meeting giving the entire Club membership the opportunity to meet them and to hear about their career aspirations for the future.  To learn more about Sturbridge Rotary please visit us at


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