A Year Like No Other. . . A year like no other required us to make a few changes to the process of selecting students for our 2020 Friends of York Hospital Scholarship. The Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Program annually awards scholarships to graduating seniors who reside within the hospital’s service area [the southern York County, Maine towns of Kittery, Eliot, The Berwicks, Sanford, Lebanon, Kennebunk, Wells, Moody, Ogunquit, York] for their freshman year of college. A selection committee, comprised of hospital healthcare employees and members of the Friends of York Hospital volunteer group, reviews all applications. To be eligible, scholarship applicants must be high school seniors who plan to enter the medical/healthcare field and who will graduate from a high school within York Hospital’s service area.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the application process proceeded as usual this spring, with the exception of the in-person student interview process, which was omitted. Scholarship Committee co-chairs, Sue Little and Alice Emery, thank their fellow volunteer application reviewers, Joe D’Arrego, Nick DeNitto, Maddie Hayes, Hilary Leonhard, Judith McAllister, Linda Westinghouse, and Diane Williams for devoting many hours to reading applications and offering thoughtful recommendations regarding each of this year’s scholarship hopefuls.

This year also brought special challenges to our scholarship winners Mary Kocev, Katie Plourde, Sophie Trafton, Emma Parrotta, and Olivia Pride. Last fall, entering their senior year of high school with assumptions of hard work, good grades, volunteering and socializing — all leading up to an exciting graduation ceremony with their peers — proved to be quite different. After schools closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students transitioned to remote online instruction from home. Athletics were cancelled and extra-curricular activities ceased. But this amazing group of students remained resolute in their plans to attend college and enter careers in healthcare. After socially distanced graduations that included caps and gowns and facemasks, our scholarship awardees are now off to higher education pursuing their academic goals to make the world a better, healthier, safer place. How will their freshman year of college play out? One thing is certain – these gifted, wonderful young people will find their way forward into the medical field as compassionate providers, whether as a physician, nurse, researcher, physical therapist or phlebotomist. The Scholarship Committee congratulates the following students and wishes them WELL!

Mary Kocev is a graduate of York High School and the recipient of a $3,000 scholarship. She has been a familiar face at York Hospital since her freshman year when she started volunteering. As a volunteer she brought meals to patients, delivered mail, sat with patients who needed someone to chat with, and even shepherded a therapy dog to patient rooms for personal visits! In June 2019, Mary became an Aide at Sentry Hill working with resident seniors, where she fell in love with working with older adults. This reinforced her decision to attend St. Anselm College to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, become a registered nurse, with plans to eventually obtain a Master of Nursing degree, with a focus on gerontology. According to her school counselor, “Mary Kocev is a nurse at heart! She knows what it takes to be a nurse—physically, academically and emotionally—and has prepared herself for this career for the last five years, never once wavering in her decision. Driven. Kind. Focused. Involved. I give Mary the highest possible recommendation.” Along with her volunteer work and her exceptional school grades, Mary was principal violinist at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center where she played violin each week. Her academic and athletic awards and honors are numerous and include the National Honor Society, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony awards, the Randy Lavigne Award for student athletics and the Delta Epsilon Phi award for excellence in German language studies. She has been Captain of both Cross Country and Indoor Track and Field. St. Anselm will certainly be fortunate to have Mary as an exceptional young woman in this year’s freshman class!

Katie Plourde is a Wells High School graduate and the recipient of a $2,000 scholarship to pursue her plans to become either a doctor of osteopathic medicine or a physician assistant. While in high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and received high honors for all trimesters, freshman through senior years. Taking challenging courses both at Wells High School and York County Community College have prepared Katie well for the rigors of her pre-med and biology major in her freshman year. At Wells High School, she was secretary of the Student Council Interact Club and captain of the varsity volleyball team. She earned her letterman’s jacket as a sophomore doing pole vault on the track team and qualified for state-level competition in both her freshman and sophomore years. According to the owner of Scoop Deck Ice Cream where Katie worked since 2018, Katie is “motivated, hardworking, conscientious and efficient. She is simultaneously vivacious and professional—and consistently pleasant to be around.” In addition to York Hospital, Katie volunteered her time to run junior high track meets, serve meals at the Preble Street soup kitchen and help during Red Cross blood drives. Volunteering at York Hospital and job shadowing our physicians have heightened her interest in medicine. Our best wishes go with Katie as she moves forward with her education and her plans to enter a career in medicine!

