Congratulations to Amalia Bridson, East Rochester High School Class of 2019, on being awarded the Chamber of Commerce scholarship!
This $1,500 prize (which is funded by our Holiday Trail raffles) 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 2020." (Amalia's essay is below.)
As part of her application, she also made a short video promoting a hypothetical weekly TV show, 'A Unique 1-Square-Mile Town,' in which a different ER business would be featured every episode.
Amalia plans to attend Niagara University in the academic exploratory program, and pursue a career that involves working with children.
Throughout her years at ERHS Amalia has been an active member of ER Connect (to help and support Elementary students) and ER Crew (to guide and support incoming freshmen), the Gagashoan yearbook staff, and the University at Buffalo's Bioinformatics program. She has also served as a class officer, been elected to the Spirit Week Court twice, volunteered in Elementary classrooms and for Special Olympics, and given campus tours to new students. Away from school she's been a Salvation Army bell-ringer, worked as a counselor and kitchen staff member at Camp Stella Maris, and, dressed as Elsa from 'Frozen,' volunteered at area pre-schools and hospitals. Amalia's greatest passion since she was 3, however, is dance – she practices five times a week, has been in more than 20 local, regional, and national competitions and conventions over the past four years, and has earned several dance scholarships. She also served as assistant choreographer for the ER-based benefit 'Sing-Out' (of which she's a four-year veteran) as a junior and senior, and for this year's ERHS musical, 'Mamma Mia!'
"Amalia is an incredibly sweet, endearing young woman, who has immense potential," school counselor Kerry McMillan wrote in her letter of recommendation. "She's outstanding when it comes to giving her time and energy to worthy causes – and academically, she challenges herself and works hard.
"She's also been our guidance office's go-to volunteer," Mrs. McMillan added. "Whenever the Elementary school calls to request a High School mentor for a younger student, Amalia is our first choice."
"Amalia has always impressed me – and all her teachers – with her diligence, motivation, maturity, and determination," English teacher Lisa Cook wrote. "She's a very congenial young lady – pleasant and respectful to staff and students alike.
"She also seems to have a healthy sense of herself," added Mrs. Cook, who also choreographs the ERHS musicals. "Amalia is the sort of person who will not only stand up well to the rigors of life, but also genuinely flourish. She's devoted to her work and very capable. I know she'll do great things in life."
~ Amalia'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 2020. 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 an intriguing small community with lots of history. This town is very different from others. Most towns lack the historic concept and sense of close-knit family many people in ER share. Small towns and their shops all have their own unique values they bring to the town. Unfortunately, though, not everyone – especially those who don't live in ER – can experience the fascinating value of all these shops and businesses. The best way to attract more attention to our community and shops is to share all these amazing qualities with people from other communities. An efficient, effective way to do so would be to produce a weekly TV show called "A Unique 1-Square-Mile Town" that shares and educates everyone on all the unique historic aspects of ER and its shops by featuring interviews with different people each episode. ER business owners would get the chance to share their stories and promote their stores and the town. This will intrigue viewers and attract much more attention to our businesses.
Having a TV show is a great way to document the unique features East Rochester has to offer. Owners of some of the hidden craft stores would get a chance to showcase all their talent and unique skills. I've been able to visit a couple of these shops and see how much talent these crafters hold. They deserve a chance to share their specialties with everyone. Not only does ER house some magnificent antique and crafting shops, but it also has some of the most amazing food shops and restaurants. A TV show can highlight these delicious hotspots and the history behind them. Businesses like Ferrari Pizza Bar, Leo's Bakery & Deli, and Guacamole contain some of the most delightful foods and are considered the best not only in town, but outside as well. No other nearby towns have these elite food places. People come from all over the area to try Leo's famous bakery delights and Ferrari's delicious wood-fired pizza, and a TV show would attract even more attention to these places and encourage people to visit them. Eventually, more people would take advantage of the businesses ER has to offer and acknowledge all the value this tiny town holds. It may be only 1 square mile, but it's filled with astounding qualities that will soon have an impact on many people in and out of town.
(at left are Amalia and Chamber President Martin G. D'Ambrose; photo courtesy of the ERSD)