Every picture tells a story -- this one has a happy ending

February 04, 1994|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Sun Staff Writer

It was a picture-perfect moment.

Amy Lumaro's eyes grew wide, then watery, as she listened to a man she didn't know tell her she had won a contest she didn't know she'd entered.

Her parents, Philip and Ellen Lumaro, smiled gently, nervously, as they watched their daughter accept an oversized check that represents a $10,000 college scholarship and a shot at her dream.

Her guidance counselor, Mindy McGhin, laughed and cried in the background and said, without prompting, "She's just a really wonderful young lady."

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The folks at Segall-Majestic Photography had just made another memory.

And what a memory for Amy, a 17-year-old Parkville High School senior, who has been dreaming of going to college while worrying about how to pay for it. As the winner of Segall-Majestic's first college scholarship, she'll be able to worry less and dream more.

When she walked into the school library yesterday morning, she thought she was in really big trouble. She was not expecting her parents -- to say nothing of her grandparents -- to be at school, but she had seen them from the hall.

"I was really, really scared," she said later. "I thought I did something wrong. My parents never had to come to school before."

But they were in on the surprise presentation, as was Ms. McGhin and Parkville principal Jean Jagodzinski. They all knew Amy had won the scholarship -- her name selected at random from 50,000 students in Maryland and Virginia whose senior pictures had been taken by the Catonsville school photographers.

"What is this all about?" she asked her parents as she walked into the room. They only smiled.

"It's good, Amy. It's something good," Ms. Jagodzinski said.

Then Jeffrey Segall, the photo company president, told the anxious young woman she'd won the scholarship -- $2,500 a year for four years to spend at the college of her choice.

"All I can say is, Wow," Amy said.

"How long have you known about this?" she asked her mother.

"About a week," said Mrs. Lumaro, who conceded later she was probably more nervous than her daughter.

Mrs. Lumaro said Amy talks every night about going to college.

"That's her dream, to go to college. But college is expensive, very expensive," said Mrs. Lumaro, who works part-time with her husband at the concrete company he owns in Baltimore. She also works nights in a grocery story. The Lumaros have another daughter, Maria, who is 11. Amy works, too -- in another grocery store -- to make money for college.

When the shock subsided, Amy said she wants to study economics at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and become an accountant.

"I love math. Math is my favorite subject," she said. "I want to go to college and make something of myself. Have a good job, a good career and be able to pay for it all.

"It's a lot closer for me now," she said, looking again at the huge check.

Mr. Segall said his company decided to start a scholarship while exploring ways "to give back to the communities we serve."

"With an emphasis on education and the increasingly competitive world these kids face, we thought a scholarship was a good idea," said the Owings Mills resident.

"We're lucky it's going to such a needy and deserving individual. Amy is a wonderful example of the type of student we hope to connect with," he said.

Ms. McGhin said Amy is a solid B student, a talented musician and a hard worker.

"When she says she wants to be a CPA, she really means it," said the counselor, who has known Amy for four years.

When Amy starts college next fall, she'll be breaking new ground not only for herself but for all the Lumaros. "I'll be the only person in my family to go to college," she said. "I'll be the first person in my father's family to finish high school."

As the presentation wound down, Amy relaxed, but kept smiling. "I'm so happy," she said. "I'm really surprised. Nothing like this has ever happened to me."

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