Worcester Academy’s TJ Power of Shrewsbury awarded Bernon Junior Service Award
Power splits $10k philanthropy prize with A Shot For Life
WORCESTER, Mass. (May 20, 2022) — Worcester Academy junior and scholar-athlete TJ Power of Shrewsbury received the Worcester Academy Bernon Junior Service Award today in a ceremony in Alumni House.
Power, who was recipient of the 2022 Gatorade Player of the Year in Massachusetts for Boys Basketball, earned the coveted Bernon Service Award following outstanding community service to A Shot For Life (ASFL), a Hanover-based youth sport organization supporting health and cancer research initiatives.
Immediately upon receiving the prize, he handed over a check for $7,500 to a beaming ASFL founder Mike Slonina, who came to Worcester Academy campus with seven of his ASFL staffers to receive the funds.
“I knew when I first started working for this organization that this was the place I wanted to serve,” TJ said. “This was a cause I wanted to help. Some of the work has been the hardest I've ever done in my life and I love it.”
The Bernon Junior Service Award was established by Alan Bernon ’72 who wanted to recognize a member of the Academy’s Junior Class who shares a passion for philanthropy and for giving back and has provided exceptional community service over and above those hours required by WA. The recipient then splits the prize—$2,500 for the student, $7,500 for the nonprofit—with a nonprofit of his or her choosing.
Over the years, many Worcester Academy scholar athletes have been A Shot For Life athletes, Mr. Slonina said. TJ, the only one performing community service, is among the hardest working and most enthusiastic Hilltoppers he’s met.
“TJ has not only been an athlete at ASFL, he’s also been a consistent volunteer,” Mr. Slonina says. “He’s helped us to have an impact far beyond the court.”
He recalled how TJ used a flashlight in the woods to find baseballs during the organization’s home run derby. No one asked him to do that, but that’s what was needed at the moment. He goes the extra mile for others, Mr. Slonina says.
“That’s very unusual in a nationally ranked athlete,” he says. “But it’s not unusual for TJ. My staff and I love this guy and we all came out today to salute him.”
COMMUNITY SERVICE AT WORCESTER ACADEMY
Community Service is an extension of both the Academy mission and its Core Values: Honor, Respect, Community, Personal Growth, and Challenge. It’s a part of every student’s experience at Worcester Academy, and by graduation, Hilltoppers must have completed a total of 60 hours of service (postgraduate students must complete 15 hours of service). Collectively, Hilltoppers contribute thousands of hours each year in the greater Worcester community and beyond. They mentor and teach, work countless hours in hospitals and shelters, host benefit concerts, organize food and clothing drives, and make an impact.
Worcester Academy’s Director of Equity and Inclusion Bonnie Walker says TJ represents both himself and the Academy very well.
“TJ is a star here at WA, not just because of his athletic prowess on the basketball court and on the baseball field, and in the classroom as an academic, but because of his honorable character, his kindness, his work ethic, his humility, his teamsmanship, and his desire to give back,” she says. “TJ embodies our school's core values and everything that we hope for in character for our students.”
BERNON JUNIOR SERVICE AWARD
Alan Bernon, a veteran dairy industry executive, who has served on boards of many nonprofits including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Hofstra University and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. A member of the Class of 1972 at Worcester Academy, he has long acknowledged the importance of community service and philanthropic support.
Mr. Bernon funded the Bernon Junior Service Award at Worcester Academy to highlight a member of the junior class who shares his passion for philanthropy and who has distinguished him- or herself through community service that is off-campus and over and above that which is required for graduation.
The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize—$2,500 for the student and $7,500 for the nonprofit of his or her choice.
A SHOT FOR LIFE
A Shot For Life is a sports-based nonprofit organization that funds health and cancer research initiatives. Through sports-based initiatives, community in-person events, and online activities, ASFL meaningfully engages and unites communities, inspires hope and teaches community leadership.