Scholarships & Awards: Stevenson Instrumental Music Program

Annual Instrumental Music Scholarships & Awards

The Stevenson Instrumental Music Department, the Stevenson Band Boosters, and Utica Community Schools join forces to offer students opportunities to earn scholarships and awards each school year.




Louis Gonda Memorial Music Scholarship

  • Established to fund opportunities for UCS band students to further their music education
  • Over the years, the Gonda Fund has enabled hundreds of UCS students to attend music camps, take private lessons or otherwise enrich their music study
  • Primary funding source is through admissions at UCS' annual Band-a-Rama Marching Band Show
  • Open to Instrumental Music students in 9th - 11th grades that receive a 1st Division Rating at District Solo & Ensemble Festival
  • 2025 Auditions: TBA
  • 2025 Gonda Scholarship Information (TBA)


Utica Community Schools - Louis Gonda Scholarship Information 2025

  1. Auditions will take place (TBA) at (TBA). Auditions will be held on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be a warm up room available for everyone to use prior to your audition. 
  1. There will be an audition fee of TBA due at the time of your audition. This fee MUST be paid in CASH ONLY.
  1. Each audition will be 3 minutes in length. Choose the best 3 minutes of your solo if your solo is longer than three minutes. Because of the short time frame for each audition, do not expect any feedback from the adjudicator. This is not an indication of a poor audition.
  1. Eligibility:
    • a. Instrumental Music Students grades 9-11 are eligible, see section  "c" below.
    • b. Students must continue playing their instrument in the UCS district next year.
    • c. Students must have received a 1st Division rating on their solo at the 2025 High School Solo and Ensemble Festival, and must currently be enrolled in an Instrumental Music class for all of the 2024-2025 school year.
    • d. Previous Gonda scholarship winners are NOT eligible to audition for another Gonda Scholarship.
  1. Piano solos are NOT eligible for the Gonda Scholarship.
  1. You may perform with or without accompaniment. However, please keep in mind that your performance will be enhanced by the use of an accompanist.
  1. Scholarships can be used for summer music camps, marching band camps, or private lessons.
  1. The recipients of the scholarships will be notified the next school day by their director.
  1. Parents, friends, family members, etc. are not allowed in the audition room.

Students auditioning for the Gonda Scholarship represent all UCS high schools and their feeder junior highs.

Craig Ankawi

Craig Ankawi Memorial Scholarship

  • Established in 2011 in memory of the spirit former Stevenson Instrumental Music student Craig Ankawi had for the program. A 2009 SHS graduate, he was tragically taken from this life in June, 2010.
  • Funded as partnership between the Ankawi family and the Stevenson Band Boosters
  • Open to Instrumental Music students in 10th & 11th grades with a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • 2025 application deadline: TBA

2025 Craig Ankawi Scholarship Information


Rules & Eligibility:

  • This $500 scholarship is not based on financial needs, but for the dedicated student in the Instrumental Music Program
  • All applicants must have been involved in the Instrumental Music Program throughout the 2024-25 school year. The recipient must be returning to the program in 2025-26
  • This scholarship is for Stevenson students that are in 10th and 11th grades in 2024-25
  • Students must have at least a 3.00 GPA
  • The scholarship money must be used for music educational purposes such as private lessons/band camps
  • Applications and essays are judged and the scholarship winner is chosen by the Ankawi family



  1. Due: TBA
  2. Write a two-page essay on the following topic:
    • TBA
  3. Include a full resume in your e-mail
  4. Send ALL requirements in ONE complete attachment to this e-mail address: TBA
  5. You will receive an e-mail back from the Ankawi family letting you know that your application was received



Previous Ankawi Scholarship Winners:
    2024  Abigail Tranchida
2023  Lina Almaflahi 2022  Akaash Mondal
2021  Preston Brockett 2019 Justin Littleton
2018 Julia Daniel 2017 Veronica Pardington
2016 Corbyn McKinley-Piwonski 2015 Michael S. Sekich
2014 Nicholas Holevar 2013 Brittany Bissa
2012 Jackie Kaiser 2011 Rebekah Veit

Dick Copus

Dick Copus Memorial Scholarship

  • Established in 2020 to honor Mr. Dick Copus, the long-time voice of the Stevenson Marching Band and former Utica Community Schools Board member, the Copus Scholarship rewards students that are fully engaged in the Stevenson Instrumental Music Program
  • Funded as partnership with the Stevenson Band Boosters
  • This $500 scholarship is open to Instrumental Music students in 9th, 10th & 11th grades at Stevenson HS, Davis JHS, and Jeannette JHS
  • The deadline for 2025 applications is TBA
  • Online application link: TBA

