The Fourth Annual Fun Walk For Education

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    The Great Neck Student Aid Fund hosted a
    one mile walk to raise money for high school students in need

    The GNSAF Board of Directors and volunteers. (Photos by Neil Hendelman)

    On Sunday, April 10, the Great Neck Student Aid Fund (GNSAF) hosted their fourth annual walk to raise money towards providing scholarships for local high school students. Local town officials, police officers, fire department members, school board members and residents of Great Neck came out to support the GNSAF.
    The non-profit organization was founded in 1931 with the goal of helping local students pay for their higher education. College and university tuition are constantly rising, making it harder and harder each year for students and their families to afford higher education.
    According to the GNSAF, “during the last 25 years, SUNY costs have risen at an annual rate of 6.7 percent, which is more than the rate of inflation.”
    With the help from the GNSAF, 40-50 graduates from the Great Neck high schools are able to attend the college of their choice. The GNSAF provides a one-time grant to the students to pay for the critical first year of their college.
    The GNSAF has a screening process to determine students eligible for aid and the students are assigned an advisor from the organization. The assigned advisor helps guide them through the application process and requires the students to apply for federal and state aid.
    The GNSAF has determined that their grants help approximately 10 percent of graduating seniors each year.
    The Fun Walk for Education had a large turnout, with about 100 people signed up and participating in the walk. GNSAF President Elise Kestenbaum was thrilled with the amount of people who came out to support the students of Great Neck.
    “According to the 2020 Census, 8 percent of the Great Neck population is living below the poverty line,” said Kestenbaum in her welcoming speech. “It takes a village to help and raise students. So, I thank everyone that has come out to support us.”
    Kestenbaum thanked the Nassau County Police Department for helping guide the one-mile walk through the town. She also thanked the volunteers who helped organize the event and she thanked GNSAF Vice President Jill Monoson, who spearheaded the walk four years ago.
    “A lot of people contributed time and effort to this organization,” said Monoson. “And I am proud to be a part of such a remarkable charity that changes someone’s life.”
    Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen came out to participate in the walk and support the GNSAF.

    Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen (center) participated in the walk.

    “This is a terrific activity,” said Rosen. “How often can you do something that combines two important things? Funding education and furthering health goals; this walk accomplishes both.”
    The chief of the Vigilant Fire Company, Justin Sachmechi, grew up in the Great Neck community and is proud to support the walk and GNSAF.
    “By supporting the Great Neck Student Aid Fund, we support the whole community,” said Sachmechi. “I praise organizations that give back like this. It is a piece of what makes this town so special and right now, when our world is experiencing chaos and war, it’s a great time to remember to help one another.”
    The fun walk started at the Great Neck Plaza Village Hall, where participants received a complimentary drawstring bag and snack options of a granola bar and/or orange. Water bottles and maps of the walk were provided to all who signed up.

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