Six Southington students earn CHET scholarships

Six Southington students were among the 100 freshmen honored, above, with the 2017 CHET scholarship at a ceremony in Hartford on Dec. 1.

Six Southington students were among the 200 Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) advance scholarship winners were honored on Dec. 1 by State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier at the Legislative Office Building. Southington freshmen Lauren Borchert, Nicholas Gwiazdowski, Samuel Klau, Faith Kosior, Matthew Paul, and Payton Turnquist were among 100 ninth-grader and 100 seniors selected to receive the annual scholarships totaling $500,000.

Faith Kosior, right.

“The enthusiasm and promise that these students represent make this one of my favorite nights of the year,” Nappier, a CHET trustee, said in a press release. “These are kids with a vision for their future, and it’s especially gratifying to know that this scholarship will help them to further their dreams.”

This is the fifth year of the CHET Advance Scholarship program, which awards $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors and an initial $2,000 scholarship to selected freshmen. The freshmen have the opportunity to receive an additional $500 if the student’s family saves $500 in a CHET account by the time the student goes to college.

Among the speakers at the ceremony was past scholarship recipient Dar’Ron Brown, one of the first 200 students in Connecticut to receive the scholarship when the program launched in 2013.

Lauren Borchert, right.

Also speaking at the ceremony were two high school seniors, as recipients of a 2107 scholarship:  Jessica Aca-Tecuanhuehue, from Central High School in Bridgeport; and Michael Austin, from Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury.

“Know this: As long as you believe that ‘the sky is the limit,’ it will be,” Nappier told scholarship winners at the ceremony. “So, if entering the CHET Advance Scholarship contest and winning has inspired or encouraged you to step up your commitment to your future, then you’re already on the path to success.   Now all you have to do is work to stay on that path.”

The winners, who were randomly selected from a pool of more than 3,300 applicants, hail from high schools across the state. All five congressional districts are represented among the winners. Of the winners, 117 are girls and 83 are boys.

Nicholas Gwiazdowski, left.

“The process of researching, applying for and deciding what college to go to is incredibly stressful for students and families,” said Nappier. “If we are able to help reduce that stress level by a small amount or help fill the cost gap with CHET Advance Scholarship, then that’s a win in my book.”

CHET Advance Scholarship is administered by the Connecticut Higher Education Trust, Connecticut’s 529 college savings plan. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. and The Hartford, plan managers for CHET Direct-Sold and CHET Advisor-Sold, respectively, contribute annually into a scholarship account to finance the scholarship program, under their contracts with the Treasurer’s Office to manage CHET 529. No state funds are used for awards issued under CHET Advance Scholarship.

To ensure the impartiality of the random drawings, International Scholarship and Tuition Services, which has more than 25 years of scholarship administration experience, administers the selection process with oversight from TIAA.

For more information about CHET Direct, visit or call the customer service center at (866) 314-3939.

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