The Fairfield County Sports Commission has announced the recipients of its 2020 Chelsea Cohen Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes a female scholar/athlete who is a graduating senior from Norwalk’s high schools with a financial award toward higher education.
Two winners were selected this year, with Norwalk High’s Giselle Vigil and Brien McMahon’s Jocelyn Lister each receiving a $3,000 grant as support for their college freshman year this fall. The $6,000 total amount is the most FCSC has awarded in the four-year history of the scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded to the candidate who best exemplifies the spirit and qualities of the late Chelsea Cohen, a graduate of Norwalk High who died after a long bout with cancer in 2006 and whose name is memorialized through FCSC’s annual Courage Award. Criteria for nomination includes academic honors, participation in one or more varsity level sports, community service and displaying high levels of sportsmanship, leadership and character. UnitedHealthcare sponsors the scholarship along with the Courage Award and Fitness Academy named for Cohen.
Started by FCSC in 2017, the scholarship went to two student/athletes, one each from McMahon (Bella Bean) and Norwalk High (Sarah St. Surin), who both received $2,500 grants. McMahon’s Savannah Buzzeo in 2018 and NHS’s Stephany Escalante in 2019 each were awarded $5,000.
“I am so incredibly proud that this scholarship not only keeps Chelsea’s spirit and memory alive, but continues to help female scholar-athletes achieve the high goals that Chelsea set for herself,” said Chelsea’s mother Barbara Rittner. “Jocelyn and Giselle clearly have the same ideals and the spark that set Chelsea apart. I am confident they both will carry on Chelsea’s name with honor and pride.”
Lister, who will be attending the University of Maryland, is a four-year high honors student with a 4.11 GPA and has been a National Honor Society member since 2018. She has received numerous accolades for her work in international education programs, including participating in the CIEE High School Summer Immersion in Shanghai in 2018. Lister also was Student Advisory Council class treasurer all four years at McMahon.
She was a senior captain for the girls’ soccer team and a two-year captain of the girls’ track program. She made the All-FCIAC first team as a member of the 4×100 relay team in 2018-19.
Lister has been a Circle of Friends Teen volunteer from 2015-20 and a member of the McMahon BKind Club for four years. Since age 13, she also has found time to be a certified youth soccer referee.
Vigil will be continuing her education at UConn. She was a high honor roll student for all of her semesters at NHS and had a 3.9 GPA. A member of the French National Honor Society, she received the school’s Distinguished Student Award in 2018.
She played soccer for the Lady Bears from 2017-19 and was the recipient of the Coach’s Award in 2018. Vigil was named a News 12 Scholar Athlete in 2019.
Vigil has dedicated time to community service through Norwalk High’s Key Club and buildOn Club, as a tutor for the Building One Community program and volunteering for Filling in the Blanks, which fights childhood hunger by providing meals to youngsters in need on weekends.