2017 I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to the 2017 I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship winner, Mark Turkowski!

With a 3.42 GPA, volunteer at the Lawrence High School student store, and an active member of DECA, Mark demonstrates the true definition of a team player. As a varsity basketball member and captain of the varsity lacrosse team, Mark embodied the true values of Rick Salmastrelli in this quote:

My absolute favorite memory as an Lawrence High School athlete [was] on May 11th of this year…It was my senior year and I wasn’t playing due to a season ending knee injury.

To us, it truly is impressive when an athlete selects his favorite memory to be one that he isn’t even on the field for.

Mark excelled in sports, especially at the game of lacrosse.  Joining the varsity squad his freshman year, Mark worked hard and challenged himself to be the best he could be on that field, but nothing prepared him for an injury that cut his high school career short.  The year, senior year, that is suppose to be the most glorious for any high school athlete, hit Mark with a ton of bricks when he tore his ACL and meniscus before the season even started.  A devastating injury for anyone, Mark took it in stride and figured out how to contribute to his team in any way and all ways he could.  He wasn’t going to let this get him or his teammates down!

Mark stated, “I have always believed that the assist was just as important as the goal,” a line my father often used with me during my high school sports career.  Mark truly practiced what he preached and everyone noticed.  From his teammates to his coaches and teachers, all recognized the might, strength, and compelling character Mark exemplifies. One teacher described Mark as “dynamic, forceful, energetic and [a] well respected leader,” while Coach Brennan, his Lawrence High School Lacrosse Coach, gave Mark the ultimate compliment when saying that, “Mark became a ‘player-coach.’ He was able to help his teammates by correcting mistakes and noticing things I may have missed.”

This hardworking and driven young man will attend Misericordia University in the fall. Congratulations, Mark, we are all big fans and cannot wait to see what you do in the next four years as a college athlete!


Tina Salmastrelli and Mark Turkowski

Tina Salmastrelli and the Turkowski Family

Congratulations to Matthew Stever!

The motto of our 2016 I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship winner is:

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

We are proud and honored to award Matthew Stever with this year’s $1000 scholarship. A DECA member and future Montclair State University student, Matt has completed his high school career with a 3.5 GPA, AP courses, and years of community service with many organizations including the Lawrence Hamnett Association.

Not only has Matt been able to maintain a solid GPA and participate in varsity soccer and winter track and field, he has also had a job since 2015. We definitely selected a well-rounded individual for the 2016 scholarship, haven’t we?!

Matt Stever with Tina and Cristina Salmastrelli

Matt Stever with Tina and Cristina Salmastrelli

Lawrence High Varsity Soccer Coach Keith Fithen summed Matt up perfectly when stating, “Heart can’t be measured in goals or assists, it can, however, be measured in the respect and admiration [Matt’s] teammates display to him.”

Self-described as “hardworking, persistent, driven, caring and courageous,” Matt Stever has a bright future ahead of him and we are proud to be a part of it. One of the best parts of moving on to college it the new batch of memories one will make, but in Matt’s case, I do not think they will be replacing those made with his friends, colleagues, and teachers during his tenure at Lawrence High School:

“My favorite [sports memory] would have to be during my senior night game for soccer. We played on Zimmer Field under the lights. I was not a regular starter for the team but because it was senior night, I got to start in the game. When the game started and I lined up, the student body started chanting my name. This is my favorite moment because it made me feel appreciated and happy.”

Thank you, Matt Stever, for becoming part of our journey at the I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Foundation. You sure have made an impression on us and, without a doubt, will continue for many years to come!

Good Luck this fall at Montclair State University!

Matt Stever with his proud parents

Matt Stever with his proud parents

Maeve Humphreys named 2015 Winner!

We are proud and honored to award Maeve Humphreys the 2015 Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship. After reading all about Maeve (in her application) we couldn’t wait to meet her in person. We were finally able to congratulate this star at the Lawrence High School Sports Banquet on Thursday, May 21st. Read on to learn all that we love about Maeve!

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Not only was our 2015 scholarship recipient a part of the varsity soccer and swimming programs all four years of high school, but she was also named captain of both teams her senior year. In addition to her amazing achievements in sports, Maeve excelled in her academics, accumulating a 4.3 GPA by the end of her high school career! Maeve will graduate in the top 15 of her class early next month!

If you wondered if Maeve had any free time outside of her sports and studies, shockingly she did, and she put that time into teaching and helping others. Maeve was a part of Peer Leadership, Model UN, and The Company, a local association under the umbrella organization THREADS focusing on empowering female students. It is clear to say that Maeve can motivate, listen, and lead in any situation!

In response to receiving this scholarship, Maeve stated:

“I just wanted to thank you (one last time) for awarding me with this amazing scholarship! I think it’s really special that your family gives back to the community in Rick’s honor, and is truly a testament to his character. I was so excited to be awarded this scholarship, considering Rick’s impactful legacy on not only LHS, but also his larger community as a whole. So once again, thank you so much! It is truly an honor. ”

No, Maeve, it is the honor of all of us!

