Charlestown Celebrates 36th Annual Scholars Ceremony

Charlestown, a continuing care retirement community managed by Erickson Senior Living, recently held its 36th Annual Scholars Ceremony. This special event honored the accomplishments of 23 student employees who earned scholarships made possible by the generous donations of Charlestown residents.

These dedicated student workers displayed an unwavering commitment to service and excellence.

To recognize their dedication and propel their promising futures, community residents generously donated more than $250,000 to this year’s campaign, with more than 57% of Charlestown households participating, a record-setting number for the community’s Student Scholars Fund Campaign.

On May 22, the conference center at Charlestown was overflowing with Scholars, their families, friends, and many Charlestown residents as they celebrated together. Each Scholar will receive up to $2,000 per semester of college, university, or trade school, for up to eight semesters. In addition, each Scholar will receive a one-time $1,000 Technology Grant, to use towards laptop computers, tablets, calculators, or other technology needed to support their educational goals.

James McBride, a member of the Charlestown Scholars’ Class of 2010, served as the Alumni Scholar Speaker at the ceremony, sharing his perspective about the importance of the scholarship he earned as preparation for his career.

To qualify for a scholarship, student employees must work a minimum of 1,000 hours at the community, maintain good academic and professional standing, and plan to attend a college, university, or trade school on a full-time basis (at least 12 credit hours per semester).

Charlestown resident Mimi O’Donnell served as the 2024 Scholars’ Committee Chair. She says, “This year, the Scholars’ Committee piloted a Scholar Coach program, developed to ensure that our scholars continue to succeed throughout their educational journey. Coaches serve to check-in, encourage, and motivate the students through any obstacles, deadlines, and challenges. Thanks to each coach who enriched staff participation in the Scholars Program.”

“Our Scholars acknowledge how impactful these scholarships are,” says Patti Santoni, philanthropy director at Charlestown. “We are endlessly grateful to all the residents who contributed to the success of this year’s Scholars Fund Campaign. These scholarships truly help make dreams come true!”

In addition, recipients of the special Named Scholarships were also recognized at the ceremony. These merit-based scholarships are funded by individuals or groups within the Charlestown community and by partnerships with local colleges and universities. The winners of the Named and Partner scholarships were: Marc Taylor, Skylar Blanding, James Olua, Ree Pani, Meena Foster, Cori Surgeon, Giselle Piper, Donnell Walker, Alexin Thomas, Sophie Vogel, Abhinav Ajay, and Traci Surgeon.

This year, Charlestown also presented an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award to Elon Raya, who not only earned a 5.63 GPA during his years at Catonsville High School, but also a full ride scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“The Scholars Program is just one way that Charlestown supports mission-driven team members who are eager to further their education,” notes Santoni. “We strive to make Charlestown a great place to live and work!”

To learn more about open positions and career benefits at Charlestown, visit