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      Italian-Canadian student creates scholarship fund

      Nov. 6, 2017

      Nonna AddolorataWhen 23-year old Cessidia De Biasio is not pursuing her graduate studies at the University of Windsor, she is putting her time and effort into a scholarship fund that she herself created in honour of her late grandmother.

      “The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship combined my two passions, the need for affordable education and the preservation of our families’ stories by providing future generations with opportunities our ancestors never had. I sincerely believe that no matter your family’s country of origin, we all share something in common; we are all here today thanks to our ancestors who paved the way for us,” she explains in her mission statement.

      De Biasio was only four years old when her Nonna Addolorata passed away. Yet she has a vivid memory of her grandmother, her backyard garden, her chickens, and the family meals she orchestrated. She cherishes dearly the last photograph she posed for with her Nonna at a cousin’s wedding with “Nonna in her blue dress.”

      De Biasio grew up hearing stories about her four grandparents, the struggles they faced and the sacrifices they made for their families. Her Nonna Addolorata in particular would become a widow during WWII with five young children to care for, including De Biasio’s mother who was only six months old at the time.

      Cessidia De BiasioDe Biasio was born and raised in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex, one of the most diverse communities in Canada. She was always well aware that her comfortable upbringing and her access to good education was a gift, afforded to her by her parents’ and grandparents’ hard work. She wanted to do something that could help others who were not as lucky as her.

      “We complain today, but we experience no where close to what they went through,” De Biasio comments.

      Thus far, the Scholarship has raised just under $20,000. De Biasio hopes to reach the $40,000 mark in the coming years. Once the Scholarship raises $25,000, the application and selection process to award the first scholarship will start, with the end goal of awarding one University of Windsor student a $1,500 scholarship every year.

      De Biasio is the youngest person to ever approach her university about creating an endowment fund.

      “It’s a learning curve for both sides,” De Biasio muses.

      In the meantime, De Biasio is set to complete her degree before the end of the year, and will start on her MBA soon after.

      De Biasio admits that the process has had – as with any charity endeavour – its challenges.

      “I always try to remember the purpose of this scholarship. And my family has been great. My parents have been very supportive. They’ve kept me level-headed and motivated to keep going.”

      The Scholarship has started a campaign with, selling “Future Proof” t-shirts with proceeds going to the Scholarship. Individuals and companies can also make direct donations to the fund.

      To learn more about the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship, please visit You can also follow the Scholarship on Facebook.

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