2025 Dick Copus Scholarship Information


Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Applicant must have participated in MSBOA District XVI Solo & Ensemble Festival (Chamber Ensemble participants welcome)
  • In addition to District S&E, applicant must also have participated in at least ONE of the following events/activities during the current school year:
    • Marching Band Festival
    • District Band & Orchestra Festival
    • Jazz Band Festival
    • Honors Band
    • All-State Band
    • State Solo & Ensemble
    • Musical Pit Band
  • Applicant must be enrolled in an Instrumental Music class for the next upcoming school year (2025-26) at SHS
  • Applicant must not have previously won an Ankawi, Marinello, or Copus Scholarship
  • Students cannot be awarded more than one scholarship in the same year
  • Funds will be eligible to be used towards band expenses such as music camps, private lessons, music/equipment/supplies, and band trips. If a student leaves the Instrumental Music Program for any reason, including graduation, unused scholarship monies revert to the Stevenson Band Boosters



  • Due: TBA
  • Submit an online application at: TBA
  • Applicants will complete an online form, being certain to answer the short (no more than three sentences) essay questions
  • Late applications will not be accepted, and duplicate submissions shall be deleted (only one submission allowed per student)



  • A committee will review the applications to choose the winner
  • In addition to the online application, the committee will consider items such as citizenship, overall GPA, and attendance along with other contributions made to the program


Previous Copus Scholarship Winners:
    2024  Lucy Anton
2023  Jalen Toyee 2022  Ashlynn Pennazoli
2021  Sofia Kastelan 2020 Hannah Baran

Frank Marinello

Frank Marinello Memorial Scholarship

  • Established in 2021 to honor the memory of Mr. Frank Marinello, a contributor and mentor to numerous Instrumental Music students, the Marinello Scholarship rewards students that share Frank's vision and passion for music and giving back to the community 
  • Funded as partnership between the Marinello family and the Stevenson Band Boosters
  • This $500 scholarship is open to Instrumental Music students in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades at Stevenson HS
  • The deadline for 2025 applications is TBA
  • Online essay submission link: TBA

Frank Marinello was a man of unconditional love. He was a kind and humble soul that touched the lives of anyone that heard his music, tasted his cooking, or had the joy of sharing a laugh with him.

Frank cherished his beloved wife and son, was faithful to God and country, loyal to family and friends, and saw value and potential in every person. His humble and patient nature made him an extraordinary teacher, and his guitar was always plugged into his heart.

The memories Frank shared with the Stevenson High School Band will never be forgotten and his love of music will live on.

2025 Frank Marinello Memorial Scholarship Information


Eligibility & Requirements:

  • This $500 scholarship is open to Stevenson Instrumental Music students in 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade that are involved in the SHS Music program. You must be enrolled in Band classes in 2025-26 to accept this scholarship (excluding seniors)
  • Applicant MUST be currently enrolled in an Instrumental Music class
  • Must not be a previous winner of a Copus, Ankawi, or Marinello scholarship
  • You are welcome to apply for but will not win multiple scholarships
  • Scholarship will be eligible to use towards band expenses such as, private lessons, camps, music equipment etc or furthering your education classes in college


Assignment & Applications:

  • Complete a short one page (3-5 paragraphs) essay answering the question: TBA
  • Due: TBA
  • Complete the online form here, be sure to upload your essay as a pdf or Word document: TBA
  • Late applications will not be accepted



  • The winner will be selected from eligible and fully completed applications by the Marinello family
  • In addition to the application, the Committee will consider citizenship along with other criteria such as those that show a passion for music, those that practices because they love to rather than it being an obligation, those that are kind and patient with others, those who are willing to help and expect nothing in return, and those that bring out the best in others.


Previous Marinello Scholarship Winners:
2024  Legacy Watts 2023  Deema Hasan
2022  Isabella Bernabei 2021  Tiffany Canup

Michael & Amy Sekich

Amy & Michael Sekich Educational Music Scholarship

  • Established by Amy Sekich in 2024 to honor the career of her husband, long time Stevenson Band Director Mr. Michael D. Sekich upon his retirement 
  • Funded as partnership between the Sekich family and the Stevenson Band Boosters
  • This $500 scholarship is open to Instrumental Music students in12th grades at Stevenson HS
  • The deadline for 2025 applications is TBA
  • Submit to: TBA

2025 Amy & Michael Educational Music Scholarship Information


Eligibility & Requirements:

