Congratulations to Rebekah Boy, valedictorian of the East Rochester High School Class of 2018, on being awarded the Chamber of Commerce scholarship!
This $1,500 prize is presented annually to an ERHS senior who demonstrates strong leadership skills, an understanding of the geographic dynamics between ER’s residential and commercial districts, and a positive outlook on the economic advancement of ER as a thriving business community. Selection is also based on academic performance, extracurricular and community activities, two letters of recommendation, and, this year, an essay on “Re-branding ER’s Image for 2019.” (Rebekah’s essay is below.)
As part of her application, Rebekah also talked with Darryl Gronsky, owner of Estate Buyouts (on West Commercial Street), and Andrea Kelly, owner of Golden Thread Needlearts (Piano Works), about their views on ER as a place for their business and how they envision ER’s future, and had to provide her thoughts and opinions on their comments. “Finding out that the needleworking store in ER is the only one in the Rochester area was very surprising, “ she wrote. “It was also interesting to hear about the interconnectedness of restaurants and stores, which I’m sure goes both ways.”
Rebekah plans to major in brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester and pursue a career in scientific research. Throughout her years at ER she has been an active member of Masterminds, Science Olympiad, Foreign Language Club, Math League, National Honor Society, the after-school tutoring/support program, Art Club, Model United Nations, the Gagashoan yearbook, the student newspaper, and the University at Buffalo’s Bioinformatics program. She was also on the volleyball and track teams, served as class treasurer, and helped in the school library. Away from school she’s volunteered with the Pioneer Clubs at Perinton Community Church, and has knitted hats and mittens for donation to various local organizations.
“Rebekah has been in a class by herself as one of the most outstanding young women I’ve had the privilege to teach,” ERHS social studies teacher Bethany Larson wrote in her letter of recommendation. “In my 25 years in the classroom, I have never had a student as passionate about learning and as intellectually curious.
“One of the most positive things I can say about Rebekah is that with all of her talent and hard work, she has remained humble, caring, and likeable to both faculty and her classmates,” Ms. Larson added. “She’s a very grounded, pleasant, respectful, and kind young woman, with a positive attitude and a great deal of personal integrity.”
“Rebekah is one of the most intelligent and capable young women I have ever met,” school counselor Kerry McMillan wrote. “By her sophomore year she had taken and aced every math course our school offers. We had to make partnerships with another district to provide her an opportunity to continue her study in math.
“She sets great goals and makes extraordinary efforts to achieve them,” Ms. McMillan added. “I believe Rebekah desires to advance knowledge to enhance the lives of others, and by planning to study neuroscience, she’s found an arena in which she will truly be able to do just that.”
~ Rebekah's essay ~
Entry guidelines: You have been commissioned to design a Marketing Plan that outlines your vision of East Rochester as a shopping destination for 2019. Describe your target audience, and address ER’s business highlights/strengths – along with any untapped potential. Explain why people should visit and shop in ER (as opposed to, for example, Fairport or Pittsford). Discuss how you support local businesses by providing examples of your local shopping habits.
East Rochester is a fascinating place, full of history that few people other than the locals really know. I propose to bring attention to the shops and businesses here by highlighting the unique history of this small town, and celebrating its past, present, and future. A great way to do this would be to host a ‘Despatch Day’ festival, centered on the exciting things that have happened here in ER and drawing in visitors who will gain a better appreciation of this town’s history and a better look at many of the local businesses here.
One of ER’s strong points commercially has always been specialties. With multiple antique stores and specialty shops for crafts, hardware, music, and more, as well as distinctive diners and restaurants, the businesses in ER definitely fill many niches that are unique in the area. As an avid crafter, I personally visit many of the craft-supply stores in ER quite often, and marvel at the selection these stores have for their specialty goods. However, many of these fantastic places remain largely unknown outside of ER, even in nearby towns. A special event highlighting historic businesses in the area would not only spread news about these unique places, but also expose visitors to other local shops and restaurants in the area, allowing them to discover the value of these local businesses and be inspired to return to them.
The proposed festival would be designed to highlight the unique features of ER and its history as Despatch. Trolley tours would be a main attraction for the day, pointing out historic landmarks such as the Fryatt House, the Morgan School, the Piano Works, the water tower, and Penfield Station, as well as newer ones such as Leo’s Elite Bakery and Our CornER Diner – while providing interesting facts about each location and mentioning the ways some of them have been altered or repurposed over the years. Visitors would be encouraged to stop at the Eyer Building and the Piano Works to see displays and artifacts about the town of Despatch. Booths would also be set up in Edmund Lyon Park to promote local businesses, organizations, and vendors, while local bands play in the gazebo. The purpose of this festival would be primarily to showcase what ER has to offer, both in interesting history and in exciting shops and restaurants that are relevant today. The hope would be that people who live nearby would, through this event, learn about the many unique and specialized places to shop and eat here, and be inspired to take advantage of them more often.