Vandersall scholarship recipient Katie Riley with Huntington music teacher Jason Giachetti.

Katie Riley Captures Vandersall Scholarship

Vandersall scholarship recipient Katie Riley with Huntington music teacher Jason Giachetti.

July 24, 2019

Katie Riley closed out an incredible run through Huntington High School by capturing the highly coveted Jean Hoerner Vandersall Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a graduating senior who has excelled academically and musically.

Among the top members of Huntington’s Class of 2019, Ms. Riley left what is sure to be a lasting mark at the high school. She credits her success to possessing a “positive attitude, being open to new things and remaining focused” on her goals.

 Huntington High School senior Katie Riley.
Huntington High School senior Katie Riley.

Ms. Riley will be attending Quinnipiac University to prepare for a career as a physician assistant. She will graduate from Quinnipiac’s six year PA program with bachelor and master degrees in health science studies/physician assistant.

The $500 scholarship is funded by Scott and Amy Vandersall in memory of Mr. Vandersall’s mother, Jean Hoerner Vandersall, who passed away in 2008. She resided in Huntington for more than five decades.

Ms. Riley was the Blue Devil marching band’s drum major as a junior and senior, she has traveled internationally, won first place on Long Island and in New York State in the National History Day competition and participated in Natural Helpers, Relay For Life and the Interact, Grandfriends and Environmental Clubs.

President of Huntington High School’s senior band in 2018/19, Ms. Riley has played French horn since fourth grade. She was a member of the wind ensemble and pit orchestra for the past four years. She notched an impressive NYSSMA Level VI score of 97. She has been in the All-County band and All-County orchestra and been a regular participant in the Suffolk County Music Educators Association’s annual Day of Horn.

Huntington High School music teacher Jason Giachetti made the formal Vandersall scholarship presentation before a crowd of about 325 at senior academic awards night in the auditorium.

The scholarship criteria includes:

  • The student will be a graduating senior from Huntington High School who has excelled in both academics and music.
  • The student should plan to continue being involved in music performance in the future, but not necessarily major in music.
  • The award is not needs based.
  • The student applicants will write an essay which will be reviewed by the music staff. The Vandersall family will read the top essays and select the scholarship winner.
  • The topic of the essay will be: “What role has music played in your education in Huntington? What steps can be taken by your generation of musicians to keep music alive in the concert halls and schools in the future?”

Jean Hoerner Vandersall passed away on March 30, 2008. She was an accomplished pianist and a member of the Manhattan School of Music’s faculty. Mrs. Vandersall also maintained a very active teaching studio in Huntington and was an inspiration to her students. Mrs. Vandersall and her husband, Thornton sent three sons through the Huntington School District.

Scott and Amy Vandersall, reside in New England. Mr. Vandersall was a member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1977. He went on to earn a BA in economics at Colby College and an MBA with a concentration in financial services at Boston University. He is employed as vice president-regional manager at the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank.

Recipients of the Jean Hoerner Vandersall Scholarship

2012 Alicia Ortiz
2013 Kevin Solomowitz
2014 Benjamin Nikodem
2015 No award
2016 No award
2017 No award
2018 Jamie Rosenbauer
2019 Katherine Riley