Sophie Trafton is a graduate of York High School and the recipient of a $2,000 scholarship. Among her many academic awards are National Honor Society, the Suffolk University Book Award and the World Language Honor Society. In addition to being a class officer for three years, Sophie was a varsity athlete on the volleyball and track & field teams as well as yearbook editor all four years. She coached the middle school volleyball team and helped teachers at Coastal Ridge Elementary school as a volunteer in their classrooms. Sophie served as a volunteer senior facilitator for a group of freshmen, helping them navigate a successful transition during their first year of high school. She also volunteered for Eighth Grade Parent Night and various other high school events. According to her high school math teacher, “Sophie is a confident, intelligent, and outgoing young leader. She’s a quality thinker with solid insights. Her toolkit is strong!” We wish Sophie well in her plans to major in biochemistry with the objective of better understanding the chemical processes of cells to study disease and cancer genes. Through her love of the sciences, Sophie hopes to one day receive her doctorate and be in the forefront of scientific discovery to better the world.

Emma Parrotta graduated from York High School and has received a $1,000 scholarship to pursue a nursing degree at The University of Maine in Orono. Her decision to become a nurse was born out of a love of the profession gained from her grandmother. Emma learned first-hand how this profession can change lives with compassion and dedication. An honor student for her entire high school career, Emma valued her time spent on the volleyball court, while also volunteering to help aspiring young children with their volleyball skills. She also volunteered at York Hospital, and dedicated three summer church-sponsored mission trips to help better the lives of others. The manager of Fresh Press, where Emma held a summer job, lauded traits of joyfulness, flexibility, punctuality and her calm, cool and collected demeanor regardless of the situation. We all have confidence that Emma’s work ethic will transfer seamlessly to her future endeavors.

Olivia Pride is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship. She is a graduate of Marshwood High School and is attending The University of New Hampshire this fall. Olivia has a strong desire to become a speech therapist, born out of a family experience with a speech disorder. Olivia felt honored to shadow a speech pathologist at York Hospital Pediatric Rehab Services. While she maintained a high academic profile, Olivia excelled in numerous athletic endeavors and volunteer service programs. Her school counselor wrote that she is a “Go-Getter” who won’t let anything stand in her way of obtaining the information she needs in order to be successful. Her teachers also assert that Olivia has a true compassion for fellow students with physical and cognitive disabilities. All those who know Olivia predict a future of satisfaction and success for this young woman.

To raise the funds required to present these important scholarships to students in our community, the Friends of York Hospital holds an Annual Themed Basket Raffle each December. Last year’s raffle raised over $4,400 for scholarships, which was supplemented by generous monetary gifts from the York Hospital Physicians’ Committee and The York Hospital Apothecary. The Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Fund was able to provide more than $9,000 in financial assistance to these five fabulous students during what has been a very challenging year. The Friends of York Hospital is planning a virtual raffle this year.

If you wish to donate to the Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Fund to help students who aspire to higher education for careers in healthcare, please send your tax-deductible contribution to Connie James, Chairperson of the Friends of York Hospital, at:

York Hospital
Attention: Connie James (Friends of York Hospital)
15 Hospital Drive
York, ME 03909

For more information about the Friends of York Hospital volunteers, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Kate Ford at [email protected] or 207-351-2224. For inquiries regarding York Hospital services, please contact York Hospital Community Relations at 207-351-2385 or [email protected], or visit the York Hospital website at