Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship awarded to 9 WOHS seniors

WEST ORANGE, NJ — When Donald and Lisa Shauger founded the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship with the West Orange Scholarship Fund in 2014, they dreamed it would both make a difference in the lives of West Orange youth and continue to honor the memory of their friend, former West Orange Police Officer Timothy Groves.

Four years and 25 scholarship recipients later, they have accomplished both.

On June 7, at West Orange High School’s Senior Awards Night, the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship was awarded to nine more graduating seniors: Gabriela Cupo, Michael Gordon, Jennifer Guevara, Hillary Lemus, Pearl Louie, Johana Miranda, Giordana Parsons, Karen Rivers and Christopher Walker. As industrious, community-oriented individuals, many of whom aspire to pursue careers in criminal justice or law enforcement, this year’s scholarship recipients have carried on the legacy of Groves, who sacrificed every day to protect West Orange. Groves served his hometown for many years before he lost his battle with cancer in 2013.

In total, the nine 2018 Groves Memorial Scholarship recipients received $10,500 in scholarship funds. Several of the Groves Memorial Scholars also received additional scholarships, including the West Orange High School Principal’s Scholarship and the Michele & Lucia Russo Italian Language Award. The seniors graduated June 21.

To be eligible for a WOSF scholarship, candidates must submit a written application; as the final list of recipients is determined, consideration is given to financial need, academic performance, extracurricular involvement and commitment to community service. For the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, specifically, special consideration is granted to students who exhibit commitment and dedication to various charities, organizations and volunteer opportunities — just as Groves did during his lifetime — regardless of their intended career path. Although future career plans in law enforcement or criminal justice are not required criteria for a Groves Memorial Scholar, it is particularly meaningful when recipients share Groves’ passion for law and justice.

Since the creation of the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship in 2014, the Shaugers have hosted a couple of fundraiser dinners in order to raise funds for the scholarship. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events have gone to the scholarship. The Shaugers donate frequently to the fund themselves, as well as encourage others to do the same.

“No matter how many years go by, Lisa and I are still just as excited to learn the names of the scholarship recipients for that year,” Donald Shauger said. “It brings us so much joy to know the scholarship is making an impact on these kids’ lives — and it would have brought Timmy much joy, too.”

“This year’s scholarship recipients were an extraordinary group of individuals,” Lisa Shauger said. “With their dedication to community service and their long-term interest in careers related to law enforcement, they truly embodied many of the same principles and values that Timmy Groves stood for. These students are committed to making the community a better place, and Timmy would have been proud knowing these impressive young adults earned a scholarship in his name.”

Tireless in his efforts to give back to the community, Groves was heavily involved with service and outreach projects in West Orange and the surrounding area. As a mentor to children in West Orange, and as the youth coordinator of the West Orange Police Department, Groves dedicated himself to helping local youth. He was also a regular Special Olympics volunteer and even was chosen to run the torch into the arena for the Special Olympics State Games one year.

Groves earned many accolades for his contributions to the West Orange area. During his lifetime, Groves was presented with several awards, including West Orange Police Officer of the Year, West Orange Elks Citizen of the Year, Elks Distinguished Citizen Award for outstanding meritorious service to humanity, 200 Club Valor Award for outstanding action in the line of duty, and the Essex County Valor A Award.

Text provided by Alexandra Gakos