Courtesy of Tony Latora
Roman Zwierzchowski, a recently graduated senior, has been announced as the first recipient of the Dante Latora Memorial Scholarship.
After the passing of the beloved student Dante Latora last March, his father, Tony Latora wanted to create something that would give him homage.
“Some friends that were supporting our family through the shock of Dante’s death suggested it in lieu of flowers as it would be a more lasting tribute,” Latora said. “They began the process of setting up the fund and I have managed the day to day administration since that time.”
The scholarship is planned to be offered once a year to a worthy student. The student can come from anywhere in the Portage school district who writes a single page essay that is free form telling Latora why they think they deserve the scholarship.
“Our plan is to award $1,000 each year to a deserving student,” Latora said. “Our hope is it will be a graduating senior for the upcoming school year. The recipient can use the money for whatever they see fit. Our vision was that the grant was approximately the amount spent on books for a full year at college and the amount was determined accordingly.”
Zwierzchowski says he was thankful for the scholarship and how it helped him a lot. He spent his money on college books, as a single book can range anywhere from 200- 400 dollars.
Latora discusses that he believes that Zwierzchowski was the applicant who deserved the scholarship the most. He said that he had a very well written essay that described how Dante and him may not have been the best of friends, but they worked well together.
“During the season the whole [wrestling] team was pretty close,” Zwierzchowski said. “We were with each other practically everyday. Dante and I were training partners most of the time because we pushed each other to be better.”
The Latora family struggles coping with the loss of their son, but they are also very grateful to have people in their community to help them out with a great program for recently graduated seniors.
“Obviously the loss of our beloved son has been incredibly difficult on our family,” Latora said. “It is our hope that through the scholarship fund and the generous donations from friends, family, members of the local community and the national wrestling community [that] we can bring some opportunity to a deserving recipient and allow Dante’s memory to live on.”