Benjamin Milak Memorial
What is this Scholarship all about?»
History of the Scholarship»
Scholarship criteria and qualifications»
Download an application with instructions»
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A SPECIAL YOUNG MAN
What is this scholarship all about?
It's about remembering and honoring the memory of a
remarkable young man who left this world far too early.
On August 26, 1991, at the age of 16,
Benjamin Milak was diagnosed
with leukemia. In October, after two courses of chemotherapy, Ben was declared to be in remission. However, a routine bone
marrow test in January 1992 showed that he had suffered a relapse.
Ben underwent several months of
additional treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. His doctors were not
successful in getting Ben back into remission. Ben lost his courageous battle
with leukemia on August 15, 1992.
Ben was an active, outgoing young man. As
a Boy Scout, he attained the rank of Life Scout. Before his illness he enjoyed biking, camping, and looked forward to
skiing. He was a member of his high school's track team and stage crew.
Throughout his young life Ben aspired to someday work
in the field of communication or entertainment.
During his education
he received assistance from the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational
Services (BOCES) Hearing Support Services staff for his hearing loss. Despite
his hearing and his illness, Ben was a successful student and completed his
sophomore year of high school at Kenmore East Senior High School.
An active member of First Trinity
Lutheran Church in Tonawanda, Ben traveled with his youth group to a national
conference held in New Orleans several weeks before his death.
Ben's friendliness, spirit, and faith was
an inspiration to family, friends, teachers, medical staff, and all others
who knew him throughout his illness. He always maintained a sense of optimism
about his recovery. He was truly both a fighter and a believer in life.
This Scholarship was
established after Ben's death to honor his memory and the attributes
he displayed during his life.
HISTORY OF THE
The idea for the
Benjamin Milak Scholarship was conceived in 1993 by
several of Ben's former teachers at Erie 1 BOCES, including Beverly Herstek, Mark and Sydney Sterling teachers of the hearing
impaired, and Mary Vecchio an audiologist.
When approached about the possibility of establishing a scholarship in her
son's name, his mom, Mary Ann Milak-Young, offered
immediate support. A fund was established through
the Community Foundation (formally the Buffalo Foundation) and the first
scholarships were awarded in June of 1994, the year Ben would have graduated
from high school. To date, numerous scholarships have been
awarded, with at least one scholarship awarded for each year since
1994. A scholarship selection committee composed of five voting member and
Ben's mother select annual recipients. The committee typically awards
scholarships between $1000-$1500.
SCHOLARSHIP CRITERIA AND
Well rounded students wishing to apply
for this scholarship must:
•Be impacted by a learning disability, hearing impairment or cancer.
•Be graduating in this current school year.
•Have applied to a post-secondary educational program.
•Possess a realistic career goal, one which they are
capable of achieving.
•Be community minded.
•Have a respect for the natural world.
•Possess a keen sense of humor, honesty and optimism.
Candidates who qualify must:
•Complete an application and submit it with a copy of an official high school
transcript by February 1.
•Attend a high school in Erie or Niagara County.
•Write an brief essay describing how they feel they
meet the above criteria.
•Present two letters of recommendation from non-family members. One letter must be from a teacher or
guidance counselor familiar with their academic and social achievements.
Download the application, instructions and scholarship criteria below:
Click here to download the application
in (*.pdf): Application.pdf
the application and submit it with a copy of an official high school
transcript by February 1 and email
to email@example.com. Please see
application for detailed qualifications and instructions.
If you have any questions please e-mail mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Question from
Milak Scholarship Web Site
I had my choice between a moon walk and the life of a single child who had
leukemia, I would never look upward."
James T. Grace, Jr. MD
Director, Roswell Park Cancer Institute