BY JACKIE WEISER
On Friday, September 23, Cooper City High School geometry teacher Randi Glantz honored John Scinicariello, founder of John The Baker Italian Restaurant, at his restaurant for his contribution to the S.M.A.S.H. scholarship.
S.M.A.S.H. stands for “spectacular meatballs are shared here.” Former CCHS guidance counselor Diane Wells developed the S.M.A.S.H. scholarship 14 years ago. Every year, three CCHS staff members make 100 meatballs each, then over one hundred other participants and faculty members pay money to try out the meatballs. The taste testers then take a vote to decide who will be recognized as the best meatball chef. The money collected goes to two worthy seniors, who receive a scholarship of $500 to put toward the school of their choice.
Glantz took over S.M.A.S.H three years ago after Wells retired. Two years ago, John Scinicariello started pitching in and has been supplying the plates, silverware, salad, baked ziti and other necessary supplies for the event.
“It really is sweet of John to help out,” Glantz said. “It really is great for just everyone to help out.”
Wagner and the family counseling center also play a large roll in the scholarship and all pitch in each year to help get things prepared.
“It’s a way for the staff members to get together,” Glantz said. “It’s a way for us to have fun.”
In order to be eligible for the scholarship, one must be a senior at CCHS and have proven excellence in academics, community service and extracurricular activities. In March, students can sign up with Mrs. Siwek, the BRACE Adviser, for a chance to win. Then a committee votes on the two scholarship winners.
Though setting up for the annual S.M.A.S.H. competition is time consuming and stressful, the feeling that Glantz and Wagner get afterwards makes it all worth it. Glantz has gotten letters from previous scholarship winners thanking her and expressing how much they appreciated it.
“I feel great after presenting the scholarship,” Wagner said. “You can’t put a price tag on something like that.”
Above all, Glantz and Wagner genuinely love putting on the event and helping out students. Nothing bothers them more than students who are at a disadvantage for college due to financial issues, which is why they are so proud to help out. They also love getting the staff together and bonding with one another while helping a cause.
“It’s one of the events the faculty has where they know what they’re working for,” Glantz said. “It’s just a feel good time.”