Scholarship for Heroism Applications Now Being Accepted

TRENTON – The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) is currently accepting applications for the Dana Christmas Scholarship for Heroism.

The scholarship was created in as a tribute to Dana Christmas who, at great risk to her personal safety, rescued students from a fire in one of the dormitories at Seton Hall University in 1991.


Awarded annually in the amount of $10,000, the scholarship recognizes up to five students for their acts of heroism. The scholarship can be used at any college that is approved for Title IV federal financial aid.

“Ms. Christmas demonstrated courage beyond her years and prevented what could have been a catastrophic loss of life when a fire broke out in the Boland Hall at Seton Hall University,” said Michael Angulo, executive director of HESAA. “Her heroism is commemorated each year when we award up to five new heroes a scholarship of $10,000.”

Candidates for the scholarship must be nominated and an application must be submitted on their behalf describing the act. Students must be 21 years or younger at the time of the act and at the time of the application. The application deadline for 2009 is Oct. 15, at which time all applications are reviewed to determine which applicants meet the spirit of the scholarship through having acted in an extraordinary way at great risk to their own personal safety to benefit the lives of others. Students must meet citizenship and selective service requirements in order to be considered.

Last year’s recipient Shane Rawls, like Christmas, was in the right place at the right time when a fire broke out in his home and he was able awaken his family and help to safety. He then returned to the burning home to rescue his dog. To date, 36 students have been honored with the Dana Christmas Scholarship.

“New Jersey islucky is have heroes like Dana and Shane,” Angulo said. “It is terrific to know that our young people respond heroically in times of crisis.”

This year’s recipients will be notified in November. Applications and nomination forms can be obtained at

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