The Pay It Forward Scholarship will be awarded to two motivated seniors from both Smithtown High School West and East. These students have must show major potential and improvement through adversity. As well as a strong desire for a second chance at a brighter future, by continuing their education at a two-year or four-year college, vocational or technical school. Our intention is to challenge our students to one day be in the position to pay it forward in a meaningful way in their life time after they find success in the real world through their education and their unique life experiences.


  • Major potential and improvement through adversity.
  • A strong desire for pursuing higher education.
  • Intention of paying it forward in the future.

Student Requirements:
The applicant should possess a minimum GPA of 2.75
Show proof of applying to a 2 year, 4 year college or vocational college.
Two letters of recommendation

More information about the details of this scholarship can be found on the application page

This is a Smithtown Children's Foundation scholarship and a Farmingdale State College Senior Project for 2016-2017. 


1. Question: How did you get the idea for the Pay it Forward scholarship?

I knew I wanted to do something different for my senior project for Farmingdale State College. I believe if I could find one student to pass the beacon on to a scholarship would be the right way of showing support and encouragement. I thought if I was going to put so much effort and time to a campaign; I might as well make it real and that community can benefit from. Also, I have been trying to pay back and fulfill the wishes of the Smithtown Children's Foundation, Farmingdale State College, and the Long Island community since they started helping throughout the years. Thanks to the Smithtown Children's Foundation I am in the position pay back kindness with what I have learned over the years. You can read about my story below and Part 2 of Q&A if you wish to learn more.


2. Question: You mention Kaylee’s mother, and that she inspired you to “pay it forward.”  Please expand on that.

It all started a few years ago with the sweetest mother of local kindergartner. Her daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. This little girl passed away way too soon. That mother and the foundation gave me a life changing scholarship, my courage award, and even donated a car to me a year later with driving lessons. I asked for how I can pay back her kindness of  my $500 courage scholarship/award. Kaylee's mother challenged that night with her response of, “Sweetie, all you have to do is pay it forward.” Since then, I am trying to pay back the kindness and fulfill the wishes of the Smithtown Children's Foundation, Farmingdale State College, and the Long Island community that I have helped me throughout the years of high school and college. My scholarship/award, which was a simple piece of paper and a check, gave me such heart, confidence, and motivation to keep challenging myself though hardship. I was really touched by the actions a full room of strangers that event night.


MY Story

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I was an considered, "at risk student."  
You may be thinking what does that mean.



there alway is a silver lining. Plus, help from many people at The Smithtown Children's Foundation, Smithtown High Schools, and Farmingdale State College.



Part 2 - Q&A

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3. Question: What was the process for getting the school to recognize it?  Was there immediate support?

First of all, a big thank you and shout out to the Children's Foundation for supporting me and this cause. After going through the right channels like them and speaking to mostly everyone who is involved in this process, it has been somewhat of smooth cause. Everyone who has helped me out with this project knew how serious I am about my education and work. I am really cautious about getting people involved, asking for help, and trusting the right people; that have had experiences with matters like marketing, fundraising and non-profit work. I always try to have a back up plan and a way to make sure I can pull through on what I say. After many years of creating a bond with certain people, I’ve been able to prove to them I can handle the responsibilities of a scholarship, school, money and partnering with them without much hassle. I want to try to make this enjoyable learning experience for everyone involved. 

4. Question: You say that the Smithtown community supported you?  Please explain.

Since I was considered an emancipated minor by the state when I was in high school; I have been very lucky to have my Smithtown and local Island community take notice to a young person in need. If it was not for the kindness of strangers and friends my life could have turned out very different. My life turned around once I had a support system in place and people to go to in the community. Once, I started making steps, to show people how serious I was about, “changing the cards I was dealt with” others took noticed and showed me what it was like to feel motivated and see potential in myself and others. Since then, others from the college and Farmingdale have been making an impact and influencing my life to keep moving forward and help others.

5. Question: How did you develop the criteria?

The overall design and criteria was based off interviews with about 50 in-depth interview community and my own personal experience. Unlike other scholarships there had make sure to make mine stand out and within my own abilities reflect the needs of the community. I wanted to try to do this as a community cause so that both the student and community can know that there is a support system out there. As well show that there is overwhelming positive support system for students in this town. By basing my criteria off other Smithtown Children's Foundation Scholarships and some of the current scholarships out there I was able to calculate what I needed to include to put my scholarship out there. 

6. Question: What are the main points of your scholarship besides paying it forward?
A. Support student that are low income or fall between the gap of low income and high income; because higher education is important and so is finding a way to pay for it.
B. Educate students of different higher education avenues because blue collar and white collar jobs are very vital to the growth and to continue comforts we have here on Long Island.
C. Encourage students to pay it forward, create a social change and give themselves a second chance at a brighter future by pursuing higher education.

7. Question: Describe your plans to raise the $1,000 needed for two scholarships.  What events will be held this spring?

Our current goal is to raise a $1000 by the end of Farmingdale State College’s Spring semester. You can donate in person to our fancy jar fund, our Fundraising Events, Farmigndale State College, or any of the Smithtown Children's Foundation Events. Details about our first Pay It Forward Paint Night with a Gift Basket Auction is posted online. Online Donations are always open on PayPal.

8. Question: Is this a one-time event or will this be part of your life going forward?

As of right now, this is a one-time event. The Smithtown Children's Foundation did mention if the campaign was successful and if that there is enough money raised to fulfill another year of scholarships they might re-run this campaign.

9. Question: Why did you choose to focus on design and brand when making this scholarship?

Since this scholarship is also Visual Commutations Senior Project the overall brand and design of the Pay It Forward scholarship had to be fully thought out and planned. To be able to speak to our potential students and people who will are willing to donate this scholarship had to be attention grabbing. The tiny details a mascot, graphic choices like a town, and other criteria like a carefully chosen. The font, color, logo and design content was also a main focus with this design. Normally, scholarships have a huge voice but no one takes time to make it visually plan the brand. Our goal for the Pay It Forward Scholarship is for it to have as much positive impact and the voice as the community that we are trying to support and reach.

10. Question: Any additional comments?

Thank you to Peter F. Crescenti, the Media Relations Manager at Farmingdale State College for his assistance for composing these interview questions for me and the Pay It Forward Scholarship.