Maggie Kocorowski was named a Carson Scholar and will receive her medal from world renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson at the 23rd Annual Maryland Awards Banquet May 5. Thousands of students in grades 4 to 11 compete nationwide for this honor. Carson Scholars must be nominated by an educator, have a GPA of 3.75, and display humanitarian qualities through community service. Only one student per school can be nominated each year. The $1,000 renewable scholarship goes toward the recipient’s college education.
Maggie’s parents, Laura and Mike Kocorowski couldn’t be more elated with the news, sharing, “Mike and I are just so proud of what Maggie has accomplished so far. When we learned that the principal, Dr. Pellechia, and other teachers nominated her for the award we were completely surprised, as was Maggie. It is truly an honor for her to represent OLPH in this way. Maggie has worked very hard throughout middle school to maintain a high GPA and test scores. We are thrilled that all her hard work and service has been acknowledged by both OLPH and the Carson Scholars Fund. We are so very thankful to OLPH for helping Maggie develop as a whole person – giving her a strong foundation in faith as well as academia. Maggie is going to Mount de Sales Academy next year for high school, where she has received one of their Fra Angelica Art Scholarships.”
Students write an essay as part of the application process. Maggie opened up in hers about overcoming personal and physical challenges. She was adopted at 18 months from an orphanage in China and worked through eight years of speech therapy due to a severe cleft lip and palette, which made it difficult to eat, swallow, speak, and hear. Maggie shared “I have struggled to embrace my Chinese heritage. I don’t look anything like my American parents or brother, yet I don’t feel very ‘Chinese’ either. I’ve overcome these obstacles by focusing on the bigger picture. I have loving parents who provide and care for me. It does not matter that I look different from them. I’m still an important part of our family. Together we do many things to honor my Chinese heritage, like donating to the orphanage I stayed in and sponsoring a child still in their care.”
Regarding her Carson award, Maggie said, “Receiving this award was important to me as it confirmed to me that my service does make an impact on the community around me and that my efforts have not gone unrecognized. My teachers at OLPH have always encouraged me to do my best.”
Dr. Victor Pellechia shared, “Maggie has distinguished herself as a student at OLPH School, and we are so proud of her for this achievement! We know that she will continue to excel in high school and beyond, and her example will be an inspiration to those that follow her.” OLPH Academic Dean, Mrs. Hahner, who has taught Maggie math for the past three years praised her student saying, “I am thrilled that Maggie has been named a Carson Scholar. Maggie’s positive impact on our community is felt by her peers and our staff members, but in a special way by our younger students as a distinguished role model. Maggie has faced many obstacles, but has never allowed them to deter her from becoming an outstanding student, who succeeds on her own, but who also helps her classmates achieve their best. She is most deserving of this award.”