United Way Announces Scholarship Recipient

Members News

The United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike awarded the Mike Munchak Community Service Scholarship to Vanessa Hodges, a 2023 graduate of Forest City Regional High School. The scholarship award was officially presented as part of the 27th Annual Mike Munchak Charity Golf Classic to benefit the United Way held at the Country Club of Scranton.  The sold-out golf tournament raised over $100,000 for United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike.  Over $1,500,000 have been raised during the 27 years of this golf outing.

“For the past 27 years it has been our honor to welcome Mike back home to Scranton, and we remain grateful to him for his unwavering commitment to the people of our community,” said Gary Drapek, President and CEO of the United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike.

The United Way established the Mike Munchak Community Service Scholarship to assist high school students from Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike Counties, who plan to continue their education in an accredited university, college, or trade school in a two or

four-year degree program. The amount of the one-time scholarship is $6,300 in honor of Mike’s #63, retired by the Houston Oilers in 1994.  Completing the scholarships 12th year of existence, a total amount of $75,600 in scholarship funds have been distributed to local graduates.

To be eligible, candidates must be volunteers in programs funded by the United Way of Lackawanna, Wayne & Pike, have a demonstrated commitment through community service activities and be full-time residents and/or students of a school district within Lackawanna, Wayne or Pike Counties. Additional requirements include a demonstrated financial need, academic achievement, agency recommendation and a track record of community service.

“Education is one of our pillars here at the United Way.  This scholarship is a prime example of how important a good education along with strong community involvement is in helping ensure Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike Counties continue to Live United.  Every year we are amazed at the amount of Hall-of-Fame caliber seniors who apply for this scholarship.  The future certainly remains bright here in NEPA,” added Drapek.

The 2023 scholarship recipient is Vanessa Hodges, a Forest City Regional High School graduate who will be attending Penn State Scranton to pursue a degree in Business.

Vanessa’s community service accomplishments include the American Red Cross Blood Drive, Feed a Friend Program, Toys for Tots, Steamtown Marathon, Teresa’s Angels and her senior project supporting the Annual Forest City Softball Parents Club. Additionally, Vanessa is a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council, the Yearbook Committee as well as an array of clubs and activities in which she is engaged. The Scholarship Committee noted Vanessa’s superior GPA as well as the leadership qualities she exhibited throughout her time at Forest City Regional.

“Funding essential programs throughout Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike Counties as well as running our own community outreach programs has led us into our 2nd Century of Service in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Continuously evolving each and every year has been the key to our success.  Like the mindset of a Hall-of-Fame Athlete, we set a goal every year and do everything in our power to achieve that goal, just like our homegrown football legend himself, Mike Munchak,” Drapek concluded.