PHOTO: John Gillen (left), representing the Strome Family Foundation, congratulates the 2012 scholarship recipient Jeff Royce. With Jeff are his parents, Gail and Jeff. Photo by Gary Towner.
By Gary Towner
Jeff Royce, the son of Jeff and Gail Royce of Warsaw, has won this year’s Strome Family Foundation Scholarship, totaling about $32,000 to be given out over four years.
The scholarship was established in 1995 through the generosity of Mark Strome, a member of the Warsaw Central School Class of 1974. The alternate is Wesley Csendom, son of Stephen and Tina Cendom, also from Warsaw.
To qualify for the Strome Scholarship, Royce had to first verify on an application that he is planning on attending a four-year college. He then had to prepare a presentation to show the scholarship committee his determination to succeed in all he does. Royce’s presentation was based on how he had to deal with and come to grips with his mother’s cancer.
After the presentation and becoming a finalist, he had to undergo an intensive interview, intended to show the committee each candidate’s hopes, dreams and aspirations, who they are now and who they hope to be.
The Strome Family Foundation places less emphasis on grades and looks instead at initiative, extracurricular activities and community service. At Warsaw Central School, Royce has participated in track and field, soccer, wrestling and football. He is also a member of French Club and the National Honor Society, and during his junior year was chosen to attend Boys State. Outside of school, he has volunteered to coach younger athletes with his father, and has also been a volunteer with Carly’s Club at Roswell Cancer Institute, a support group for children diagnosed with cancer.
Royce’s goal in life is to help develop video games by taking his interest in art and relating it to the artwork used in games. To reach this goal, he will start at the University of Buffalo pursuing a degree in media studies.
Going through the scholarship process and then becoming the recipient was, in his own words, an “amazing experience.” His father echoed his son’s reaction, and his mother called it “Unbelievable.”
“I’m so glad for him,” she said. “I’m so glad the Strome is available … it’s just amazing that they still give back to the community they don’t live in now, so I’m happy.”
Mark Strome, who now resides in California, became eminently successful in the world of financial investing, and this enabled him to establish a million-dollar fund through the Wyoming Foundation. The money is used to provide scholarships for students planning to complete a four-year college degree. The scholarship amount varies from year to year based on the accrued interest on the principal.