Branchburg Teen Marissa Lazovick Awarded First Place Scholarship From NJCTS

On Friday June 7, in honor of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day, NJCTS presented the two top scholarship awards to graduating New Jersey seniors. The first-place recipient was Marissa Lazovick, 18, of Branchburg.  

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurobiological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements and sounds known as tics. As many as 1 in 50 people show signs of TS or other tic disorders which is frequently accompanied by mental health disorders including ADHD, OCD, and anxiety.

Marissa began exhibiting signs of Tourette Syndrome at the age of 7. Over the years, her TS symptoms and diagnosis did not stop her from flourishing both academically and socially. Marissa is a seasoned and talented dancer, as well as an ASL (American Sign Language) instructor. She completed a dancing piece entitled “(TIC)kled” in which she shows her journey with Tourette Syndrome through her art.

“I choreographed this piece to express how my tics have felt to me at different points in my life,” she says about her dance (TIC)kled. “It was a challenge first to create the soundtrack I needed. Then I had to communicate the pain, the confusion and struggle, and finally the acceptance.” Marissa is a graduate of Ridge High School as well as Somerset County Vocational Technical High School and will be attending Boston Conservatory at Berklee in the fall.

Academic achievement, community involvement and accomplishments all play a part in the NJCTS Scholarship Committee’s decision in selecting winning candidates each year.

“We are so proud of these young men and women for all they have accomplished during their high school careers,” said Santina Reichenbach, Acting Executive Director of NJCTS. “We cannot wait to see what they will do in college and beyond, as they continue to prove that Tourette Syndrome does not have to hold you back.”

Marissa’s scholarship winning essay can be found at www.njcts.org/teens4ts/