At Neshaminy High School Tuesday, seniors Andrew Ramirez and Zachary Cooperman were surprised with scholarships for college.
Ramirez, of Levittown, was awarded with the Helen R. Bates Scholarship worth $20,000. Cooperman, of Levittown, was presented with an $8,000 check from the Detective Christopher Jones Scholarship Fund. Both were the first recipents of these scholarships.
"It's unbelievable. It's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me," Ramirez said of receiving the scholarship. In the fall, he will be studying middle school education for grade four through eight at West Chester University.
"I'm excited," Cooperman said of receiving the scholarship that will help him with what he wants to do with his future -- become a police officer. He will be studying criminal justice and fire and emergency medical management at Bucks County Community College.
The Helen R. Bates Scholarship was funded by Helen Bates' estate, which is estimated to be between $300,000 and $400,000. Bates' was a teacher for many years. According to high school principal Robert McGee, interest from the estate was used to fund the scholarship to a "senior pursuing a career in education."
"Mrs. Bates has found a way to continue to grow her community after she's gone," McGee said.
Former teacher and friend of Bates, Russ Paiko said Bates' "school days were remarkable." Bates and her husband, Jack, enjoyed going to Long Beach Island, NJ and having dinner at the same table every weekend at the .
"Neshaminy was lucky to have [Bates] as a teacher, and I was fortunate to have her as a friend," Paiko said.
"Chris didn't just do his job in a set time," McGee said of Detective Christopher Jones, who lost his life in the line of duty Jan. 29, 2009. McGee described Jones, a Middletown Township police officer, as fair and professional.
This scholarship was awarded based on the recipient being able to follow directions and is someone who "Chris Jones would have follow in his foot steps," Chief of Trials in the Bucks County office and scholarship committee chairperson Robert James said.