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Pope Foundation Grants Big Scholarships

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. - After Tuckahoe High School’s graduation Friday night, David Pope still had a few things to do. Pope, who heads the Generoso Pope Foundation in Tuckahoe, told the 60 graduates that he may have a surprise for a few of them.

"If you get one of these pins," he said gesturing to a Pope Foundation pin on his own lapel, "it will be worth a $10,000 scholarship.”

Pope said he does not have a formula for the scholarships he grants.

"It depends on the interviews,” he said. “I speak to the kids, see what my impressions are of them and of course see if there is a financial need."

The Generoso Pope Foundation was started in 1947. Throughout its history, the foundation has made grants to hospitals, schools, community organizations and public and community organizations. David Pope , the great grand-son of the foundation’s founder,  has taken a particular interest in helping children.

"I get to play Santa Clause to these kids every day of the year," he said. “It's a great feeling to carry on my family legacy this way."

Pope approached recipient Kevin Chen while the graduate was taking photos with family and friends.

"He walked up to me, just took the pin off his lapel and pinned it on my gown," Chen said. "I was shocked. I gave him a handshake and a big hug."

Chen plans on attending the University of Hartford in Connecticut in the fall and majoring in physical education.

Diana Ottomanelli wasn’t feeling well the night before the ceremony when she had a visitor. David Pope, a bouquet of flowers in his hand, stopped by wondering if Diana was feeling better.

"That's when I noticed the pin on the ribbon around the flowers," she said. "I told Mr. Pope I was feeling a lot better now."

Ottomanelli will attend SUNY Cortland in the fall and is undecided in her major.

Pope gave out close to $50,000 in scholarships to Tuckahoe High School students this year, with part of those funds renewing last year’s awards. Pope said as long recipients maintain their grade point average for their first year of college, he will renew the award.

"I have the best job in the world, I get to help people and change their lives," he said.

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