Two Bishop Ahr Students Awarded Marisa Tufaro Scholarship
Posted on 06/13/2019
The Marisa Tufaro Foundation was established to celebrate the life of Marisa by helping children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area. One of its initiatives is the Student-Athlete Scholarship, which is awarded to area high school Seniors who have excelled in the face of adversity. This year, two Bishop Ahr High School students have the honor of being awarded this scholarship.

Tristan Palyha was the first of the scholarship winners this year. He's a wrestler and a stellar student, graduating with a 4.62 grade point average after taking honors and AP courses while also being an avid guitar player, performer in several musicals and concerts and community servant who has helped veterans, cleaned up school grounds, served as a summer camp counselor’s assistant, and volunteered at a food bank. However, when his father died in April 2018, it was unclear if Tristan, whose responsibilities at home increased, would return to the wrestling mat. But return he did. “He came out for the team and was immediately a leader with his work ethic and practice habits,” Coach Nick Tonzola said. “He set an example to the younger guys how to practice, how to keep up with your studies, how to act in school and in public. His leadership was instrumental with the complete turnaround of our team."

Kevin O'Neil, "a modern-day Renaissance man" has been involved in athletics, performing arts, student government, and a member of multiple honor societies during his time at BGA. He graduated with an extensive record of volunteerism and a 4.25 GPA. This despite a series of injuries, including hip impingement syndrome, which required surgery, and spondylosis, which left him in a back brace, interrupting his baseball career. Nevertheless, he overcame these setbacks and was able to earn a Varsity letter as a Junior and Senior while getting involved in other BGA offerings. Coach Tommy D’Agostino said that O’Neil “embodies everything we as coaches preach” including bringing energy to the ballpark daily, putting forth outstanding effort and being a great teammate.

Tristan Palyha