  • This $500 scholarship is open to Stevenson Instrumental Music students in 12th grade that have been accepted into college/university. Proof of admittance must be provided upon your selection for this scholarship.
  • Applicant must be pursuing either a degree in Musical Performance/Education or becoming a classroom teacher (K-12 or university)
  • You are welcome to apply for but will not win multiple scholarships


Assignment & Applications:

  • Complete a one-page essay answering these questions: Why did choose the college you will be attending and what are your goals? How do you plan to give back to education? What is a character trait you have learned while in band at Stevenson?
  • Due: TBA
  • Submit your essay to: TBA
  • Late applications will not be accepted



  • The winner will be selected by the Sekich family


Previous Sekich Scholarship Winners:
    2024  Ford Shelton

John Philip Sousa Band Award

Sousa Band Award

The Sousa Award is the pinnacle of achievement in a high school band. Introduced in 1955 to honor the top student in the high school band, the John Philip Sousa Band Award® recognizes superior musicianship and outstanding dedication.


    The John Philip Sousa Band Award® has been presented to the following Stevenson High School students in recognition of outstanding achievement and interest in instrumental music, for singular merit and loyalty and cooperation, and for displaying those high qualities of conduct that school instrumental music requires:
    2024 Taylor Mauldin
2023 Dillon Warner 2022 Peyton Polzin & Dillon Warner
2021 Kole Micakaj 2020 Seth Pelkey
2019 Veronica Pardington 2018 Keyshawn Spinks
2017 Michael S. Sekich 2016 Paige Broadworth & Carter Jacobs
2015 Stevenson Band Member 2014 Stevenson Band Member
2013 Maggie Stangis 2012 Stevenson Band Member
2011 Stevenson Band Member 2010 Isaac Boehnlein
2009 Jessica Pearson 2008 Trevor Critchett
2007 Brent Ogden 2006 Matt Stelzer
2005 Jeremy Hardy 2004 Stevenson Band Member
2003 Sakina Ali 2002 Keenan Thomason
2001 Diana Semma 2000 Ryan Baroli
1999 Aaron Pode 1998 Jaime Pappert
1997 Laura Dick 1996 Mike Sauer
1995 Rob Meier 1994 Veronica Hutton
1993 Chad Pickle 1992 Jason Heggemeyer
1991 Diana Commisso 1990 Dave Visnaw
1989 Joe Rice 1988 Susan Commisso
1987 Susan Childs 1986 Edward Carr
1985 Ken Cady 1984 Susan Stroker
1983 Judy Cole 1982 Karen Ann Lach
1981 Diane Shamley 1980 Robert T. Stroker
1979 Tom Larwa 1978 Dominic Leo
1977 Annette Boshaw 1976 Roger Snitchler
In Memory of Tim Huggins - 1975

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Louis Armstrong Jazz Award

Armstrong Jazz Award

The Louis Armstrong Jazz Award® was inaugurated in 1974 with the consent of his widow shortly after this great jazz artist died in 1971. It honors the outstanding jazz musician at each high school.


    The Louis Armstrong Jazz Award® has been presented to the following Stevenson High School students in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of jazz as demonstrated through superior musicianship, character, and individual creativity:
    2024 Stevie Canup
2023 Braden Cook & Jimmy Esho 2022 Bradford Shelton
2021 Noah Polston 2020 Justin Littleton
2019 Alyssa Carnes 2018 Parker Jacobs
2017 Christopher Marinello 2016 Griffin Anspach & Nicholas Tedesco
2015 Stevenson Jazz Musician 2014 Stevenson Jazz Musician
2013 Josh Fretenborough 2012 Stevenson Jazz Musician
2011 Stevenson Jazz Musician 2010 Stevenson Jazz Musician
2009 Monica Yousif 2008 Stevenson Jazz Musician
2007 Stevenson Jazz Musician 2006 Chad Shirk
2005 Mike Tomei 2004 Stevenson Jazz Musician
2003 Stevenson Jazz Musician 2002 Brad Harrison
2001 Stevenson Jazz Musician 2000 Stevenson Jazz Musician
1999 Stevenson Jazz Musician 1998 Stevenson Jazz Musician
1997 Stevenson Jazz Musician 1996 Stevenson Jazz Musician
1995 Stevenson Jazz Musician 1994 Gary Franks
1993 Trevor Pickle 1992 Mark Wisniewski
1991 Devon Rutherford 1990 Brian Logsdon
1989 Steve Daoust 1988 Glenn Cowelchuk
1987 Glen Flowers 1986 Brian McDonald
1985 Louis Lucido 1984 Michael D. Sekich

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Updated  May 26, 2024