The 2016 Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship

From the ESMS Intern’s Desk By Caroline Hipwell

Stephen Chandler Ericson

On Wednesday, June 29, the ESMS team presented Abigail Kosic with the 2016 Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship, which is awarded every year to a graduating high school senior in the Chester County area.


On September 14, 1984, Stephen was playing in a soccer game when he was suddenly struck by lightning; the Ericson family was blessed to have him for another five days until his passing on September 19, 1984.

This story didn’t just hit local news – people around the globe heard about Stephen because his accident was so unusual.  So many were affected by his story and people from all over began to reach out to the Ericson family expressing condolences, and even inquired about donating in his honor and memory.   It was at this moment that Stephen’s parents, Laura & Joseph Ericson, decided to create the scholarship, with the first award given in May 1985. The goal of the Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship is to help a student with their first year of college or trade school. The scholarship has grown throughout the years, with this year’s amount at $2,000!  Since 1985, the scholarship has been awarded to 37 students ranging from the West Chester Christian School (1985-2012) and Henderson High School (2012 to present). Students went on to attend colleges such as Bob Jones University, West Chester University, Clearwater Christian College, and more. The scholarship is a way of directly helping a student achieve their, post high school, education and to be inspired to give back  and have a life long heart for helping others and their community.

It was a great experience to witness Abigail and her family being given the scholarship award. This was also the first recipient that has had a personal connection through the Roslyn Swim Club.  The Ericson family were members of the Roslyn Swim Club beginning in 1962 and Abigail and her family are current members. It was at Roslyn that Abigail heard of Stephen, through Jeff Bott – Stephen’s best friend.  I thought it was so cool to see the connection with Stephen as his award was being presented to Abigail! Hearing stories about Stephen’s life made me feel like I really knew Stephen personally. I know that this award will help Abigail as she embarks on this new journey in life, beginning her college career at Wingate University.

Abigail “Abby” Kosic

One takeaway I got from this experience was the importance of appreciating all you have in this very moment. Life is truly precious, and Stephen’s story just shows how one moment can change everything.  I also think as individuals, we should strive to be more like Stephen: gentle, kind, and loving. With so much craziness in the world, sometimes we forget to simply just be kind. I learned a lot from Stephen’s story, and it was amazing to see him impact another person’s life today. Stephen Chandler Ericson continues to live on.


ESMS Intern Caroline Hipwell



My FIRST Rotary Meeting: “The Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club”

From the ESMS Intern’s Desk By Jen Gallo

I attended my first Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club meeting at 7am on Wednesday, June 29th at the Centerstone West Chester Inn.  Everyone was very welcoming and I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of interesting people!

We sat at a table with John, whose first day of retirement was the following day.  It was an eye opening experience sitting at a table with someone who was ending their career, while Caroline and I are just about to begin ours.

Also at our table was Gwenn, a retired district justice, who used to work on cases involving many West Chester University students.  She began a program with the concept of Restorative Justice called Young Adult Community Conferencing (YACC).  This program allows offenders to come face to face with those who were victimized and allows them to understand how their actions have impacted others.  The program allows offenders and victims to make amends as the victim sees how their mistakes have affected the community.  Many offenders are able to pay off their fines through community service while becoming a more productive citizen.  YACC has allowed many students to make up for their mistakes by making amends and giving back, rather than having a record that follows them through life.  Gwenn has made an extremely large impact on the West Chester community and I was very happy she shared her accomplishments with me!

Another member of the club, Roger, recently had brain surgery and the sense of community was easily felt as everyone wished him a safe and speedy recovery throughout the meeting.

We were treated to a delicious breakfast as we listened to the guest speaker, Ron Godol, talk about his diamond importing business and local store located right in West Chester.  He gave us his back story on how he got involved in the diamond industry and how recent regulations have impacted importers.  He started his career in Israel, with an engineering degree and working in the Air Force.  He later came to America to work with is cousin’s diamond business and traveled all around the United States.  A few months later he was offered a job in the diamond importing industry and has been very successful ever since!  He now owns BIG Diamond Importers and Fine Jewelry in West Chester.

I had a great time and learned a lot while talking to some very interesting people!

jen headshot
Jen Gallo

Published by: Jen Gallo