At last week’s Senior Awards Night, the Sons of Verona Memorial Foundation awarded a $5,000 to Michael Verschleiser. Maxine and Paul Gilson presented Verschleiser with the scholarship check.
The Sons of Verona Memorial Foundation was created by Seth Landsberger to honor Michael Halpert and Christopher Blum, two Verona High School graduates who died young in tragic circumstances. The SOV Scholarship is a non-academic, non-athletic based scholarship based purely on character, designed to recognize those students who have potential but, the foundation says, “lack the desire” to apply themselves in high school. Would-be recipients submit video applications along with a bio and essay describing their aspirations. The foundation awarded its first scholarship last year to Brett D’Alessandro, who enlisted in the Marine Reserves before heading on to Johnson & Wales University.
At Verona High School, Halpert and Blum were popular students, known for their athleticism and personalities. Halpert died in 2009 when was assaulted after coming to the aid of a fellow shipmate while serving in the U.S. Navy. Blum died in 2001 after struggling with an addiction to heroin. You can read more about both young men here.