As student loan debt continues to rise, the Morris Educational Foundation (MEF), a non-profit organization enhancing excellence in education in the Morris School District, is proud to announce that eight exceptional Morristown High School (MHS) alumni have been selected as the recipients of the 2021 Myles Smiled on You Award for secondary education loan reduction. The award was created in memory of 2013 Morristown High School graduate, Myles Mislavsky, and is funded by those who knew and loved Myles, his family, friends and the Golden Bagel Runners.
Myles Mislavsky was a well-known and well-loved member of the community with a contagious smile that could light up a room. Myles’ family – Hector Mislavsky, Judy Martinez and Jessie Mislavsky – continue to share his famous smile and honor his memory through this award for secondary education loan reduction for Morristown High School alumni, which is administered by the Morris Educational Foundation.
Since its inaugural year, the MEF has presented 15 alumni with the Myles Smiled on You Award. Thanks to the Mislavsky/Martinez family, eight new deserving MHS alumni will receive the $5,000 award this year, bringing the recipient total to 23 since 2019. The selected recipients who exemplify Myles’ many positive characteristics are Lucy Brice – ’15, Brandon Drayton – ’13, Kimberly Edwards – ’10, Ashe Gobin – ’19, Brady Heher – ’13, Daniel Jacobs – ’16, Amy Jacobus – ’10, and Kico Mataj – ’13.
In addition to demonstrating undergraduate debt, the award application required three essays of 250 word or less detailing the following topics: How did you or are you dealing with challenging mental, physical health or other situations; Describe how you have demonstrated empathy toward others; and What do you do to help your family/community, accompanied by a letter of recommendation.
Each Morristown High School alumni receiving the award stated how they have helped others just as Myles did during his life. Several recipients were friends with or knew Myles, and intend to honor his legacy in the ways he made an impact during his life. This includes spreading positivity, being empathetic and showing people care and kindness.
Kico Mataj, award recipient and classmate of Myles, had this to say in response to receiving the award, “Participating in this opportunity has been the biggest honor of my life. Having been able to share my story with others was an emotional experience. This award means the world to me because it truly feels like my best friend Myles has “smiled” on me. I will use this experience and Myles’ memory to persevere and pass along blessings to others.”
The Mislavsky/Martinez family recognizes that college debt burden weighs heavily on many young people today and hopes to inspire others to help tackle the issue of college debt through philanthropy.
It is also their hope that with this financial award, Myles has “smiled on” these Morristown High School alumni just as he did during his amazing life. Award recipient, Brady Heher, revealed her post-graduate experience and how she intends to honor Myles, “Health care and caring for others is my passion. A few days after I graduated from college with a B.S. in Education, I started classes to go back to nursing school and I graduated from with a Nursing degree in 2020. I am currently a Registered Nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where I just celebrated my one-year anniversary. I was lucky enough to call Myles one of my friends for many years so this award truly means the world to me. I am grateful to be able to live his legacy each day by taking care of patients with a bright smile on my face, just like Myles always did.”
For more information about awards and scholarships offered, visit the scholarship page on the Morris Educational Foundation website at www.morrisedfoundation.org.