2011 AFSA Scholarship Winners Announced

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Five high school seniors who demonstrated academic excellence, personal growth and strong community involvement have been awarded $2,500 scholarships by a national school administrators union to continue their achievements this fall as they pursue their college degrees.

“We are proud to support our nation’s students who demonstrate the qualities that make them leaders in their schools and communities,” said AFSA President Diann Woodard. “These are the students who help make our nation great, and we look forward to following their success in their college and professional careers.”

The scholarship recipients are:

  • Andres Bustamante, United Administrators of San Francisco, AFSA Local 3
  • Brad Ness, New Milford School Administrators Association, AFSA Local 90
  • Emily Pastor, Southgate Principals and Supervisor’s Association, AFSA Local 62
  • Alexandra Peluso, City Association of Supervisors and Administrators, AFSA Local 20
  • Christopher Sutton, Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association of Baltimore City, AFSA Local 25

Andres Bustamante

Andres Bustamante of San Francisco says that because of his interest in his heritage, history is his favorite subject. Six years ago, he embarked on a project retracing his family’s past, and since starting, he has built a family tree that dates back to 1667. When not working on his family tree, Bustamante plays baroque classical and world music on his marimba, a unique instrument he taught himself to play due to the lack of local instructors.

Bustamante stayed active in his community by working as a bilingual counselor at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. He also worked as an assistant teacher at a Spanish language summer camp. “Andres is an exceptional individual whom I am confident will continue to strive and succeed in any university environment,” said Meghan Mahoney, Bustamante’s math teacher. Bustamante will be attending Yale University in the fall.

Brad Ness

Another scholarship recipient is Brad Ness of New Milford, Conn. Because of his love for hands-on activities and interesting projects, Ness says science is his subject of choice. Working with animals, camping and being outdoors are his passions, and during high school Ness completed nearly 170 hours of volunteer work with the National Parks Service repairing bridges, taking care of plant life and building new trails. He plans to pursue a career that involves working closely with the environment and nature.

When not working outdoors, Ness played in his high school marching band. He started playing in the band in fourth grade and advanced to marching band when he reached high school. Additionally, Ness actively volunteered at United Way, Elliot Pratt Nature Center and Student Conservation Association and has held down a part-time job since his sophomore year. Ryan Fitzsimmons, Ness’s wrestling coach of two years, said his commitment to environmental issues is truly commendable and his dedication both inside and outside of the classroom is hard to match. Ness will be attending either Green Mountain College, Juniata College or Paul Smith’s College this fall.

Emily Pastor

Emily Pastor of Southgate, Mich., is another AFSA scholarship winner; she says her interest in math has led her to pursue a degree in the field of actuarial sciences. Pastor says math is stimulating and stabilizing, and she enjoys the challenge it presents her. Besides excelling in math, Pastor was the president of her class congress three years in a row. “Emily is extremely organized, assertive, competent and has an excellent rapport with both staff and students,” said Amanda Herrick-Kujat, Pastor’s English teacher.

In fourth grade, Pastor and her father started the Chormann Volleyball Club with the intent to engage youth in aerobic activities. Among other accomplishments, Pastor played on the varsity golf team, participated in Key Club and D.E.C.A., and is a member of the National Honors Society. Pastor is planning to attend Wayne State University in the fall.

Alexandra Peluso

Math can be challenging for some, but to Alexandra Peluso of Cresskill, N.J., math comes as second nature. Peluso says she enjoys solving math problems, and because of her love for math she spent her time tutoring students in algebra throughout her high school career.

Math was not the only thing Peluso excelled in. She was very active in high school as a three-sport athlete on the varsity softball, soccer and basketball teams. Additionally, Peluso was a member of various clubs, including a recycling club called S.A.V.E., the Spanish club and the Help the Hungry club. She also was a member of the National Honor Society. According to guidance counselor Michelle Hicks, Peluso “encompasses all of the qualities of a highly academic student who dedicates herself to each activity in which she is involved and sets and example for others to follow.” At the time of publication, Peluso had not made her final selection of a college.

Christopher Sutton

Christopher Sutton of Baltimore developed an interest in science from his mother, who, before becoming an assistant principal, was a biology, chemistry and anatomy teacher. Engineering also fascinates Sutton, and his internship with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, along with the Engineering Innovations program at John Hopkins University, only fueled his passions. As a result of his studies, Sutton says he wants to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering with the possibility of attending medical school.

Besides earning a near-perfect GPA, Sutton actively participated in his school and community. Sutton played multiple instruments in various school bands for eight years and volunteered with the OrchKids Program put on by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Sutton found his passion for traveling during his trips to China, Australia and New Zealand while volunteering with the People to People Student Ambassador Program. Sutton also tutored peers in the National Honor Society and volunteered with his school’s food drive. His mentor at Northrop Grumman said Sutton demonstrated some of the most impressive raw engineering talent he has seen in his eight years of mentoring. Sutton plans to attend Georgia Tech this fall.

These five young adults have an enormous amount of talent and determination, and have demonstrated sincere dedication to give back to the communities in which they live. AFSA is proud to support these five young adults who have exemplified what it means to be a leader, and AFSA looks forward to supporting more scholarship students.