Announcing the Winner of the Annual $5,000 DRI Foundation High School Senior Scholarship!

DRI Scholarship - Pelis PicDaniel Pelis is “a quiet leader” and “not a big guy for the spotlight,” says his father Paul Pelis. But the spotlight is something Daniel is going to have to get used to as the winner of this year’s DRI Foundation high school senior scholarship!

Pelis will receive a $5,000 scholarship made possible by the generosity of DRI International and DRI Canada, which was open to both U.S. and Canadian high school seniors who are enrolling in a 4-year undergraduate program for the upcoming fall semester. He also had to have his picture taken and do an interview! (He was a pro at both. –ed).  Applicants were judged based on a list of submission criteria, including academics, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, and an essay on preparedness. To qualify, the applicant’s parent or legal guardian had to be a DRI International Certified Professional in good standing.

“When we asked high school seniors to put themselves in the shoes of future leaders dealing with challenges like terrorism and natural disasters, I thought that might be a bit of reach. Not so,” said DRI Foundation Chair AnneMarie Staley. “Daniel’s essay was specific, relevant, and proactive. Clearly, his training as a Boy Scout has truly led him to ‘Be Prepared.’ And I suspect being the son of a continuity professional also contributed mightily. It is my pleasure to congratulate Daniel and wish him well in his studies.”

Pelis, who graduated from Sachem High School North last week, will be a freshman at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ in the fall. He is from Lake Grove, NY and will be majoring in engineering. An Eagle Scout, Pelis has a distinguished academic record, as well as extensive volunteer experience in his community. Not surprisingly, he’s a big believer in preparedness.

“As a child I always remember attending local fairs and seeing the fire trucks and I think that’s really where education about preparedness stops in most cases. We’re prepared for a fire in our house, but we’re not prepared for a hurricane in our community or a lot of other things that really could happen.”

Through the Boy Scouts, Pelis earned an emergency management badge. Instruction for the badge was led by his dad, who says: “The badge instills the concepts of prepare, respond, recover, prevent, and mitigate. It starts by focusing the scout on local home preparedness, by having the scout prepare a risk assessment of emergency scenarios that they would most likely see and understand do a paper test on how to respond to each. The scout must prepare a first aid kit based on his pre-required first aid training, an escape plan from his home for him and his family with a meet up location, and a ‘go’ bag that he would take in the event he needs to evacuate. Additionally, the scout needs to understand about the local, state, and federal organizations that are involved and how he and the Boy Scouts might be called upon to serve their community in an emergency event.”

Little wonder his son had award-winning ideas about preparedness!

Daniel is “very excited” about his big win, and Paul – a CBCP and principal at PMA Technology Solutions – is a duly proud papa.

“Dan is a great kid,” he said. “I’m proud of him. I’m lucky, really, to be his father. And we’re very grateful to DRI for the scholarship.”

Click here to read the winning essay.