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Spring Valley HS Senior Wins Maria Luisa Award

Melissa Denizard will be heading off to Babson College this fall with a little bit extra money to spend on books and freshman essentials, thanks to the ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship. Denizard was presented a $1,000 check by Maria Luisa Whittingham, owner of Maria Luisa Boutique and ML by Maria Luisa in Nyack, during a June 8 award ceremony.
The Spring Valley High School senior is a National Honor Society member, activist and filmmaker. In addition to the Maria Luisa award, Denizard has also won the Edward Hopper House Scholarship for Artistic Curiosity. During her four years at Spring Valley High School, she founded the StrongER Students, a student group that advocates for a just educational experience in the East Ramapo Central School District and she co-founded the Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley chapter. Denizard was class president during her sophomore and senior years; she also founded the Ladies & Men of Light Club at Spring Valley HS, a program dedicated to helping young women and men reach their full potential.

Melissa Denizard receives the 2017 ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship Award from the Rockland Community Foundation’s Paul Adler and Maria Whittingham.

The ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2015 to Rockland County high school female seniors who demonstrate a desire to learn and foster principles of civic and community involvement, social justice, inequality and related interests supporting Fair Trade and eco-friendly principles.
Whittingham said that this year’s judges were unanimous in their decision to select Denizard. Now in her 30th year as a Nyack merchant, the scholarship has been a longtime dream of Whittingham to give back to the community. The scholarship program is administered by the Rockland Community Foundation.
The guidelines for the 2018 scholarship will be expanded to include applicants who identify as female. For more information on the scholarship, visit

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