The Northern Westchester Examiner

Three High School Seniors to be Honored by Justin Veatch Fund

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June 18 Justin Award PixThe Justin Veatch Fund will be honoring two seniors from Yorktown High School and one from Walter Panas High School this week with scholarship awards.

Mark McIntyre and John Venezia from Yorktown and Virginia Croft from Panas will each receive a special plaque and $1,000 checks at John C. Hart Library in Shrub Oak. A special community service award will also be presented to Helena Rodriguez, who is retiring as president of the Yorktown Teen Center.

McIntyre and Venezia were recognized last week at YorktownHigh School’s Senior Award Night and their awards were dedicated to the memory of Graham “Gray” Keenan III, a Yorktown graduate and good friend of Justin Veatch who died last summer in a car accident at the age of 21. Veatch, a talented singer/songwriter/musician, died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008 at 17.

The Justin Veatch Fund was created after his death to provide a variety of music programs directed at area teens including an annual two-day summer music workshop that brings talented teens in contact with successful professionals in the music industry. Veatch’s father Jeffrey, the president of the Fund, has also gone on the road with “A Message from Justin,” a 40-minute multi-media program that tells Justin’s story and inspires teens to take better care of themselves and their friends.

“It’s an incredible honor to get this award,” said McIntyre, who will attend NYU’s SteinhardtSchool in the fall, pursuing jazz guitar performance and composition. “I feel an enormous gratitude toward The Justin Veatch Fund, not just from this award, but also for all they have done for me in the past. I hope I can return the favor by spreading their message however I can.”

Venezia will be attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, focusing on instrumental performance, while Croft, who has been playing the violin the last 13 years, will study music therapy at SUNY Fredonia.

“I can’t wait to put the scholarship towards my degree in music therapy so I can help other people overcome obstacles via music,” Croft said.


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