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Kenmore Lions help local college students

KENMORE - The Kenmore Lions Club presented a Town of Tonawanda recent high school graduate with a check for $1,000 at a luncheon Aug. 6 for her winning entry in the organization’s 23rd annual Scholarship Essay Contest. The meeting took place at Olympic Restaurant at Sheridan Drive and Military Road in Tonawanda.

Nicole Sindoni, a Tonawanda resident and the daughter of Kathleen and Michael Sindoni, received the money for her essay entitled “My Appreciation for the Teaching Profession,” presented by Lion Donald A. Kossuth, the group’s scholarship chairman. Sindoni will attend Canisius College this semester as an incoming freshman.

The Lions also awarded $1,000 checks to previous winners Emma Schack, a student at St. John Fisher College, Chelsea Butkowski of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo, and Jessica Jolly, who attends SUNY Stony Brook. These current students won the contest the past three years the organization has held it.

According to secretary and publicity chairman Eileen Kirchgraber, the Lions’ contest requires all entrants to write on the same topic, and “24 or 25” high school students submitted their essays. She said in January of this year, guidance counselors at high schools including Kenmore East and West, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Mount St. Mary Academy, and Cardinal O’Hara were informed of the contest and gave the information to students.

Interested students were required to submit their essays by May 1, and a committee at the Lions Club reviewed the submissions and chose the winner. She said applicants were judged on how well their content related to the topic, as well as their writing abilities.

“We’ve been doing this for almost twenty years, and we’ve kept that same topic,” Kirchgraber said. “Every single person that we’ve given a scholarship to in the last twenty years has finished college, so we’re kind of happy about that. They’re good students.”

The Ken-Ton Lions Club has been in existence for 84 years, and will celebrate their 85th anniversary in May, Kirchgraber said.

Kirchgraber said Lions have engaged in services including collections of eyeglasses and hearing aids, as well as programs to assist people in other countries all over the world. She said the glasses generally go to people in other countries, and Lions have engaged in service in nations such as Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Kirchgraber said young people in co-ed groups, called the Venture Crew, range in age from 14 to 21 and work with the Boy Scouts of America. Many young people in this group were Boy Scout leaders, she said.

Kirchgraber added that the Lions work to provide financial assistance for groups such as Skating Athletes Bold at Heart (SABAH), horseback-riding programs for disabled individuals, and funds to provide guide dogs. They also assist post-prom parties at Kenmore West and give to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, which helps give children from lower-income families the chance to participate in YMCA activities.

The Ken-Ton Lions Club scholarships were made possible by “generous contributions to the Kenmore Lions Memorial Fund from civic-minded members of the Ken-Ton community,” Kirchgraber said in a press release. For more information about the Lions, please visit their website at or contact Kirchgraber at 812-1429.


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