Celebrating the Graduating Class of 2021

This year, more than 150 students—either current or former patients—applied for the prestigious award, established through a generous bequest of Hartford businessman, Isidore Wise. Of that impressive group, six high school seniors were selected for their resiliency and ability to succeed despite a challenging medical diagnosis.

These are students who are passionate about their communities and selflessly volunteer to help others; all of them have graduated with academic accolades.

The Isidore Wise Scholarship fund was established through a generous bequest from Mr. Isidore Wise, a member of the Newington Children’s Hospital Board of Directors for 45 years. Since 1996, Connecticut Children’s has stewarded these funds by awarding educational scholarships to high school students who have an association with Connecticut Children’s.


2021 Isidore Wise Scholarship Recipients

Meet the Recipients

William Allen

Billy is a senior at Bethel High School. He is a proud Eagle Scout, and chose to build a sandbox at his local playground for his Eagle Scout project. His service as an Eagle Scout has allowed him to volunteer in many capacities, including food drives and community beautification projects. At Bethel High School, he served as a peer tutor in mathematics and science, and volunteered at summer school to assist a class of special needs students. He will attend Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall and plans to study chemical engineering.

Zachary DelGaizo

Zachary is a senior at Pathways of Technology and Design School in East Hartford. An active member of his community, Zachary serves as the secretary of the Youth Commission and is a member of the Sustainability Commission. These local governmental committees support the town of Manchester in fostering youth-centric initiatives and environmentally sustainable practices. Further, Zachary serves on the Hartford Foundation Community Fund Advisory Board to distribute grant dollars to worthy local initiatives. He will attend Trinity College in the fall and plans to double major in history and political science.

Ava Dubuc

Ava is a senior at Berlin High School. Her time spent in-patient as a teenager at Connecticut Children’s inspired her to give back to the hospital. Ava started a Teen and Young Adult wish list for the hospital to ensure older patients had access to activities and comfort items that interest them. She is passionate about fitness, and post diagnosis is stronger than she has ever been. She will attend the University of Tampa in the spring to study marketing.

Riley Kenney

Riley is a senior at Fairfield Warde High School. She is an avid basketball player, and participated all four years of high school. Last summer she travelled to West Virginia to help fix and rebuild houses for a week, and even brought running water back to an out-of-service bathroom. She also volunteers as a basketball coach and at a children’s library supporting elementary school children. In support of the National Eating Disorder Association, Riley organized a team to participate in a fundraising walk. Her team was the top fundraising team in Connecticut and third in the country. Riley will attend Marist College in the fall to study psychology.

Karolena Rafferty

Karolena is a senior at Newtown High School. She is the President of Newtown’s Environmental Club, and teaches others about sustainability and climate change. The club prepares a presentation each year for Newtown’s Earth Day Festival to teach community members about their impact on the environment and the small changes that can implement that can make a big difference. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and previously volunteered as a Spanish tutor. Karolena will attend Mount Holyoke College in the fall to study psychology.

Sabella Volansky

Sabella is a senior at New Milford High School. She has been dancing since age two—dance is her passion and she enjoys competition, and serving as an assistant dance teacher and Dance Buddies Mentor. In addition to dance, Sabella is an officer in the French Honor Society and a student leader in the Dylan’s Wings of Change Group to promote inclusion and empathy for all. Sabella has been featured in the Connecticut Children’s GROW Campaign and serves as an ambassador and advocate for Connecticut Children’s. Sabella’s experience at Connecticut Children’s inspired her to pursue a career as a pediatric physical therapist. She will attend Elon University in the fall in the Accelerated Pathways DPT program to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.