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Cioppa wins Zarbo Scholarship

Mon, Jul 5th 2021 07:00 am

The Zachary R. Zarbo scholarship committee has chosen Ian Cioppa as the scholarship recipient for the Zachary R. Zarbo 2021 Spotlighters Memorial Scholarship award. 

This award is dedicated in the memory of Zachary Zarbo, who was involved in drama and choral studies at Grand Island High School. 

Cioppa had to write an essay, show community and faith involvement and be an active member of the drama club Spotlighters. 

He received $500 toward college tuition. He will be attending the State University of New York at Fredonia and is majoring in computer information systems and minoring in music. The committee congratulates Ian for winning this award.

Zachary Zarbo’s mother, Deborah, said this is the 16th year the scholarship has been awarded.

She explained the criteria for the recipient and how Cioppa was chosen as the winner.

“On the application, we looked for what he’s going to major in school – which is a big part for some of the people on the committee – something that’s going to hopefully be useful for a career,” she said.

“He’s minoring in music, which is great because Zachary loved music; and he’s a good student, which Zachary was a very good student, as well. He was a member of the Spotlighters – Zachary was Spotlighters vice president,” she said.

Ian Cioppa


Deborah Zarbo said Cioppa’s faith involvement was an important aspect of his selection for the award, which typically goes to a boy who is following a path similar to Zachary’s.

“His essay was very good and reflected what we were looking for. He just seemed like the right fit,” she said.

Remembering her son, Deborah Zarbo said, “He loved Grand Island High School, that’s for sure. He was involved and loved the musicals there. There were some great teachers … really good mentors to him.

“We have a plaque in the high school that we put the names of everyone who’s gotten (the scholarship).”

“We try to keep his memory alive by doing this every year,” she said. She added the $500 helps the recipient defray the costs of college.”

“We have a music scholarship that we give out, as well, to the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) camp,” she said, although it wasn’t given out this year because of the COVID pandemic.

The text of the scholarship application explains Zachary Zarbo passed away suddenly in his junior year (2004), from an undetected heart condition. He was an honors student and participated in many activities over his years. His academic honors included Certificate of Excellence for Academics, Academic Pin and two-time President’s Award of Academics.

In addition to being vice president of the Spotlighters Drama Club, his lifetime activities included chorus: concert, madrigal and jazz; NYSSA Choral Camp; Grand Island High School soccer; JV swim team; Piranha Swim Club; GIHS cross country; Grand Niagara Ice Hockey; Young Life and AWANA Bible Club.

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