Leia Morrissey receives Stein Family Scholarship from TJF

May 5, 2022

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The annual Stein Family College Scholarship of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation is awarded this year to Leia Morrissey, a soon-to-be graduate of Granby High School in Norfolk.

Morrissey is the 15th recipient of the four-year scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 per year to a Jewish student in Tidewater. The scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Arlene Stein, who did not complete college because of financial hardship. Arlene passed away in 2007 and Jerry Stein, her beloved husband, in 2014. TJF works closely with the Stein family each year to administer the scholarship.

“I am beyond honored to receive the Stein Family Scholarship,” says Morrissey. “‘I’m going to never not appreciate it. I’ll continue earning it by doing well in college and making everyone back home proud.”

For Morrissey, the journey to making her loved ones proud begins at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

“I’ve always been interested in architecture, but it’s only recently that I was interested in it as a career,” says Morrissey. “It wasn’t until 10th grade when I took an art history class and part of that included architecture and learning about it. The more I researched, and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to do it.”

Thanks to the Stein Family Scholarship, Morrissey will be able to attend UVA without a massive financial burden.

“It really was the last puzzle piece for me figuring out my college situation because I really wanted to go to UVA,” says Morrissey. “But it’s expensive and I hadn’t gotten any substantial scholarships or financial aid yet. So, to get this, I was finally able to commit to UVA and pursue my education there.”

In addition to her passion for architecture, Morrissey is involved with both her school and the community. At Granby High School, she’s the deputy drum major for the marching band, forensics team captain, and the co-editor of the school’s literary magazine, the Cupola. A member of Ohef Sholom Temple, Morrissey has held various leadership positions with Ohef Sholom Temple’s Youth Group, including serving as president from 2019 to 2020.

“I’ve been a member of the youth group since my bat mitzvah,” says Morrissey. “We do lots of community service for our temple, the Jewish community in the area, and the community of Ghent where Ohef Sholom Temple is located.”

Morrissey is also a lead assistant at Ohef Sholom Temple’s Hebrew School, where she helps students learn Hebrew.

“I’ve been enjoying volunteering and teaching these kids,” says Morrissey. “Hebrew requires a little more patience and time. But it’s really rewarding to see these kids progress and help them learn the prayers and become ready for their own bar and bat mitzvahs.”

Now, with the Stein Family Scholarship in hand, Morrissey is preparing for her journey at UVA.

“The Stein Family Scholarship will definitely help with being able to afford to go to college,” says Morrissey. “I’ve gotten the resources and help I’ve needed from the Tidewater Jewish Foundation to be able to kick start this journey.”

Prior recipients of the scholarship include Morgan Conley (Brandeis University ’13), Eric Smith (University of Virginia ’14), Marissa Arager (George Mason University ’15), Avi Malkin (College of William and Mary ’16), Dinar Yusufov (James Madison University ’17), Amanda Gladstone (Virginia Tech ’18), Dana Cohen (Virginia Tech ’19), Brett Pomerantz (Virginia Tech ’20), Sydney Levine (University of Virginia ’21), and Lucie Waldman (Old Dominion University), Faith White (Kent State University ’23), Emily Myers (Shenandoah University, ‘24), and Danial Watts (Virginia Tech ‘25).

For more information and to apply for next year’s Stein Family College Scholarship, contact Ann Swindell, Tidewater Jewish Foundation donor relations and grant manager, at aswindell@ujft.org or 757-965-6111.

-Thomas Mills


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