AJP Awards the Karen Hessney Scholarship

The Association of Jamestown Paraprofessional recently awarded its annual Karen Hessney Scholarship to JHS 2015 graduate, Adam Phillips. The $1,000 scholarship honors the memory of AJP member Karen Hessney, who passed away from cancer, and is awarded to an outstanding student based on a written essay. The AJP contributes $500 to the scholarship and Karen’s husband, Paul Hessney, donates $500. Each year, the committee selects a theme based on Mrs. Hessney’s legacy. This year’s theme was what adversity the student might have faced and how he or she overcame it. 

“The AJP scholarship in Karen’s memory is especially meaningful to our family,” said Mr. Hessney. “When Karen passed away in March of 2014, the tributes to her life and work poured in. All were very gratifying. In particular, the JTA and JESPA units dedicated permanent memorials to Karen, both of which are found at NYSUT headquarters in Jamestown. But the AJP award, which Val Hagglund conceived and brought to fruition, has undoubtedly been the most successful at keeping Karen’s legacy of compassionate service alive. The scholarship is reflective of Karen’s dedication, her empathy, and her commitment to education. It also mirrors the same values in Val, who has been a remarkable leader for this unit for many years When the committee chose Adam as this year’s recipient, we were struck by the parallels between Adam’s mother’s adversity and Karen’s. His essay was beautifully written. All of us were happy and pleased that we chose such a deserving candidate.”

Adam Phillips currently attends Jamestown Community College and is the son of AnnMarie and Wayne Phillips. He was a high-honor student throughout his school years from elementary to Jamestown High School and into his first year of college.  Adam worked very hard while balancing many extracurricular activities while pursuing his education including: soccer, baseball, Infinity Performing Arts, Honor Society, football, basketball, floor hockey and golf.

“We are so appreciative that the AJP chose Adam to receive their scholarship this year,” said Mrs. Phillips. “Adam was accepted into many prestigious colleges but due to my diagnosis of cancer last year, and the rising Medical costs, we had to change our plans for Adam going to college at one of these schools. At JCC, he participates in the Honors Program, joined the Rock Band, and is a member of the Phi-Theta Kappa Honor Society. This scholarship will help Adam by providing the monies necessary to purchase books for the next semester.  We feel truly blessed of having been chosen to receive this wonderful award. Thank you to Mr. Hessney and the AJP who have contributed to make our dreams come true.”

The Association of Jamestown Paraprofessionals is an active member of NYSUT and is represented by a Labor Relations Specialist based out of the Jamestown Office on West Oak Hill Road. Karen’s passing left a huge hole in the hearts of all who knew her; from her “running late,” to her fabulous sense of humor, to her love of her support staff, people are reminded, time and time again, of her as they may say “imagine what Karen would do or say.” 

“Mrs. Hessney faced adversity daily in her job as well as her personal life with cancer continuing to nip at her heels,” said AJP member Val Hagglund. “ She faced this adversity with a positive spirit, a strong constitution as well as unbelievable humor.  We want to honor this through a student scholarship and are happy to present it to Adam this year. The committee unanimously chose Adam, the son of one of our long time members, AnnMarie Phillips.  We are so pleased to have a winner selected who too has shown strength and a positive spirit as he faced adversity in his life.”

The Karen Hessney Scholarship Committee consists of: Vesna Carlson, Paul Hessney, and Val Terrill.

posted on 06/17/2016 - filed under: Academics, Community, Spotlight, Staff