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Counahan family awards student scholarship to Akron senior and Foodbank volunteer

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May 19, 2020

The Riley P. Counahan Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship for graduating seniors who volunteer their time at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, was recently awarded to Anthony Gorsuch of Akron.

Gorsuch is a student in Firestone High School’s International Baccalaureate program and plans to attend The Ohio State University in the fall. He began volunteering with the Foodbank in 2018 and has served nearly 30 hours sorting, inspecting and repacking donated food items that will eventually be served to local families struggling with hunger.

“I enjoy the atmosphere and sense of community at the Foodbank,” said Gorsuch. “Every time I leave from volunteering, I have a feeling of pride in my hometown and am thankful I am able to give back to this great city. The Foodbank changed my perception of volunteering from simply a high school requirement, to something I enjoy doing whether with my friends, family or by myself.”

In addition to his volunteer work at the Foodbank, Gorsuch is the captain of the varsity tennis and cross-country teams, a member of the National Honor Society and ski club, and a staff member for the school’s literary magazine.

“Anthony’s activities, along with his dedication to his academics, have helped him become a well-rounded individual,” said Jennifer Beaven, Gorsuch’s English teacher who provided a letter of recommendation on his behalf. “He is a kind, respectful and genuine person whose motivation to be successful and whose enthusiasm for life will take him far.”

This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded to a local student. It is funded by Chris and Michelle Counahan of Hudson, to honor the memory of their son Riley, who died two years ago at the age of 16. Riley was a devoted volunteer of the Foodbank, and the scholarship helps to promote volunteerism among area high school students. The Counahan family works closely with the Foodbank and high school guidance counselors to identify eligible high school seniors who have volunteered 20 or more hours.

“We started the scholarship to recognize graduating seniors for their kindness in a community in which Riley was an active volunteer,” said Riley’s mom, Michelle. “More importantly, it also gives us an opportunity to keep Riley’s giving spirit and kind nature alive while benefiting those in need through volunteerism.”

The scholarship is typically awarded at the Foodbank’s annual Volunteer Celebration in April, celebrating the student’s achievements and the generosity of the Counahans, but was canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Instead, the Counahans awarded the $3,200 scholarship at the Foodbank earlier this week.

“It is an honor to accept this scholarship and I am so thankful for the Counahan family and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank,” said Gorsuch. “It’s humbling to receive this award.”

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