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35th annual Al Cesky Scholarship Fund banquet canceled due to uncertainty over coronavirus

The Al Cesky Scholarship Fund’s annual scholarship banquet and golf tournament have both been canceled this year because of continued uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24 scholarships will still be awarded this year to student-athletes, the foundation announced late last week. The winners will be announced in early May.

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“This was not an easy decision for us,” Bob McCone, president of the Cesky scholarship Fund, said. “These students are so deserving of their awards, we want to see them recognized. But we don’t know what’s coming in the next few weeks and months, so we can’t move forward.”

Besides creating a national health emergency, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the local business community.

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“Because of the coronavirus, the economic situation is really serious, with no relief in sight for our businesses,” McCone said. “It’s difficult to ask businesses struggling themselves, that have been partners with us for 35 years, for their money. They need their money at this time also.”

Each year, 24 graduating high school student-athletes, a male and female representing Harford County's 12 senior classes, are honored at the Annual ACSF Awards Banquet.

A male and female from among those student-athletes receive $5,000 to help defray the cost of their post-secondary education, while the remaining 22 winners each receive $2,000 scholarships for a combined total of $54,000 each year.

Nominations are based on the student's academic and athletic achievement as well as demonstrated leadership, community service experience and financial need. Selection committees within the individual schools nominate the 24 scholarship recipients. The ACSF selection committee anonymously reviews the applications and selects the two $5,000 winners.

The 35th annual banquet, which also serves as a fundraiser, had been scheduled for May 20 at Richlin Ballroom, which is closed as Harford residents are strongly urged to stay at home while public gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

Board members are still considering how to award the scholarships, but said it depends if and when school resumes for the year. Were school to resume, the scholarships could be presented at the senior awards ceremonies. Banquet booklets, which includes each student’s name and biographical information, will still be printed so the students have something to commemorate their award.

Regardless of how the scholarships are presented, the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund Inc. is committed to honoring its financial commitment to the winners.

The 31st annual golf tournament had been scheduled for July at Maryland Golf and Country Clubs. The fund’s biggest fundraiser typically generates a considerable amount to be used toward scholarships.

The Susquehanna River Running Festival is still on schedule for Sept. 26. A decision on the half-marathon, 10K and 5K will be made early this summer, “but for now we’re still planning the event as if it’s going to happen,” McCone said.

Donations to the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund can be made at alceskyscholarship.org.

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