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The Jenelle Amedeo Berry and Christina McKenzie Berry Memorial Scholarship
Established in 1997, this scholarship honors the memory of Jenelle Amedeo Berry, whose lifelong dream was to make a difference in children's lives through her passion for teaching. It also honors the memory of Jenelle's four-year-old daughter, Christina McKenzie Berry, whose profound personality and knowledge beyond her years mirrored that of a mother whose talent for teaching and loving children showed in her daughter's character. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist a young person with that passion for "making a difference" to realize his or her dream of becoming a teacher.
This scholarship will be awarded to a graduate of JCC who is transferring to an upper level institution to pursue a degree in education. Preference will be given to a student transferring to SUNY Oswego. Applicants will be required to write an essay describing why they are pursuing careers in education and what they hope to accomplish as teachers. Academic achievement and a passion for and evidence of commitment to the field are important criteria to be met.
Jenelle Amedeo Berry was born on December 19, 1974. She graduated from South Jefferson High School in 1993, JCC in 1994, and SUNY Oswego in 1996. As a high school student, Jenelle was involved in Cheerleading, Soccer, Spanish Club, Future Teachers, and Project Charlie (a program that involved interaction with younger students regarding such subjects as sex, drugs, and domestic problems). Jenelle remained involved in projects which involved young people throughout her college years and was honored when she was accepted into the Teacher's International Honor Sorority at SUNY Oswego. She student taught at Pulaski and General Brown.
Jenelle was a compassionate and caring person. Her smile would light up even the darkest of rooms and her laughter filled many hearts. Jenelle had a love and passion for children that far surpassed even her own realization of such a gift. She saw the beauty in them, the individual hues within the colors of each child. She genuinely desired to not only teach them, but to actually make a difference in their attitudes toward themselves, and their lives. One of her once troubled eighth grade General Brown students stated the following:
Mrs. Berry was the one teacher I will always remember. She really cared about me and she changed my life. She made me feel like I was worth something. I am going to do the best I can now and make a difference for someone else's life like she did for me.
Christina McKenzie Berry was Jenelle's four-year-old daughter. She was brilliant in her spelling and math skills and had already mastered what most six-year-olds couldn't begin to process. Her personality was vibrant and the intelligence of her conversations was so out of character for a four-year-old that they would render one mesmerized with a comical interpretation which was all her own. She was known as "Steenie" to family members and preferred to be called as such.
Jenelle married Christopher Berry, purchased a home and settled in Rodman. Christina was born on February 21, 1993, and they were expecting their second child in January of 1998.
Jenelle was employed at the Dutch Hill Day Care Center in Adams Center and had been hired by St. Peter's School in Lowville, New York as a first grade teacher, where she was scheduled to begin her professional teaching career in September of 1997.
Christina, Jenelle, and Jenelle's unborn child were tragically killed in a car accident on July 2, 1997.
Our hope for this scholarship is to not only memorialize two beautiful people, but to carry on Jenelle's legacy through the eyes and heart of a student whose passion for teaching children is as insurmountable as hers was.
The JCC Foundation is grateful to the Amedeo and Berry families for creating this scholarship.