Martin Scharf presented the seventh annual Gallo Blue Chip Scholarships, named in honor of his great pacer, to Kayla Prentice and Michelle Galligan on Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Prentice earned a $15,000 award while Galligan received a $5,000 college stipend. Scharf's Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship educational grants have now exceeded $135,000.
Prentice attends Syracuse University, where she studies health and exercise science. She is the daughter of Jessica and Howard Okusko Jr. She is an Honors Graduate of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, where she captained the track and cross country squads. Kayla has a wide-ranging record of community service including work on Relay For Life and volunteering with the K9 of Central New York Rescue. She also has experience working with Standardbreds, often paddocking horses in the family's stable.
Galligan is studying equine science at New Jersey's Centenary College. Michelle also has experience riding and she has shadowed equine vets on their rounds and through surgeries. She graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma from Pt. Jervis High School in June and spent her senior year taking several college level courses. She has spent part of the last four years working with the Mark Ford Stable, and through that relationship actually worked hands-on with the great pacer in whose honor the scholarship is named.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501©3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs and creation and distribution of educational materials.
For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to http://www.hhyf.org/.