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Three Local Students Receive First County Bank Scholarships

Recognized for outstanding citizenship

Stamford, CT | Added on June 16, 2014 At 12:25 PM

Three local high school students were awarded scholarships for their outstanding citizenship.  

Casey Bang from Staples High School in Westport, Claire Howlett from Westhill High School in Stamford and Lila Sferlazza from Norwalk High School each received the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award, administered by the First County Bank Foundation.  The annual award honors high school students in lower Fairfield County who consistently demonstrate good citizenship at school at home and in the community.  Each year, the program awards $5,000 scholarships to three deserving students and is designed to recognize and encourage young people who are honest, hard-working, helpful and fair.  The scholarship money will be applied toward their college education. 

“The Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award provides scholarships to exceptional graduating high school seniors who exemplify good citizenship and service to our local communities,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank, and president of the foundation. “First County Bank Foundation values these character traits in others and demonstrates them through its support of nonprofit organizations providing community and economic development for children and families. We are excited to present scholarships to these amazing students knowing that we are supporting future leaders with a heart toward service."

The award is named after Richard E. Taber who retired as chairman and CEO of First County Bank in March 2011. It is in recognition of Taber’s 40-plus-year career at the bank and innumerable contributions to the community through the First County Bank Foundation.

“The achievements of these young adults in the realms of citizenship, leadership, academics, service and sportsmanship are being honored with this award,” said Richard Taber, a member of the board of directors at First County Bank. “I am very proud to have my name associated with three such generous and talented young adults.”

“I got the call from Mr. Giallongo and I was so surprised and excited. It made me feel proud to be selected to get the scholarship and I’m pleased to have the award so I can help contribute to my tuition. This fall, I’ll be studying architecture because I enjoy math and art, and this major combines both my interests. My future plans include joining an architecture firm or extending college to a 5 year program then starting my own architecture business," said Sferlazza. This fall, she will be studying architecture at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Bang, who will attend Boston College Lynch School of Education in Massachusetts, said, “I received the call while watching TV and saw a call come in on the screen from First County Bank. I freaked out thinking they were rejecting me. I was very surprised when I heard from Mr. Giallongo that I was awarded a scholarship. I’m interested in studying psychology and plan to explore human services or counselling.” 

Her mom added that she was, “very pleasantly surprised too. For Casey, community work has always come first and she has an internship at the Jewish Senior Center which she enjoys. Getting the scholarship from the First County Bank Foundation will help offset the high cost of tuition. We are very appreciative that Casey was recognized in this way.”

“When I got the call from First County Bank Foundation, I was so excited. I am truly honored and grateful. First County Bank means a lot to me and I am so thankful for this scholarship which will really help with the cost of attending Stanford University in California, which is so far away,” said Claire Howlett. “I am interested in studying public policy, international relations and US and world politics.”

The Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award does not seek to salute star scholastic or athletic performers, but is weighted towards demonstrated leadership and caring for the community in which we live. The criteria for selection are best defined by the word: C.L.A.S.S. (Citizenship; Leadership; Academics; Service; Sportsmanship)

Each recipient receives a personalized certificate; a check for $5,000 sent directly to the school of choice; a congratulatory advertisement will appear in the local newspaper, including a photo; and winners will be prominently displayed with a photo on First County Bank’s website.

Established in 2001 in honor of the bank’s 150th anniversary, the First County Bank Foundation was created to distribute funds annually to nonprofit organizations that support community and economic development for children and families. As a mutual bank with no shareholders, First County Bank considers contributions made by the foundation a means of paying dividends back to the local communities it serves.

The foundation accepts student applications from Jan. 1 to April 30. Winners are notified in May.

For additional information, please visit Become a fan by clicking “Like” on the bank’s Facebook page at Follow the bank on Twitter at or look for First County Bank on LinkedIn at



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