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Kirstin Hendershot

Sara Moore Rand ’61 Endowed Scholarship
Michael ’93 and Marni ’93 Murphy Educational Endowed Scholarship

Giovanni Guarini

Receiving the Sara Moore Rand ’61 Endowed Scholarship and the Michael ’93 and Marni ’93 Murphy Educational Endowed Scholarship has helped show sophomore Kirstin Hendershot the value of hard work.

“These scholarships showed me that my hard work is paying off and they motivate me to continue to work hard to earn them again,” said Hendershot, a native of Pen Argyl, Pa. “I was really honored and excited to receive these scholarships. I’m grateful because they’ve helped me pay of some of my student loans and cover the cost of my books.”

The Sara Moore Rand ’61 Endowed Scholarship is for education majors in good academic standing, who are involved on campus. The Michael ’93 and Marni ’93 Murphy Educational Endowed Scholarship is awarded to education majors with a 3.0 grade point average.

Hendershot, an elementary education major, is the daughter of two educators. Her father Dustin teaches seventh grade math at Nazareth Middle School, and her mother Tanya teaches first grade at Shawnee Elementary School in Easton.

Not only did her parents’ professions inspire Hendershot to want to be an educator herself, having teachers for parents taught her the importance of academics.

“We always had a very high value on academics in our house. Education always came first before any extracurricular activities,” Hendershot said. “I’ve always worked hard and wanted to do well in my classes. I love to continue to learn and push myself to broaden what I already know. I want to work hard to become a teacher and role model to younger students.”

Hendershot credits her parents with instilling the structure and discipline in her life that has helped her succeed— especially last school year when all her freshman classes took place virtually due to the pandemic. While it was challenging to stay focused at home, Hendershot became a more independent learner.

“Without being in the classroom, I had to take more responsibility and be my own biggest advocate. I would send emails to my professors if I had questions or needed help, and I had to be active during class and make the most out of the limited interactions,” she said.

Hendershot, who is the administrative director of the Campus Activity Board, and a member of Best Buddies, a club that does activities with students with special needs, hopes to one day be in a position to give back to ESU.

“I know how happy and excited I am to earn scholarships and I’d like to see someone else have that same experience,” she said. “It will be good to know that the scholarship recipient can focus on school, instead of worrying about money.” 

Grace Reixinger

DeNike Endowed Scholarship
Diana E. Weaver ‘57 Annual Scholarship
Pinky O'Neil '57 Honorary
Ms. Senior American Annual and Endowed Scholarships

Grace Reixinger

Grace Reixinger’s life has been anything but easy. Over the years, the junior health and physical education major has endured many personal challenges, often taking on extra responsibilities and caretaking at home, in addition to juggling multiple jobs to support herself and fund her education.

Receiving the DeNike Endowed Scholarship, the Diana E. Weaver ‘57 Annual Scholarship, and the Pinky O’Neil ‘57 Honorary Ms. Senior America Annual Scholarship, has provided Reixinger financial support, a positive role model, and inspiration for future philanthropic goals. “The scholarships paid for about one- third of my semester,” the Milford native said. “I’m paying for my education myself, so having the financial support helps to relieve the stress of that. It’s greatly appreciated.”

The DeNike Endowed Scholarship was established by Dr. Howard DeNike ‘26, a longtime ESU faculty member. Recipients must be majoring in physical education or health education, have completed at least 62 credits, and exhibit high academic performance. The Diana E. Weaver ‘57 Annual Scholarship is awarded to health and physical education majors with at least 30 credits and good academic and social standing. The Pinky O'Neil '57 Honorary Ms. Senior America Annual and Endowed Scholarships were established by Sandra “Pinky” Fees O’Neil ’57. Recipients must be majoring in health education, physical education or health and physical education teacher certification. Recipients must have completed at least 30 credits with a minimum 2.75 GPA with preference given to female students.

Reixinger has enjoyed the opportunity to correspond with Weaver.

“Hearing from her makes it personal. It’s nice to see that she loved ESU so much that she wanted to help someone else have a good experience there,” Reixinger said. “It gives me a role model, and it makes me think, ‘maybe one day I could do that for someone else?’”

Reixinger is passionate about using sports as a channel for personal development and good mental health, in addition to using the team atmosphere as a safe support system while navigating challenges. Participating in diving and swimming while in school helped Rexinger through difficult times and led her to discover her love for coaching. She is the diving coach at Delaware Valley High School in Milford Pinky O'Neil '57 Honorary Ms. Senior American Annual and Endowed Scholarships and a 14-under swim coach for the Delaware Valley Water Moccasins. She is also a water safety instructor and lifeguard.

While Reixinger was growing up, her family experienced a succession of life-threatening health scares. Reixinger was tasked with caring for sick family members and taking on household responsibilities. While her mother, Cheryl, suffered first from cancer, and then a misdiagnosed autoimmune disorder for years, Reixinger became her mother’s primary caretaker— while working six jobs. After the disorder was correctly diagnosed, and her mother’s health was stable, Reixinger was able to resume a more normal schedule and pursue her education.

“There were days when I asked myself, “Why is this happening to our family?” I realized that what’s come out of this is the way I can help other people who are going through something similar. I love relating to other people and letting them know they’re not alone,” she said.

As a member of the Health and P.E. Club and a peer mentor who helps new students get acclimated to campus, Reixinger loves the positive influence she can have on others.

“Get to know the people around you. You never know what they’re going through and how relating to them could help both you, and them,” she said. “Even through masks, you can still see if someone is smiling or having a bad day. If you show someone you care, you never know the impact you can have on their life.”

Giovanni Guarini 

John “Tobi” Tobin Endowed Scholarship

Giovanni Guarini

As the recipient of the John “Tobi” Tobin Endowed Scholarship, Giovanni Guarini is not only supported financially, he feels supported toward his ultimate goal of becoming a mental health therapist and helping those in need. The John “Tobi” Tobin Endowed Scholarship is awarded to undergraduates who have a documented learning disability. Guarini, a junior psychology major, has ADHD and bipolar disorders. He hopes to one day work with young people with mental disorders, who have gotten into trouble, to help guide them in the right direction. Guarini believes people with mental disorders are often looked upon negatively and misunderstood. He wants to change these misconceptions and empower those who are struggling.

“My own mental disorders have helped me feel closer to people who also have them. One of the reasons I went into psychology was to figure out myself and who I am. By bettering myself and my future, I can help other people who are struggling,” he said. Growing up in Bayonne, N.J., Guarini lived with his mother, Jessica Tinnirello and his stepfather, Anthony Tinnirello. He was the oldest of five children and money was scarce. School was—and still is— a challenge for Guarini. His ADHD makes it difficult for him to concentrate, and his bipolar disorder can affect his motivation and self-esteem.

Early in middle school, Guarini was prescribed medication for his ADHD, which helped him focus. He began earning better grades and felt encouraged to work harder to see how far he could go.

I became aware of what my capabilities are, and that motivated me to go all out to achieve more. I started focusing on what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t do, and that’s the mindset I continue to have,” he said.

Another motivating factor is to be the first in his family to graduate from college. Guarini, who now resides in East Stroudsburg, credits receiving the scholarship with pushing him to work harder to maintain good grades. It’s also helped him buy his computer and books.

“I don’t know what I would be doing without the extra help. It keeps me moving forward,” he said. “It’s also opened my eyes to what opportunities I can have and to see that there are people out there who are willing to help me.”