Renata Curcio, Verona High School Class of 2020, has been named the first VHS recipient of a scholarship from the Essex County Retirees Education Association (ECREA). She was one of four recipients out of the 36 high schools in Essex County that submitted applications for the scholarships, which have existed for more than a decade.
The ECREA scholarships are merit-based and students must write a short essay along with the application to help VHS choose its nominee. Only one student per high school can be nominated. Students must be an Essex County resident, have a GPA over 3.0 and must be accepted to a four-year college. Recipients would have been honored at an awards luncheon in May, but that was cancelled by the pandemic.
At VHS, Curcio participated in Peer Leadership, which provides mentoring for VHS freshmen, as well as the ASL sign language club, marching band and the swim team, for which she was a co-captain in the 2019-2020 season. She was also active since 2014 in Friendship Circle, a Livingston-based non-profit that pairs teen volunteers with special needs people.
It was through her involvement with Friendship Circle that Curcio was first exposed to sign language. She went on to take ASL I and II at the Montclair Adult School, and started the ASL Club at VHS. She had hoped to do her senior Capstone interning in a sign language program in the Montclair School District.
Curcio will be attending The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), majoring in psychology and deaf studies.