Scholar Athlete Who Knows The True Meaning of Community

Deborah L. Lombardo Education Assistance Award

The Deborah L. Lombardo Education Assistance Award was established in Deborah’s memory by Harry Burr, her employer. Deborah was an account manager for Harry with his agency, Brown & Brown Insurance of Connecticut, dba McCutcheon Burr & Sons. To honor Deborah, Harry gives an annual award to a Portland High School Graduating senior pursuing a two or four year degree or advanced technical training. His devotion to honoring Deborah is rewarded with this year’s recipient, Emma Fantoli. Emma exemplifies “CARING” in capital letters. She cares; she excels; she’s driven; and we will all benefit from her amazing skills.

Emma Fantoli is a tireless, young volunteer who is a mentor to children, scholar athlete, aspiring emergency nurse, and this year’s deserving recipient of the Deborah L. Lombardo Education Assistance Award. The Portland High School graduate is attending Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in the fall to study nursing. At the age of 18, Emma knows that “giving back and helping others” is exactly what she wants to spend her life doing, something she learned from volunteering as a coach for the Portland Park and Recreation Department.  Emma says “it’s not just about basketball… through the sport of basketball – confidence, leadership and teamwork are learned… the fullfillment that comes from the smiles and hugs is priceless.” In addition, Emma volunteers at Middlesex Hospital,  has a part time job at a farm stand and helped organize her school prom. This, on top of being  a “stand-out student” according to her teachers. Dana Rizzo, her Portland High School Biology teacher, says Emma’s “work ethic, passion and pride led her to receiving the math award in 2014… and honor roll for 11 academic quarters!” During her four years at PHS, Emma was on the basketball, softball and cross country teams.

During her senior year at Wilkes, Emma will get an opportunity to shadow a flight nurse for an internship – a job she hopes to achieve after receiving her master’s degree.




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