When I announced a couple of months ago there would not be a WOBM Christmas Classic this holiday season due to the pandemic my thoughts quickly turned to a part of the tournament that has little to do with basketball.

Since starting in 1984 we have awarded scholarships to participants based on their performance in the classroom and not on the court.  The very first recipient was John Klimkiewicz of Southern Regional. 37 years later Dr. John Klimkiewicz is a highly-regarded orthopedic surgeon who also serves as the head team physician for the Georgetown Hoyas and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

With no tournament the scholarship program seemed in jeopardy for several reasons.  However I was reminded that during the annual TipOff Breakfast prior to the 2019 WOBM Classic I told the senior student-athletes in attendance that eight of them would be honored next year during halftime of the championship games.

The way the program works is that participating schools submit information on their top scholars after graduation and we choose eight to receive $500 scholarships to help with second semester costs in their freshman year.

Community Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health has sponsored the scholarships for the past few years and I took a shot and reached out to Rob Cavanaugh their Director of Marketing & Communications.  Would the hospital consider sponsoring and funding the scholarships even though there would be no WOBM Classic?  Rob got back to me very quickly after speaking with Chief Executive Office Patrick Ahearn who offered a resounding YES.

This morning we will be making those presentations outside the hospital to eight young men and women. Some have already returned to school and will be represented by a parent.  This recipients are:

Megan Freehan    Point Boro/Caldwell University

Olivia Parlow        Donovan Catholic/Stevens Institute

Megan White        Wall/Clemson University

Sarah Kufka          TR South/Drexel University

Jason Golub          Freehold Township/Virgina Wesleyan University

Neithan Ramos     Donovan Catholic/Temple University

Jack Sheridan       Middletown South/University of Delaware

Mike Van Sprang Toms River North/University of Delaware

Special thanks to Community Medical Center for helping continue this important program. They truly are a great partner and committed to the community.

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