Joseph M. Laufer College Scholarship

Joseph M. Laufer College Scholarship

“Recognizing Outstanding Student Community Service”

Supported by:

The Haines Family Foundation, The Laufer Family and Volunteer Center of Burlington County


  • Must be a graduating senior, residing in Burlington County, and a graduating from a school in Burlington County.

  • Must demonstrate a commitment to community service, leadership and academic achievement (in order of priority).

  • Must be recommended by one school official and one non school community leader.

  • Letters of recommendation required from school official and non-school community leader.

  • Academic transcript required

2018 Award Recipients

Olivia Felicia, Holy Cross Academy - $5,000 

There is a certain openness about Olivia Felicia that we find both eye-opening and intriguing, as she conveys that the diseases of alcoholism and cancer have impacted her family and prompted her to engage in community service.  She worked with Delran Police to organize and found an annual day against drunk driving at Holy Cross Academy, which included a school-wide assembly on the hazards of driving under the influence.  She co-founded, organized, promoted, secured sponsors, and this year chaired a new Relay for Life Club in her school.  The latter raises money for cancer research while, at the same time, promoting cancer awareness, prevention and treatment.  Through Holy Cross’ Alternative Activities Club, Olivia has volunteered in other “outside” activities, including a soup kitchen in Camden.   Add to this her involvement in the school’s Special Olympics Club, the Salvation Army, and “Build Jake’s Place,” a 5K Run that raises funds to construct playgrounds for disabled children.  One of her teachers tells us that Olivia is one of the most selfless human beings she has ever encountered.  She adds to that, and I quote, “Her humility is heartwarming in a world where most people are looking for the limelight.  She allows everyone to shine when she should be the star.”  We are proud today to say that she is “the star.” 


Alona Crenshaw, Burlington Township High School - $5,000 

Let me start by telling you that the essay Alona Crenshaw submitted with her application says volumes about her character.  To quote just one line from that essay: “When I was in 9th grade, my friend took his life.  I decided to write a book on self-confidence because many children go through problems growing up.  But if children see the strength and love in themselves, they won’t resort to death.”  Alona personifies self-confidence, and it shows in every one of her personal pursuits.  She has received Girl Scout leadership awards for writing a confidence book of poems for young children, for creating a highly successful spelling bee for elementary students, for maintaining a pet care program and supporting the animal adoption shelter.  She has been involved in a multitude of other volunteer activities, including food pantries, nursing homes, sporting goods recycling, the Children’s Home of Mount Holly, the JFK Senior Center, and the Ronald McDonald House in Camden. This young woman already has received many awards and special recognitions for a variety of endeavors, including the National Black MBA Association’s Leaders of Tomorrow Competition in Dallas. Not surprising, she also won several New Jersey Orator awards.  I guess it is time we asked her to come up and speak.          


Abbey Salerno, Cinnaminson High School - $5,000 

There is one unique, undeniable characteristic to Abbey Salerno and her story, and that is the emotional impression it makes on all of us.  Abbey was 12 years old when her mother asked her to spend a day with her at a non-profit day care center for people suffering with Alzheimer’s.  That one day of service turned into six years of service.  In her essay, Abbey wrote, “Volunteering with elders with dementia allowed me to step out of my shell and force myself to engage with a group of people I never would have before.  I found a new sense of compassion in myself whenever I walked into the room. The only thing that matters is making these patients feel normal and comfortable, and most of all, happy.”  The CEO for The Tender, the day center where Abbey volunteers, says that Abbey “is still, by far, the best volunteer and staff person.”  There’s plenty more to Abbey’s well-rounded community service resume, including a strong dedication to the Interact service club sponsored by The Rotary.  She has run a fundraiser for the ARC of Burlington County, which tends to children with developmental disabilities, and organized a talent show to purchase shelter boxes for those displaced by catastrophic events.  Abbey also served as president of “Glamour Girls,” a high school club that offers cosmetic makeovers to women in nursing homes.  It is clear to us that Abbey’s enthusiasm and sensitivity to the needs of others will carry her far - and we’ll all be the better for it. 


Laura Boyajian of Lumberton - Home Schooled/Rowan College at Burlignton County  - $7,500 

As everyone knows, the Laufer Scholarship places high values on both community service and leadership.  Now I can’t stand here and tell you that Laura Boyajian has leadership potential - that’s because she has already met that potential, many times over.  Case in point:  when a classmate was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer, Laura organized a benefit concert to raise funds - in this case, $8,000 -- to help the family defray medical costs.   

