Thankful for their own scholarships, NJ brothers raising $100K to pay it forward
MIDDLETOWN — With the total price tag of around $100,000, attending the prestigious Christian Brother's Academy can be a challenge for anyone. One local family is working to make the school easier to attend for the son of a member of the armed forces.
Peter and Max Ferraro, who are students at the school in the Lincroft section of town, have started what they call the "Brothers for Brothers" scholarship. Their father Peter said the boys, a junior and a freshman, hope the money can help defray the cost of the school while giving a young man a chance to share in the experience they have enjoyed.
"I think what they saw was the opportunity to really share in the joy and the knowledge that they're gaining while they're currently here," he said of the program. "If they were able to do it in a way where they could possibly actually see it happen while either of them were still there it would mean a lot."
Ferraro said both his sons won scholarships from the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund, based in part on their desire to pay the generosity of the fund forward. The fund was started in honor of Lt. Dennis "Denny" Zilinski who was killed in Iraq in 2005 while serving his country.
While his family does not have a personal connection to the military, Ferraro said they "do feel very strongly about what our military does for us." In order to continue their efforts to show support for the armed forces, Ferraro said they have teamed with the Folded Flag Foundation, which he said works to "solely give back to military families, especially those that have a member that was deceased in action."
Fundraising for the scholarship is still in the very early stages, but Ferraro, a chiropractor, said their efforts so far have been helped thanks in part to the NFL Alumni Association, and the work he has done with their members in the past. Working with Bart Oates, the group's president and a former member of the New York Giants, Ferraro said the scholarship fund was able to hold a flag football game at MetLife Stadium. He said they have raised about $5,000 toward their ultimate goal of $100,000.
While the goal is six figures, Ferraro said they hope that if enough money can be raised then the scholarship can continue indefinitely, providing an opportunity for students for years to come. Ferraro said even in the early stages of fundraising the reaction to the effort has been positive.
"Everybody that we've spoken to that's affiliated with CBA loves the school so much that whatever can be done to give that opportunity to someone else it would be a great opportunity," he said.
According to a statement on the school's website, students average around 100 hours of community service each year, and are required to do at least 50. The school calls the Ferraro boys' efforts "above and beyond in gratitude for their opportunity to attend CBA." The school's website also notes that it "awards over $1.5 million in scholarships and financial aid to current students."
As his sons work their way through the school, and with a third in sixth grade, Ferraro said neither he nor his wife Lisa were surprised that the boys have jumped in head first to this effort.
"My two older guys are both second-degree black belts, my younger guy just got his black belt. We know that when they set their mind to something they see it all the way through," he said. "This doesn't surprise me that they've taken the initiative and more importantly that they're willing to do whatever it takes to see it through."
To learn more about donating to the fund, go to the Folded Flag website and find the Ferraro Brothers for Brothers Campaign under the donation menu.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com