On June 4, in honor of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day, NJCTS presented sixteen scholarship awards to graduating New Jersey seniors. One of the top recipients was Samuel Regen, 18, of Robbinsville. Sam was awarded the Faith W. Rice Memorial Scholarship, named after NJCTS founder and former executive director, Faith Rice, who passed away in March. Sam was also one of four who was awarded NJCTS Youth Advocate of the Year for his service to the non-profit.
NJCTS awarded scholarships to high school seniors with Tourette Syndrome (TS) – a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements known as tics. As many as 1 in 100 people show signs of TS or other tic disorder which is frequently accompanied by mental health disorders including ADHD, OCD, and anxiety.
Sam was diagnosed with TS at a young age, but he did not let a diagnosis stand in his way. Sam was extremely active in a multitude of extracurricular activities, including being a dedicated NJCTS Youth Advocate, a member of NJAAP’s Youth Advisory Committee, Percussionist for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey, as well as a cast member and/or assistant director in many school musicals.
“I was no different than the other students, except I ticced. So what? Many students possessed special needs, food allergies, and a multitude of other struggles,” Sam wrote in his scholarship essay. “I discovered the gift that I contained with TS. I embraced my gift to not distract students, but educate them.”
Sam is a graduate of Robbinsville High School where is guidance counselor remarked, “Sam represents what is positive in this world and will make this world a brighter place.” He will be attending The College of New Jersey 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 could not be more proud of these young men and woman and all that they have accomplished during their high school career,” said Patricia Phillips, Executive Director of NJCTS. ““Every time we see our advocates, it inspires us all to work harder and be better. We congratulate and thank each one of them.”
Sam’s scholarship winning essay can be found at www.njcts.org/teens4ts.
NJCTS, the nation’s first Center of Excellence for Tourette Syndrome, is a not-for-profit organization committed to the advocacy of children and families with Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders. Dedicated to delivering high quality services to these individuals, the Center recognizes the importance of educating the public, medical professionals, and teachers about this disorder through programs and affiliations with public schools, health centers, and universities. To learn more about Tourette Syndrome and the programs available from NJCTS, visit www.njcts.org.