The Michael Aymar Foundation awards $10,000 to two Middle School Students. 

The Michael Aymar foundation has now awarded $57,500 in scholarships in less than six years, symbolizing the local non-profit’s remarkable impact in the Essex County area.

The Michael Aymar Foundation kicks off the season of Thanksgiving with their NASHDO Scholarships to two middle school students at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Bloomfield. NASHDO was a fun way Mr. Aymar helped his students remember a basic grammar rule: Not All Sentences Have Direct Objects.  

The Michael Aymar Foundation (“MAF”) is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization founded in April 2016 that honors Michael Aymar, a former English teacher who taught middle school students in New Jersey Catholic schools for over 22 years. Their mission is to provide scholarships for middle school students enrolled in Catholic schools whose families have been affected by adversity related to death, illness or a job loss. 

COVID has provided many opportunities for the foundation to touch the lives of families impacted by income challenges. Catholic schools managed to keep in person learning during COVID and this proved attractive to many parents who needed this environment for their children as the remote work option was not available for them. Many of the families appreciated the academic focus their children enjoyed in the classroom allowing them to master the basic skills they need to become responsible learners. 

The foundation has built a strong partnership with Michael Petrillo, the principal at  St. Thomas the Apostle in Bloomfield. Principal Petrillo’s push to create awareness of the Foundation’s work at his school resulted in two deserving students being awarded scholarships.

Anthony Cinelli, with his mom Jennifer and MAF Board members, Amanda Aymar, Mia Aymar-Smith, Peter Aymar and Noel Gonzalez.

Anthony Cinelli is a 6th grader whose passions are math and STEM subjects. He transferred to St. Thomas the Apostle during COVID and his mom Jennifer could not be more grateful for her family for guiding her to choose St. Thomas the Apostle. Since transferring, Anthony has thrived in the new learning environment and Jennifer found the in person environment she needed for her only son. COVID may have caused her to lose her job, but the “shut down” gave her the courage to take control of  her own fate and start her own skincare business! 

Henrick Gonzalez is an 8th grader, active member of the chess club at school, and a lover of sports, particularly soccer.  He plans on attending Seton Hall Preparatory School next fall. COVID affected his family who have a firm belief in Catholic education and awarding him with a scholarship brings the Foundation back to the roots of Mr. Aymar’s teaching in Union City where his journey as an educator began. Mr. Aymar’s first class was made up of mostly immigrant families who, like the Gonzalezes, value faith, family and education. 

Henrick Gonzalez with his mom, dad and sister, and MAF board members Amanda Aymar, Mia Aymar-Smith, Peter Aymar and Noel Gonzalez

Mia Aymar-Smith, founding Board member and Fundraising Chair, said: “This is my favorite time of the year. Making things better for middle school students and their families is a blessing that keeps us connected to my brother’s life calling. COVID  involved parents in education in ways that were unexpected and we are hopeful this helps create awareness of our commitment to education and improves our fundraising efforts.”

The restrictions imposed by COVD have not allowed MAF to hold their annual fundraising event in person. They also recognize that many families are facing financial challenges. However, their commitment to their mission grows stronger every year with their growing number of ambassadors. Amanda Aymar, President and founding Member, said: “We are proud to have reached 12 ambassadors in less than six years. Matthew, our first ambassador, attends Boston College, while others are excelling in high school and deciding their next steps for college. Hearing about their progress fuels our purpose to support education.”

Peter Aymar, founding Board member said: “We are overjoyed at the opportunity to once again make a difference in multiple families’ lives, especially in light of the hardships presented by COVID. We look forward to growing our network with middle schools and continuing to foster our relationships with ambassadors.” 

We invite you to visit their website: and consider contributing to this worthy cause during your year end giving. 

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