Receiving help to go to college can make a dream achievable. The Vecellio Family Foundation scholarships have done just that for high school seniors for more than 40 years, donating $3.2 million for scholarships since the program started in 1973.

The first scholarship was given to a student at Woodrow Wilson High School. 

"When seniors receive this scholarship, they are very excited." said Larry Ford, the distributor of the scholarships for the last two years. "The company gives back to those that live where the company got started."

The Vecellio Family Foundation and scholarships were organized by The Vecellio Group Inc., which has its roots in West Virginia as Vecellio & Grogan. Students who receive the scholarships can attend the school of their choice and must maintain the standards of the college. 

Eleven or 12 scholarships are awarded each year, based on GPA, community service, extracurricular activities and test scores. The scholarships are $10,000 for four years and each student uses $2,500 each year. 

"We have had 380 recipients since the program started. The Vecellio family created the foundation as a way to give back to the local community." said Mike Sullivan, assistant vice president of Finance for Vecellio. 

The Vecellio Group awards three of the scholarships to children of its employees; the remainder go to other high school students throughout West Virginia. 

The Vecellio Group Inc. is a fourth-generation family-owned and operated business that is based in Beckley. The company was founded when Enrico Vecellio started a masonry contracting business. Over the years the company grew and has been known for complete site development, bridge and road construction, drainage and utility structures, coal mining development and site reclamation.

The foundation also makes contributions annually to local and national charities.

"It's wonderful. The students are deserving and work very hard to earn this scholarship." said Frankielea Cappellari, coordinator of Counselors and Curriculum Specialist, adding that they are very thankful to the Vecellio Group. This year's scholarships have been distributed throughout high schools in West Virginia. 

This year's Raleigh County recipients were: Taylor Walker, Shady Spring High School; Kim Le, Derek Gilbert, and Matthew McGuire, Woodrow Wilson High School; Hannah Pioch, Liberty High School; and Heather Kiblinger, Independence High School.

— Email: rhinkle@register-herald.com

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