POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Police Benevolent Association kicked off its annual Movie Night in the Park this summer by paying tribute to some of the local high schools' most outstanding students.
As the crowd at Pound Ridge Town Park gathered on the lawn Wednesday evening for a screening of “Happy Feet Two,” PBA President Mark Armistead, a sergeant in the Pound Ridge Police Department, presented five graduating seniors – three from John Jay High in Cross River and two from Fox Lane High in Bedford – with $1,000 scholarships for academic excellence and service to the community.
The recipients from Fox Lane were William Rappaport, who will attend Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and Marcine Gershfeld, who will go to SUNY Binghamton. The John Jay honorees were Vincent Riocci, who will go to Wake Forest University in North Carolina; Jessica Riocci, who will attend Fordham University, and Daniela Shorser, who will head to Barnard College. Siblings Vincent and Jessica Riocci are part of triplets and split the $1,000 award, each getting $500.
Vincent Riocci said he was thrilled to be one of the scholarship recipients and will be part of the Army ROTC at Wake Forest.
“I want a career in the military,” he said.
His sister, Jessica, who has worked as a tutor at Lewisboro Elementary School, will major in psychology at Fordham, but said she is still debating what direction she wants her career to take.
“I’m not sure yet,” she said, “maybe social work or teaching.”
As the students received their scholarships, families arrived at the park with blankets and picnic baskets looking to stake out that ideal patch of lawn from which to watch the movie.
Sherene DePalma was there with her husband and four children and a cooler full of food.
“We packed a spread,” she said. “We have some salads, pasta, cheeses and fruit.”
DePalma said Movie Night in the Park has become a tradition for her family, noting that they have come to at least one of the events each summer over the past seven or eight years.
“It’s nice to come out for a little picnic,” she said. “The kids get to run around and the grown-ups get to hang out. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
For those who opted not to bring a picnic supper, the PBA was grilling up hamburgers and hot dogs for sale. Pound Ridge Police Chief Dave Ryan was one of those manning the grill.
“How many burgers have I flipped since I became chief? Too many to count,” he said with a laugh.
And, of course, there was free popcorn for everyone.