SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Board of Directors of the Tourette Syndrome Association of New Jersey, Inc., (TSANJ) has announced the winners of the 2007 TSANJ Student Scholarships. This scholarship is the only one of its kind in the nation. The Scholarship Committee selected two winners, with the first place winner receiving a $1,000 scholarship, and second place winner receiving $500. There were 16 Honorable Mention recipients, each receiving $100.
The winner of this year’s $1,000 TSANJ Scholarship is David Colognori, from Westwood, N.J. David currently attends the Academy for Engineering and Design Technology in Hackensack. The winner of the $500 TSANJ Scholarship is James Facey of Verona, who currently attends Verona High School.
The annual scholarships awards are presented to New Jersey public or private high school seniors who have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and who will be attending college or trade school in the fall. The scholarship recognizes a student with a proven record of accomplishment and achievement despite the disorder. The award provides encouragement for individuals with TS to further their education or training. Recipients are selected based on academic record, recommendations, and a written essay or audio or video tape demonstrating the individual’s talents.
The award was presented Wednesday, May 16, during TSANJ’s Fifth Annual Recognition Dinner at Rutgers University . The Dinner also honored Senator Richard Codey and Mrs. Mary Jo Codey for their humanitarian interest and support of New Jersey’s Tourette Syndrome community and all persons dealing with mental health issues. At the same dinner, TSANJ also honored its Educator of the Year, Ms. Michele Hawkes, of Brick, NJ.
Students interested in applying for the 2008 scholarship should contact TSANJ at 732-757-7350 or visit the website at www.tsanj.org. Applications are due by March 30, 2008.
The 2007 Scholarship has been funded through the generosity of TSANJ supporters. Individuals interested in supporting the scholarship should forward the contribution to Tourette Syndrome Association of New Jersey, Inc., 50 Division Street, Suite 205, Somerville, NJ 08876. Checks should note that the contribution is to be made to the scholarship fund.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological disorder that is manifested in involuntary physical and vocal tics. Symptoms generally appear in children at ages 6-7 years, but can manifest anytime before an individual is 18 years old. TS affects people of all ethnic groups with males affected 3 to 4 times more frequently than females. It is estimated that 200,000 Americans have full blown TS and that as many as 1 in 200 show a partial expression of the disorder. Commonly, people with Tourette syndrome also have co-occurring disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Depression.
There is no cure for TS.
Tics can range from severe verbal and physical contortions to milder tics that are barely recognizable. Sadly, Tourette’s is sometimes represented by Hollywood as sudden outbursts of profanity, but in truth, that characteristic actually afflicts only about 5 percent of those identified as having the disorder. Perhaps because of this, TS sufferers are highly stigmatized, with those afflicted being shunned, misunderstood and left feeling ashamed. A horrible tragedy – since TS typically strikes individuals at the tender age of seven.
The mission of TSANJ is to support the needs of families affected by TS, to advocate for individuals with TS, and to educate the public and professionals on TS. Through TSANJ and NJCTS, New Jersey families can receive: school and peer in-service, intervention, family support programs, family education and advocacy, helpline, medical diagnosis and treatment referrals, psychological services, education and training for doctors, nurses, medical sciences students and educators.
New research programs, such as a stigma and biofeedback program and the TS Cell and DNA Sharing program are also part of NJCTS’ offering.
TSANJ relies completely on membership, corporations, government, and foundations to fund its work.