Community News

Lions help students with college costs


For more than four decades, the Valley Stream Lions Club has been supporting students in their academic ventures by awarding scholarships to recent high school graduates.

This year, the organization selected two recipients, David Meltzer and Victoria Benoit. Both recently graduated from Central High School and will be starting college in the coming weeks.

Meltzer attended the scholarship dinner at Goldie’s Restaurant in Gibson on Aug. 7 where he was presented with a check for $1,000 by Lions Club President Jose Pastrana. Only a week earlier did Meltzer get a letter in the mail informing him that he would be receiving the award.

“I was surprised, excited,” he said. “It’s going to help pay for expenses at college.” That college will be Temple University in Philadelphia, where Meltzer’s older brother, Max, also is studying.

Meltzer said he chose Temple for its engineering program and because he was offered a good financial aid package. He will be enrolled in the honors program and hopes to play club sports, specifically baseball.

Baseball is one of the Meltzer’s true loves. He was on the varsity squad for the Eagles for two years, playing primarily second base. Meltzer has also been an assistant coach with the Valbrook summer baseball camp.

He was on Central’s varsity football squad for two years, played in the jazz ensemble, and was in the National, Math, Science, History, Language and Tri-M honor societies. As a member of SCORR, Central High School’s scholar athlete group, Meltzer and his peers led wellness workshops at District 30 elementary schools. They taught second-graders to eat right and exercise regularly.

An accomplished trumpeter, Meltzer has been playing taps at various Valley Stream Fire Department services for the past five years. He also played for the Central High School Alumni Association this past Memorial Day.

Benoit will be attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan to study forensic science. According to her scholarship application, she was in the National, French and Science honor societies, was a member of the school newspaper, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Mathletes and Culinary Club, was a tutor and peer mentor, and belonged to the track, tennis, fencing and lacrosse teams.

Meltzer was joined by his mother, Grace, and father, Arthur, at last week’s scholarship dinner. In addition to the check, he was presented with a certificate, a “Follow Your Dream” pin and a Lions Club pen, “So you can do all your homework,” Pastrana said.

Pastrana reminded Meltzer to challenge himself and achieve even greater successes.

Meltzer, whose early years of school were spent at Wheeler Avenue, said he is looking forward to being on his own for the first time. He said his school work will be his top priority at Temple.

He is grateful for the money from the Lions Club and said he was glad to learn a little bit about the organization, which focuses on community service. “I know they do a lot of charity work,” he said. “It’s nice what they do.”