Gabrielle McGovern of Massapequa Park was recently awarded a scholarship by the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF). McGovern received the scholarship in recognition of her exceptional leadership, community service and scholastic achievement. She was only one of 28 students from across the country to receive the award, which is based on a combination of academic merit and financial need. The recipients are all children of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
“My father and I are very close. My father loved being a member of the FDNY; it brought him a lot of joy,” said McGovern of her father, who was a member of the FDNY, and was disabled in the line of duty in June of 2012. “According to him, being a firefighter was the best job in the world. I’m very proud that my father was a firefighter and loved helping people. Not many people can say that they love their job, but he was able to.”
McGovern, a freshman at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, was extremely involved throughout high school. She participated in the Friar’s Golden Kids Carnival and was a member of the English Honor Society, the Foreign Language Honor Society, the National Honor Society, and the Religious Studies program with Office of Faith Formation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. She was also the yearbook editor, the student ambassador to Gatorade Week, co-president of the Sports Medicine Club and a member of the Help Our Planet’s Environment Club, United Cultures Club, Recycle Our Cans Club, Philosophy Club, Schola and the Sign Language Club.
In addition to holding part-time jobs and interning at East Northport Physical Therapy Center, McGovern is heavily involved in volunteering, working with Campus Ministry, Caring Adolescents Reaching the Elderly, Friars Faithful, Kolby Society, and PB & J Gang (making sandwiches for local food shelters). She is also a third-time recipient of Duns Scotus Academic Award.
“Although he would disagree, I always viewed my dad as a hero,” said McGovern. “Receiving this scholarship is an honor to him. The cost of college tuition is so high, and anything that lowers that cost greatly helps my family. I am very grateful to receive the scholarship.”
President and founder of NLEAFCF Al Kahn, said that first responders have given so much to defend and protect others, that it is only right to honor them.
“How better to honor their commitment to all of us than to ensure that their children achieve their full potential,” he said. “Helping to better pay for their college and complete their higher education is the least we can do to honor these law enforcement and firefighters’ families.”
Although McGovern is honored by the award, her teachers, friends and family members are not surprised as they described McGovern as a proactive, attentive and enthusiastic individual who is always striving for excellence. McGovern inspires those around her by showing deep care and concern for others, possessing a positive attitude, and being appreciative of individual differences.
“I hope to graduate college with honors and pursue a career in finance. I feel that my parents have provided me with great opportunities and the least I can do is get the best grades possible,” said McGovern of her future goals. “My experience at Trinity so far has been great. It was hard at first to get adjusted to college life, but now I am involved in a few student organizations and I’m having a great time.”