BANGOR — The Tramuto Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by Ogunquit resident Donato Tramuto, has granted a four-year scholarship to an outstanding member of the Bangor High School Class of 2019.
Sofia Wittmann, who will graduate from Bangor High School on June 16, was awarded the Tramuto Foundation Scholarship during the Academics Awards Night May 15. At the age of 15, Wittmann co-founded Steps for Souls, a suicide prevention and awareness event focused on a positive approach to suicide prevention at Bangor High School. Wittmann will attend the University of Vermont where she will pursue a degree in global studies.
Matthew Chase, who graduated from Wells High School Class June 9, received the Tramuto Foundation Scholarship award at that school’s Scholarship Awards Night last week.
Each year the Tramuto Foundation provides scholarships to a senior class member at Bangor High School and Wells High School who have succeeded in the face of adversity to achieve personal excellence.
Students are chosen based on their ability, efforts and the determination they have shown to contend with or overcome the challenges they have faced. Scholarship, community service, school activities, character, leadership qualities and demonstrated financial need are also considered.
In addition to the scholarship, each student is paired with a mentor from the Tramuto Foundation’s board of directors. These mentors are tasked with providing the student with guidance and support throughout the student’s college years. The relationship Tramuto scholars establish with their mentors help develop connections and networks necessary for the students to meet their ultimate career goals beyond college.
“Each of these distinguished students has experienced ‘bulldozer moments’ in their lives – serious, significant challenges that they have overcome and used as transformational opportunities to achieve personal success,” Tramuto said, referring to his book, “Life’s Bulldozer Moments, How Adversity Can Lead to Success in Life and Business”. “We’re proud to support bright and thoughtful students like Sofia and look forward to watching what she will accomplish in her mission to make the world more just and fair.”
Wittmann was only 13 when she suffered in silence while trying to overcome feelings of depression and sadness. Two years later when two close friends committed suicide, she decided to take action. Along with two close friends, Wittmann co-founded Steps for Souls in honor of the friends they had recently lost.
“In the three years since the founding of Steps for Souls, I’ve received countless messages from people who’ve called me an inspiration and a role model, but I am neither. I am human,” Wittmann wrote in her scholarship application. “Steps for Souls has given me the opportunity to share my story with people young and old through speaking at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention events, acting in the Northern Light Acadia Hospital, ‘Acadia CARES’ video series, and by providing a platform based on acceptance and strength among the young people ion our community.”
A top academic student, Wittmann is a four-year member of the BHS math team, a champion pole vaulter and captain of the indoor and outdoor track teams.
In his recommendation to the Tramuto Foundation, BHS Director of Guidance Adam Leach wrote, “Sofia is an amazing combination of passion, compassion and grit. She showed great leadership, well beyond her age, in challenging the norms for supporting individuals who are at risk of suicide. She was motivated to move on an issue of the highest level of social need and she has delivered.”
For more information about the Tramuto Foundation, visit tramutofoundation.com.
About Tramuto Foundation:
Since 2001, the Tramuto Foundation has helped tens of thousands of people realize the mission of creating a brighter future through student scholarships, as well as financial grants to organizations worldwide whose vision is to help right the wrong and make this world a better place for all. The Foundation has served as a voice in creating partnerships that have a sustainable and measureable impact in making the world more just and fair.