Gaito wins Trentini Scholarship


Emma Vukovich , Staff Reporter

Cancer survivor, soccer MVP and active community and school volunteer, senior Nicole Haley Gaito, won the Trentini Scholarship of $30,000
The Trentini Scholarship has been around for over 30 years and was started in the honor of Anthony J. Trentini, a teacher and coach until 1963.
He is regarded on the Trentini Foundation site as “a man with impeccable ethics and morals who influenced a generation of young people in Northern Wake County.”
The whole purpose of this foundation is to reward the students that best exemplify the attributes that Trentini himself did through his coaching and teaching. Among these attributes are the pursuit of excellence in academics, athletics and leadership and extracurricular activities with a strong sense of good ethics, values and citizenship.
The student recognized as the one possessing all these respectable qualities by the 2015 Trentini Scholarship committee April 18 in Forks Cafeteria of Downtown Wake Forest was Gaito.
One central accomplishment that Gaito believes led the committee to selecting her as this year’s winner was her involvement with Relay for Life, inspired by her own struggle with cancer.
“I have been involved with Relay for Life since when I lived in New York five years ago, and I continued to do it when I moved here. If you combine the fundraising from all the Relay for Lifes that I have participated in, I have earned approximately $500 for the fight against cancer,” Gaito said.
Also, she teamed up with Janna Puffer this year in order to raise $300 for another cancer charity through an event at Brooke Street Bowl.
At the age of 2, Gaito herself was diagnosed with retinoblastoma—a form of eye cancer that occurs only in children. Early detection of retinoblastoma is extremely important since the disease can be fatal if it continues to develop without treatment.
The cancer formed a tumor in her right eye, and as a result that eye had to be surgically removed and replaced with a spherical implant. Her potential for vision is very low on that side but that did not stop her from taking the soccer field her whole high school career and earning the recognition of MVP.
“I have a personal connection with the hardships of cancer since I went through it myself and was able to overcome and be at the point I am today. My experience drove me to raise money through Relay for Life,” Gaito said.
On top of all her work for Relay for Life, during her four years here, Gaito has been an active member of NHS, DECA, FCCLA and the varsity soccer team.
She organized the Kid’s Fest event for preschool and kindergarten students in our own community this year, as well.
Even though Gaito’s resume is very impressive, she remains humble and shocked at the fact that she has been given such a huge and prestigious scholarship.
“I did not expect to be in this position at all. I applied for the scholarship on a whim, hoping I would have a chance at the $30,000,” Gaito said.
Once Gaito had earned the grant from the Trentini Scholarship Foundation, she had to determine which college that money would be going towards.
She was formerly committed to the University of South Carolina to study marketing, Spanish and international business. However, she has just recently decided the programs there are not for her.