April 23


St. Edmund Prep High School Presents Inaugural Steven H. Pollard Memorial Scholarship

April 23, 2024

Vol. 104 No. 17

On Thursday, April 18th, family members, faculty, classmates and firefighters gathered at St. Edmund Preparatory High School, at 2474 Ocean Avenue, to honor the student recipients of the Steven H. Pollard ’06 Memorial Scholarship.

The Steven H. Pollard ’06 Memorial Scholarship is a half-tuition scholarship with a gift of $150,000 that will be presented annually to two junior students, one male and one female.

Growing up in Marine Park, Pollard attended St. Edmund, graduating in 2006. Years later, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a firefighter, joining Ladder 170 in Canarsie. In January 2019, while responding to a two-car accident on the Mill Basin Bridge, Pollard fell to his death while crossing over a gap on the bridge.

To ensure that his legacy is carried on, the Steven H. Pollard Memorial Foundation was created, and the Steven H. Pollard Memorial Scholarship was established to help future generations.

“It’s an incredible honor that our students have been given this opportunity to share the joy and life of Steven H. Pollard,” said Allison McGinnis, principal of St. Edmund Prep. “I was here when he was a student. Great kid, great man, great firefighter. It is a blessing that our students are able to help celebrate his life and his achievements.”

Students of good character who demonstrated academic effort and community service, as well as sharing the same qualities of Pollard – quiet leaders who give of themselves with no expectation – were considered during the selection process.

The two recipients were Ziaire Hope of Canarsie and Sienna James of Broad Channel, Queens.

“I feel amazing, but yet nervous, because this is the first time this happened to me, so it’s a combination of two, but I’m glad that I got this award,” said Hope, a graduate of Our Lady of Trust Academy. “Living in Canarsie shaped who I am, being quiet, staying out of the mix. So I think taking that into high school showed me that I could get recognized.”

Hope plans to attend Syracuse University and, after graduation, aspires to become a system engineer.

“I am so honored to have gotten a scholarship in his [Steven Pollard’s] memory and to see that all the hard work that I do doesn’t go unnoticed every day,” said James. “When I graduate next year, I plan on going into nursing and to help save lives just like he risked his life to save someone else.”

Families were beaming with pride and joy, seeing their children’s hard work recognized and their aspiration to go higher.

“I feel very honored that Ziaire is my son,” said Akilah Bryant. “He’s a wonderful kid.  He’s a leader; he’s a great big brother. He’s amazing. I feel totally honored and appreciated that he was elected, nominated for this scholarship award.”

Ladder 170 and the Pollard family, who attended the ceremony, also received plaques to commemorate the event.

Janet Pollard, Steven’s mother, said, “It’s just wonderful that he’s going to be remembered in this way.  Ziaire and Sienna are like him in their quiet ways, and it’s just great that Zaire is from Canarsie and Sienna’s father is from the FDNY. I think they’re perfect.”

The ceremony was the merging of two families – the St. Edmund Prep family and Ladder 170 – coming together to honor the Pollard family and continue the legacy of a fallen hero.

“It couldn’t be a more special night when these three families have come together to celebrate the life of a fallen firefighter and the lives of the students who will benefit from this most generous donation from the Pollard Foundation,” said McGinnis. “It is a beautiful night, and we’re excited to see what happens with our recipients as they move forward with their lives.”

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