This self described grounded and focused young adult will be attending University of Virginia this fall to take her leadership skills one step further into her college career! We are all excited to see what Ms. Humphreys has in store for us next! Congratulations, Maeve!

2014: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship Recipients!

Two Is Better Than One!

Well, third time’s a charm!  We were incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful pool of applicants to choose from for the third annual I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship.  It is truly amazing what these student athletes have accomplished and all before before they turned 18!

This year we selected two stellar gentlemen, Dominick DiTommaso and Cory Zrinko for the I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship. Both have achieved so much at Lawrence High School and have such bright futures ahead.  We are lucky to be a part of their journeys!

Dominick DiTommaso will be attending the Maine Maritime Academy this fall.  He has had a high school full of obstacles, but nothing kept Dominick from focusing on team spirit and community building to help him achieve his goals.

“I began my high school career with the dream of being a varsity letter winner in soccer, swimming and baseball.  In the spring of my sophomore year I sustained a traumatic brain injury which derailed some of these goals, but opened my eyes even further to the power of team & community spirit. While I was hospitalized in ICU my teammates played the game of their lives and each and every day of rehab I worked to get back on the field with them.  I will always carry this positive energy in my heart and believe that no matter where you play the game, you can have a powerful influence on others.”


Dominick DiTommaso with Tina Salmastrelli

Cory Zrinko started his career on skates at the ice hockey rink.  As a varsity member all four years of high school, Cory achieved rookie of the year his freshman year and the Scott Bertoli CVC Sportsmanship award his sophomore year.  Cory then went on to be assistant captain in his junior year and captain of the ice hockey team his senior year.  Cory was named one of the top 25 New Jersey high school scorers in 2013. As if he wasn’t busy enough at the rink, Cory was also a member of the golf team, receiving a varsity letter all four years and named most valuable golfer his senior year.  Cory wrote these kind words after receiving the I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship:

“I am honored to be recognized as a part of Rick’s greatness and amazing legacy left on the Lawrence High Athletic Program.  I will be attending Rutgers University New Brunswick in the Fall and will be playing ice hockey there.  I cannot put it into words how grateful I am to have been selected for this scholarship.”

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Cory Zrinko in full hockey gear

2013 Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship Recipient!

This past May, we were back at Lawrence High School to present the second annual I WILL WAIT FOR YOU: The Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship. This year we were honored to receive many submissions from applicants that were living by Rick’s team work and community minded mentality.  Although it was hard to select just one, we were proud to award the second annual Rick Salmastrelli Scholarship to Morgan Downs!


Morgan Downs is a multi-sport athlete at Lawrence High School that not only plays soccer and varsity lacrosse, but also varsity basketball.  She has dedicated a majority of her time and life thus far to sports and her teammates.  Morgan is an outgoing, loyal and warm-hearted person which spills over from the sports field into her daily life at school.  Morgan has experienced the tragic loss of her mother from cancer and even with that deep hurt and pain, she continues to be the leader and community builder that she always had been before the life changing event.  As one of her teacher’s states, “[Morgan] is a role model beyond words.” Morgan will be attending Alvernia University in the fall.

Rick’s Rock at Stuart Country Day School

After my father’s passing, many donations were made in his name to my high school Alma Mater, Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.  These donations filled my heart with love and led to the question, “How should I use these funds to illustrate my father’s love for Stuart?”

I wanted my father to be remembered and celebrated on the grounds of Stuart. I needed the present and the future Stuart to know of this amazing man as well and how much he bled Stuart green beginning in 1988 and never stopped.

One of the most beautiful things about Stuart is its grounds and how  nature was welcome inside the classrooms.  Rocks were all over the school’s grounds, INSIDE and out.  They became the backdrop of pretend play during Gouter but also became our indoor seats during story time.  There, something clicked.

Rick needed to be in a rock.  The rocks at Stuart will never move from the grounds, and now, neither will my father.  Of course, the first idea that came to mind was to put a plaque on a rock, but I needed something more permanent for this amazing man, I needed the rock engraved.  I didn’t want him to be added to the rock, but rather become part of the very core of the rock. To become a part of the grounds.  We then picked a rock on the Upper School field hockey field where my father spent hundreds of afternoons cheering me on.

There, my father would now always be present and always be proud of Stuart, its students, its parents, and its friends.

My greatest thanks goes out to all of you who donated to Stuart in honor or my father.  Thank you to Patty Fagin, Beth Crutcher, and Alicia Fuscione Walker for taking my idea and making it a reality. Thank you Stuart Country Day School for sharing your love and compassion with the Salmastrelli family, we will forever be grateful.

Thanks to Brandon Detherage, please enjoy a sampling of pictures below.

12 Apostles

Rick was notoriously famous for creating eating clubs with spectacular names.  One he created was called the “12 Apostles” (even though there were 14 members).  We want to thank the “12 Apostles” for planting this tree in the Wellington Manor community in honor of Rick.  Rick was an integral part of this neighborhood.  He had a beautiful way of making anyone and everyone feel comfortable and a part of this community.  His kind spirit will live on through this tree. Again, thank you to the “12 Apostles.”