Tomorrow’s Leaders Celebrated at the AFPD Foundation’s Scholarship Luncheon
By Kris Harris
The 8th Annual Joseph D. Sarafa Scholarship luncheon was held at the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC) on Tuesday, June 28th to congratulate this year’s scholarship recipients. The event hosted sponsors, students, parents, AFPD members and guest speakers to an afternoon celebration of the future leaders of tomorrow in the heart of the city. In total, 38 students received scholarships at the luncheon, which was held in the main Ballroom of the DAC.
The luncheon’s Masters of Ceremony were AFPD President and CEO, Auday Arabo and former AFPD Chairman of the Board Joe Bellino Jr., who presented the scholarships to this year’s winning students. The $1,500 scholarships were awarded to extraordinary and deserving students who will attend or who are already attending an accredited public college, private college or university.
The event opened with a prayer from Rev. Nicholas Hood Jr. After the prayer, Arabo announced that a special scholarship would be awarded in honor of the late Rev. Nicholas Hood Sr. Prior to his death; the Rev. Hood Sr. was the Minister Emeritus of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit.
Ed Weglarz, AFPD’s Director of Petroleum, introduced Dan Loepp, President & CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan who was the first of two keynote speakers. Loepp offered the students advice in three areas. “One, make as many personal and professional connections as you can, no one achieves anything without the help from others. Two, try to never lose sight of the things that matter most, your health, your family and your friends and make time to invest in all of them. And third, look for ways to use your talents and your passion to make your mark on the world.”
Joe Sarafa, who the scholarship is named after, introduced the luncheon’s second keynote speaker Jim Petcoff, Chairman & CEO of Conifer Insurance Company. Petcoff’s message was that although education begins at school, it’s really a constant process. “School provides the basic understanding of principles and learning for a person, but for a person to get educated, he needs to be involved in society and gain many various experiences. The smartest people will never achieve without learning how to communicate and deal with people.”
Before the scholarships were awarded, Arabo provided the students with some insight about the event’s speakers. “The thing I want to say about Dan and Jim is that on top of their titles and accomplishments, what really makes them very special is they’re very good people,” said Arabo. “Good things do happen to good people and don’t let anybody kid you on that. They stayed true to who where they were and people do notice that, especially the higher up you get.”
In total, $57,000 in scholarships was awarded to various students not only in Michigan, but throughout the Midwest, including Ohio and Illinois. With this year’s scholarships, the AFPD Foundation has distributed more than $700,000 in scholarship funds to the employees and family members of member businesses, their customers, and financially disadvantaged youth.
Arabo’s final message to the students was to not be afraid of failure and to realize that there are valuable lessons to be learned in those moments. “The only time you really fail is if you actually quit,” said Arabo. “That’s what really builds your character inside. Don’t be afraid of failure, failure is actually going to get you further in life than you think .”
The AFPD Foundation’s scholarship program would not be possible without the support and generous contributions from various sponsors throughout the Midwest.
If you are interested in sponsoring a scholar for the 2017 event, please call Maegan Hesano at (800) 666-6233. Sign up today as a sponsor and help the AFPD Foundation invest in the Leaders of Tomorrow!