Two win entrepreneurship scholarships
Two Bayport-Blue Point seniors have received the Future Tech Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship. Lily Hooks and Margaret Ross, who are both two-sport athletes in running, were each awarded $10,000 and participation in an ongoing mentorship program, an award initially intended to have one recipient.
Both were invited to a dinner on May 29 and were surprised to find out that both of their applications exceeded expectations and that they would both receive the scholarship.
Winning the scholarship, sponsored by the Holbrook-based IT solutions company Future Tech Enterprise Inc., called for submitting an innovative idea and supporting business plan. Bob Venero, CEO and president of Future Tech, attended Bayport-Blue Point schools and was an athlete.
Both aspiring entrepreneurs, Hooks and Ross expressed that their participation in athletics had a large impact on their career paths and where they are today.
"It was a lot of learning from sports, the competition, how you have to drive, how you have to do it yourself if you want to get something," Hooks said. "I know that I have to go out and do things for myself. In talking to Mr. Venero, I definitely saw that. That's going to go a long way, even past the scholarship itself."
Hooks, a Bayport resident, has experience in entrepreneurship, too. She and her family own the company ScreenMend, a wax product that patches holes in window screens. They appeared on Shark Tank in Season 5 and accepted an offer from shark Lori Grenier.
"The confidence that I, my family and my company had gained from the whole experience has really shown in the growth of our business. It was reassuring,” she said.
Ross, a Blue Point resident, began exploring the entrepreneurial career path during high school, as she had been involved in theater, sports and expressed interest in history, calculus and other subjects.
"I've always been very open-minded with the opportunities I want to go after," Ross said. "I've always wanted to make a positive impact, but I've always seen that through volunteerism. Now, it's seeing how I can actually produce a product or an idea."
Ross received 10 awards and scholarships at recent school awards ceremonies for academic and/or athletic achievements.
Hooks and Ross have known each other since middle school and have run on the winter and spring track teams together since junior year. Hooks is a sprinter and Ross is a distance runner.
"We’re not always together at track, but whenever we had a chance, we would hang out with each other," Hooks said. "The best part of track was forming relationships with people you didn't really know you had things in common with. It's really incredible how much a team can bring people together."
Ross was first a soccer player, being called up to the high school team in eighth grade. She stopped playing soccer so she could run year-round cross country in the fall, and track in the winter and spring.
“It's been awesome to have Lily as a teammate," Ross said. "We're also in class together this year. We've definitely gotten a lot closer."
Hooks will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall. Ross will be attending Stony Brook University.
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