She has organized programs for middle schoolers, taught children with disabilities to play soccer, spent countless volunteer hours in Camden neighborhoods, and organized supplies for Philippines hurricane relief.  She has volunteered in the NJ Superior Court’s Juvenile Conference Committee, which is charged with giving new direction to young offenders.  Finally, Laura has held leadership and teaching positions in the Junior State of America, a national civics organization.  One program director said, and I quote, that Laura “demonstrated a tremendous level of drive, determination, accountability, organization, and attention to detail that rivals that of professionals many years her senior.”  And just think - the best is yet to come. 


Caroline O’Rorke, Shawnee High School - $7,500 

There is no question that Caroline O’Rorke is consumed by community service and, underscores the importance of both “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”  When her siblings left for college she took over the job as coordinator for the multi-school March Against Hunger Food Drive and, according to the Food Bank of South Jersey, brought in nearly 7,200 pounds of food.  Caroline also has a special talent for raising funds, and has done so for the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Center, the PAWS Farm and the Burlington County Animal Shelter.  As a member of Today’s Dance Company she has performed at numerous charitable events, including those at Medford Leas, Medford Care Center and Voorhees Pediatric Center.  But again, she also “talks the talk,” urging others-especially young people -- to become involved in community service activities.  She has written a book entitled “It’s Great To Be A Volunteer,” which has been distributed to all the elementary schools in the area.  Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed; she has received the 2018 Lenape Regional District Volunteer Services Award, the Widener/NBC Leadership Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award (five times) and three Congressional commendations.  But today she is receiving the Joe Laufer Scholarship, and we are thrilled to present it to her. 




Joseph M. Laufer Scholarship Recipients:


Alexandra Bewley - Moorestown HS 

Nylah Crenshaw - Burlington Township HS

Chelsea Meyer - Bordentown Regional HS 

Sydne Nance - Rancocas Valley Regional HS 

Devin Trivedi - Moorestown HS


Eric Biehn - Shawnee HS

Miguel Gonzalez - Pemberton HS

Ryan Hoffman - Delran HS

Taylor Kane - Lenape HS

Kelly Li - Moorestown HS

 Miguel Gonzalez, Taylor Kane, Eric Biehn, Kelly Li, Ryan Hoffman



Charles Castillo - Seneca High School

Carolyn Bresnahan - Cinnaminson High School

Catherine O'Rorke -  Shawnee High School

Kacie Stettner - Bordentown Regional High School

Charles Castillo, Carolyn Bresnahan, Kacie Stettner, Catherine O'Rorke

Shaun Kenney -Rancocas Valley Regional High School

Corrine Walker - Willingboro High School

Abigaile Wiker - Shawnee High School

Kimberly Brown - Lenape High School

2014 award recipients Abigaile Wiker, Corrine Walker, Kimberly Brown and Shaun Kenney with Penny Laufer, Kristopher Laufer, Holly Haines - Haines Family Foundation and Kim Mattson - Volunteer Center President.(l. to r.) 2014 award recipients Abigaile Wiker, Corrine Walker, Kimberly Brown and Shaun Kenney with Penny Laufer, Kristopher Laufer, Holly Haines - Haines Family Foundation and Kim Mattson - Volunteer Center President.


Colleen Aydolette - Holy Cross High School

Matthew Delancy - Shawnee High School

Brenna Fallows - Moorestown High School

Brett Jacobs - Cherokee High School

Melissa McIntosh - Willingboro High School

Matthew O'Rorke - Shawnee High School

Brenna Fallows, Matthew Delancy, Joe Laufer, Colleen Aydolette, Melissa McIntosh, Matthew O'Rorke - Brett Jacobs not present.



Megan Brown - Lenape High School

Madison Tyler Little - Northern Burlington Co. Regional High School

Alexandra Nutaitis - Shawnee High School

Dahee Park - Cherokee High School

Greta van Weldhuisen - Northern Burlington Co. Regional High School

Jessica Wright - Seneca High School


Greta van Weldhuisen, Megan Brown, Alexandra Nutaitis, Jessica Wright, Holly Haines, Joe Laufer, Madison Tyler Little, Dahee Park



Brian Delancy - Shawnee High School

Brandon Pugh - Moorestown High School

Lauren Wood - Seneca High School

Joe Laufer, Brian Delancy, Brandon Pugh, Lauren Woods and Holly Haines


Tyler Brent - Rancocas Valley Regional High School


Tyler Brent and Joe Laufer



Jennifer Bhiro - Northern Burlington County Regional High School

Kim Mattson - Volunteer Center President, Joe Laufer & Jennifer Bhiro



In Memory of Joe Laufer

COMMENTARY: Reflections on a full, wonderful life: