New Carlotta Family and Friends Scholarship Fund at Horizon Awards First Eight Scholarships

The Carlotta Family and Friends Scholarship Fund, in partnership with Horizon Community Funds, awarded eight scholarships of $500 each to high school students at Boone County High School and Cooper High School.

The Carlotta Family and Friends Scholarship Fund was established to honor Sam Carlotta, a Northern Kentuckian who lives as an inspiration to those around him, even after suffering a spinal injury as a teenager that left him facing a multitude of challenges and procedures to try to regain some of his mobility and independence.

Carlotta dove into a swimming pool at his family’s apartment complex in 1981 and hit his head and neck on an inner tube, leaving him with Brown Sequard Syndrome (BSS), a rare neurological condition that causes weakness or paralysis (hemiparaplegia) on one side of the body and loss of sensation on the opposite side.

Sam Carlotta with the original image of the check that launched the fund. (File photo)

Initially, doctors weren’t sure they could cure Carlotta’s paralysis. However, after a complex procedure to implant a halo in her skull and two cervical fusion surgeries at Good Samaritan Hospital, then long-term occupational and physical therapy, rehabilitation and additional procedures, Carlotta regained some mobility and function. A group of Carlotta’s closest friends and family surprised him with a check for $32,300 to start a new scholarship fund for students at Cooper High School in Boone County.

“It’s truly inspiring to see friends and family come together to create positive change in our community,” said Nancy Grayson, President and CEO of Horizon Community Funds. “This scholarship fund will have a lasting impact on Northern Kentucky students, and we are grateful to be a part of it.”

“It’s been an amazing year for our scholarship fund,” said Sam Carlotta. “In our first year, we were able to raise over $34,000, create all required student documentation, communicate with both high schools, accept twenty applications, be included in both high schools’ senior awards night, and award eight scholarships. None of this could have been accomplished without the help of donors, family and friends, the fund’s steering committee, principals and key staff at Boone and Cooper High Schools, students who applied and Nancy and her wonderful staff at Horizon Community Fonds.

“Hopefully this is just the start of bigger things to come as we look to establish an annual fundraiser and expand to other high schools in Boone County. One big thing we changed was d include trade schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. We’ve made this change in hopes of reaching all students wishing to further their education in a variety of fields and careers. I’m still overwhelmed with the thought and generosity of my family and friends who have surprised me with this scholarship fund and for that I thank them. Our goal is to positively impact as many lives as possible!”

Fund partnerships with Horizon Community Funds offer donors a flexible way to support their favorite nonprofit or charity. Donors can make an endowed gift to support the mission of the nonprofit for generations to come or can choose to make an unendowed gift that provides funding for needs as they arise in northern Kentucky. Horizon Community Funds offers donors and fundholders a deep connection to Northern Kentucky, including its nonprofits and needs.

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