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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Viola Sastavickas Scholarship Awarded to Raceja Velavan

Joanne Rabbitt, Library Director, Clayton Cheever; Raceja, Page Supervisor and acting head of Borrower Services; Donna Montgomery, 2023-2024 Chair of the Board; and Kate Tigue, Head of Children’s Services and Chapter Chair of the AFSCME Library Unit at the Morrill Memorial Library.

Joseph and Viola Sastavickas and their children used the library for many years. In the last years before Viola’s death, they received service in their home from the Homebound Deliveries Department of the library. When Mrs. Sastavickas passed away in 2006, her children made a generous donation to the library to endow a perpetual $500 scholarship in memory of their mother. Additional familial support has raised the annual scholarship to $1,000. According to her daughter, Kathy Sastavickas, the scholarship is “a fitting tribute to our beautiful mother and to the library and staff which treated her with great respect and affection.” 

This year a committee reviewed the applications submitted and selected Raceja Velavan to receive the Viola Sastavickas Scholarship, now in its 17th  year. This committee included the 2022-2023 Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees, Marguerite Cummings; the Chapter Chair of the AFSCME Library Unit, Kate Tigue; and Library Director Clayton Cheever.

“Raceja is a dedicated scholar who is destined for greatness,” Director Cheever noted. “Her passion, motivation, and skill at working well with everyone she encounters make her stand out amongst her peers.” 

In the fall, Raceja will be starting her third of seven years of studies at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) in Boston. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Premedical Health Studies—Medicine Pathway and is aiming to earn a combined Bachelor of Science in Premedical Health Studies from MCPHS and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine in Grenada. 

This scholarship will help offset the expenses raceja will incur in her academic journey. As an employee at the Morrill Memorial Library, Raceja has proved herself an invaluable team member, always reliable, and eager to take on new challenges. Her first volunteer opportunity was at the library when she was in middle school and helped in the children’s department. She returned to the library in the summer before her second year in college and credits the library with helping her develop her self-confidence, communication skills, and ability to work well with members of the public. After immigrating to the United States from India when she was in middle school, Raceja has already accomplished so much. Her colleagues report always being delighted when they have an opportunity to work with her and the entire library staff agree that the healthcare field is going to be very lucky to have her once she graduates in a few years. 

“Raceja is a perfect candidate for this award and will put it to great use in her studies,” Director Cheever said.