2022 Ernie Davis and Marty Harrigan Scholarships awarded
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) - Every year since 1989, the Ernie Davis Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a high school senior scholar-athlete. Established in 2005, the Marty Harrigan Scholarship is also awarded in honor of Ernie's high school coach. Nominees are asked to either develop a project to spread the word about Ernie Davis's legacy or volunteer 44 hours while spreading the word.
On Tuesday, Elmira senior Lydia Benjamin was named the 34th recipient of the Ernie Davis Memorial Scholarship. Horseheads' Jazmine Knox and Corning's Cristina Gaskievicz are the recipients of the Marty Harrigan Scholarship.
Benjamin will receive a total of $15,000 over four years to be used toward her college tuition and expenses. Lydia is a standout swimmer, diver, and lacrosse player for the Express. She is the Vice President of her senior class, she is in the New Visions Education and Human Services program, the treasurer of the FCCLA, and a member of the National Technical Honor Society. Lydia plans to attend SUNY Geneseo in the fall where she will study Psychology and Environmental Science. For her project, Lydia created a presentation with information and videos about Ernie Davis's story, successes, and struggles with racism. She discussed how much of an honor it is to receive this scholarship.
"This is different than anything that I've been awarded before," said Benjamin. "It's something that means a lot. I think it's something that's going to stick with me and the fact that it's Ernie's Scholarship, I think that his character and the way that I got awarded for this is going to encourage me to just keep up with that behavior through the rest of my life."
The Marty Harrigan Scholarship is an award given to students who went above and beyond the call of duty in spreading the word about Ernie Davis, who was coached by Harrigan in high school. Jasmine Knox and Cristina Gaskievicz each received $4,500 which will go toward their college tuition and expenses.
Gaskievicz will graduate from Corning-Painted Post and will study Linguistics and Creative Writing at SUNY Oswego next year. She competed in Varsity Cross Country, and Track & Field for the Hawks. Gaskievicz is a member of the National Honor Society and the Corning Museum of Glass Teen Leadership Council. For Cristina's project, she created a brochure detailing the challenges and successes of Ernie Davis's life, and she wrote the brochure in Spanish to reach a more diverse audience and to be used as a teaching tool in schools.
Jazmine will graduate from Horseheads High School and will study nursing in college. Jazmine participates in Horseheads' Youth Activation Committee, marching ensemble, and unified bowling. She created a board game titled "Express Land" where through playing the game, you learn about Ernie Davis's life accomplishments and answer trivia questions about Ernie Davis.
"I feel that it's important while you're young to learn about Ernie Davis and I created a fun way of learning about his accomplishments and just his life," said Knox. "You move the pieces on the board if you get a trivia question right. You just learn more about him, and I've learned more about him just in research and what I didn't know about him" she added.
"I was raised bilingual, and there aren't that many Hispanics or Latinos in Corning, so I don't get to use my Spanish that often," said Gaskievicz. "I figured if I could do a project that also involves me in it in a bit of mix, I figured it would be really special so I wanted to make the brochure in Spanish and now schools in the district can use it to teach kids Spanish."
The Ernie Davis and Marty Harrigan Scholarships were created by the Ernie Davis Scholarship Committee and are administered by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc.