Essex Catholic High School Foundation Scholarships provide financial support to students attending private (non-public) high schools, any undergraduate/graduate college/university or technical/trade school in the United States who are children or grandchildren or other descendants of ECHS alumni. The Foundation annually awards several competitive scholarships. The deadline for submitting an application to the Foundation Scholarship Committee is midnight, June 1, for the forthcoming academic year. Scholarships will be awarded by September 1. Application forms can be accessed below.

The contact person for scholarships is Foundation Scholarship Committee Chairman Roger Desiderio ’67rdesiderio@benditweinstock.com973-736-9800


The Essex Catholic High School Foundation has partnered with Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair since 2021, supporting its mission and providing financial assistance in the form of scholarship funds for students. We are striving to expand our reach and have recently learned that Immaculate Conception is currently looking for mentors to make a commitment to provide coaching and advice to many of its students through the Student/Partner Alliance.

Gary Vitale ’73 became our first mentor earlier this year. Mentors are provided with mentor training, mentor resources and support from the Student/Partner Alliance staff. Throughout the academic year, events are held to bring mentors and students together in a group setting.

For further information, please see the Student/Partner Alliance website at www.studentpartneralliance.org or contact Gary Vitale at gvitale417@mac.com. To become a mentor, please complete the Mentor Application Form, which can be found on their website.


It is with great satisfaction that the Essex Catholic High School Foundation awarded five scholarships to the following individuals in 2023:

Mackenzie S. Shannon, granddaughter of Michael Shannon64: $3,500, Henry Prata Memorial Scholarship to Clemson University
• Margaret McGovern, daughter of Sean McGovern ’84: $3,000 to University of South Carolina
• Tyler O’Keefe, son of Dennis O’Keefe ’73: $3,000 to University of Delaware.
• Kristen Reilly, daughter of William Reilly ’72: $3,000 to Rutgers University

• Gracie Vitkovsky, granddaughter of John Vitkovsky ’67: $3,000 to State University of New York – Oneata

The total amount of scholarships awarded since 2021, $43,500, could not have been possible without the generosity of those who support our Century Club. This generosity has put meaning and substance into the Scholarship Fund, and we look forward to ongoing support of a minimum $100 per year, which will continue to allow us to award meaningful scholarships on behalf of our beloved school. 


Given the limited resources available, the Foundation Scholarship Committee had, in recent years, been awarding $3,000 in scholarships annually. The Board of Trustees in 2021 set a goal of at least $10,000 annually, and authorized creation of the Century Club, the intent of which is to have at least 100 Essex Catholic alumni or family and friends donate a minimum of $100 per year exclusively for scholarships. All Board of Trustee members are committed to this goal and have signed on as Century Club members.

As of April 2024 we have raised close to $45,000.

In addition to the progress chart below, the Board of Trustees will, each year in the Alumni Dinner & Hall of Fame Induction Journal, recognize the names of Century Club members in appreciation for their donation. We ask that you consider committing to this project. All donations are tax-deductible, as the Foundation is a 501(c3) entity.

There is nothing better than helping educate a student. The easiest, fastest way to renew your commitment to the Century Club or become a new member is through the Support Our Foundation page on this website.

Alternatively, you can mail your donation check, payable to Essex Catholic High School Foundation Inc., to:

Ed Gibney ’75
Treasurer, Essex Catholic High School Foundation Inc.
302 Sylvania Avenue
Avon By The Sea, NJ 07717

Please be sure to designate your check as “Scholarship Fund.” The donation will be used exclusively for scholarships. If you’re an alumnus, please indicate your Class Year.

Thank you for your generosity! Remember, $100 times 100 donations equals our annual goal of $10,000. Please join or renew! MEMBERS WHO HAVE NOT YET RENEWED FOR 2022 OR 2023 CAN CATCH UP AND MAKE THEIR 2024 CONTRIBUTION WITH A DONATION OF $300 OR GREATER.

In Memoriam, Henry Prata ’63

The Foundation dedicates the scholarship program to the loving memory of Enrico A. “Henry” Prata, who died February 5, 2021. He was 75. Henry was born in Altavilla Irpina, Prov. di Avellino, Italy on July 22, 1945 and arrived in the U.S. at the age of 11, in 1956—having survived the wreck and sinking of the Italian Lines ocean liner SS Andrea Doria on July 25 of that year. He grew up in Newark, N.J., and graduated from Essex Catholic High School, Class of 1963. He continued his education at Rutgers University College of Arts and Science, Newark, earning a B.A. in Biology and then an M.A. in Science Teaching from Montclair State University. Henry taught biology at Essex Catholic from 1967-1971. He then worked for the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education as a biology teacher, supervised the Adult School Program, became the Director of Continuing Education, then the Supervisor of Secondary Education. He retired in 2006 after 36 years with the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education. Henry, as a Board of Trustees member, ran the Foundation scholarship program for many years. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. The Foundation has designated one scholarship to be awarded annually in Henry’s honor, the “Henry Prata Memorial Scholarship.”

Application Process

  • Applicants must provide proof of acceptance to a private high school, college/university or technical/trade school.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation with the application.
  • The applicant must complete Part I of the application and the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can assist as necessary.
  • The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must complete Part II of the application if the applicant is under 18.

Applications may be emailed or mailed.

Mail applications and supporting materials to:

  • Essex Catholic High School Foundation Scholarship
    c/o Decker Tape Products
    906C Murray Road
    East Hanover, NJ 07936

Email applications and supporting materials to ECHS Foundation Scholarship Committee Chairman Roger Desiderio ’67 at rdesiderio@benditweinstock.com.

If you have any questions, please email ECHS Foundation Scholarship Committee Chairman Roger Desiderio ’67 at rdesiderio@benditweinstock.com, or call 973-736-9800.