For DonorsFor Applicants

John J Costonis Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 16, 2024
Winners Announced
May 16, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school or undergraduate

John J. Costonis was not given any handouts while attending college. Instead, he had to work very hard to support himself. 

Due to his hard work and dedication, he got good grades, which in turn helped him obtain scholarships to both Harvard and Columbia law schools. The Costonis family would like to honor the patriarch in their lives, by providing a scholarship to a student with similar values and work ethic. The John J. Costonis Scholarship will support a student who demonstrates exemplary work ethic, just as John continues to do in various areas of his life.

High school and undergraduate students are eligible to apply if they come from a low-income background and work hard at their schooling. To apply, write about your future goals, how you are working towards them, and the hardships you’ve faced on your educational journey.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 16, 2023
Essay Topic

What are your goals for the future, and what have you done to work towards accomplishing your goals? Explain the hardships you have experienced or will experience while pursuing a college education.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Rose Coomes
The Boston ConservatoryStreet, MD
I have loved music my entire life. Even at just eleven months old. Once, when my mom put on the classical music station in the car, she looked back to check on me, and to her surprise, I was dancing and banging my hands like I was playing an imaginary piano! I started playing my church piano when I was seven. Then my mother got me an electric keyboard, to which I promptly stuck numbered stickers and began to write short songs in numbered code. I only learned to read music when I turned 8 and had my first violin lesson. Apparently, a violin was cheaper than a grand piano. Regardless, I soon enjoyed playing violin even more than the piano. Within ten years, I went from studying the Suzuki method to performing Dvorak’s violin concerto. During those years, I was accepted by the Baltimore School for the Arts, an arts high school that included the study of music history, literature, and theory in its schedule. The curriculum also included publicly performing in the orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo recitals, and the chorus, and taking private lessons with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s violinist, Ivan Stefanovic. It was the pure joy I got out of rehearsing with my peers and performing works of music that hold such soul-moving beauty that made me realize I could not live happily without playing the violin. Every summer, I am invited to perform for several churches in my hometown. There was one Sunday when I remember asking God for a sign if the violin was the right career path for me. After I finished performing, the pastor mentioned my performance in his sermon. He explained that music is a gift that can provide the mental rest we all need. This confirmed my choice. My life's mission is to use my love of music to provide people with joy and rest through music. Performing for me is less about the technical aspects of my performance than it is about providing music that will emotionally move the audience in an engaging or restful way. Although I love the thrill of performing on a stage in a large concert hall, my most fulfilling performances have been for small audiences in my local churches or in a nursing home. It is there that I get to truly make a difference and provide an experience that is many times out of reach. Classical music is a genre that has been increasingly restricted to only those who can afford to attend. Even more so in the educational field, where many are forced to choose a more affordable educational path over their passion for music. I am now studying at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee with violinist and professor Lynn Chang. I plan to finish my Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, attend graduate school, and consider further postgraduate education. After my education, I intend to join an orchestra, form a chamber group, and join or create a program that will make classical music training accessible to young people. As the child of a single mother, I have faced struggles with affording such training: the cost of my instrument and its repairs, private lessons, summer programs, and now my college tuition. It is because I understand the extreme costs of classical training and my inspiration drawn from my hard-working and number-one fan, who is my mother, that I am driven to share classical music and its healing benefits. Especially for those who, like me, have struggled to access it.
Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
My life goal is to become a PreK-12 educator, assisting and teaching students looking to learn English as a second language. In addition, a closely connected goal that will assist my life goal is to become a polyglot, a catalyst for translating and helping students with their non-language subjects as they excel at learning to speak, read, and write English. While deaf and hard of hearing students can also benefit from an English as a second language teacher, implementing my ever-growing knowledge of Sign Language into my career will also be beneficial. For many children in the deaf community, English is not their first language, and American Sign Language (ASL) sentence structure differs from that of English. I would be able to teach ASL as a first language for students to read and write in English. ASL will allow me to communicate better with special needs students who rely on it as a form of communication. Finally, becoming certified in education can allow me to become an evaluator for homeschooled families that need end-of-school-year evaluations for their children. From age two, I studied American Sign Language (ASL) and Spanish at age four. In elementary, I developed a love for words (especially pronunciation and grammar) in addition to a fancy for languages. My siblings and I would watch cartoons in Dutch, Polish, German, and other foreign languages and enjoyed trying to figure out words from each language. For six years, from third to ninth grade, I took Latin at a homeschool coop, where I learned that many languages have roots in the old Latin language. The homeschool co-op I attended from age six to high school is where I now teach Beginning ASL to a diverse age range of students. I took a beginner's Japanese class at Community College of Philadelphia as well as ASL 102 and am looking to finish the College's final Spanish 202 class this Fall. Additionally, I began searching for different learning platforms that suited my learning style and studying Japanese and Spanish at my own pace. One of those platforms was the infamous Duolingo. Their learning program offered a person-to-person format allowing me to connect with other Japanese learners and natives looking to learn English. I also take advantage of the opportunity to engage with Spanish speakers in my community, learning the history and culture from friends and neighbors. My initial plan was to acquire an Associate's degree in American Sign Language interpreting and then transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's in a PreK-12 discipline. However, I had to change my plans. The department changed the curriculum, and graduating in two years became four. Although I love the ASL language and culture, four years at a two-year institution was a little too much. So, I changed my degree to liberal arts focusing on classes that will transfer toward Bachelor's degree at a four-year institution. As of this Fall, I will have graduated within one year as I was a dual-enrolled high school student and had already acquired 12 credits before dual enrollment. I still plan to graduate from a four-year institution with a PreK-12 degree in education and have not given up on my desire to learn ASL. As my passion is to communicate in several languages, I found online communities for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and ASL learners. The possibility of teaching and assisting deaf students is still obtainable. After graduating with my degree, I will obtain the National Interpreter Certification and take the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment.
Yas J
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 16, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 16, 2024.

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