Thmwee Paw, a graduating senior from Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo, has been named the 2019 recipient of the JD Cappuccio Memorial Scholarship. The award was recently presented by Dr. David Cappuccio, owner of Seneca Ridge Dental at 3626 Seneca St. in West Seneca.
The $1,000 award is made annually in honor of David’s father, Dr. Joseph D. Cappuccio. The late Dr. Cappuccio served as chief resident adviser to Strong Hospital family practice residents and was an advocate of evidence-based medical practice during a time when anecdotal patient care was still mainstream. His contributions to the medical field have had far-reaching influences among healthcare providers across the globe.
Dr. Joseph Cappuccio was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven and overcame a series of health complications throughout his life. The challenges related to diabetes and its associated conditions such as retinopathy, heart and kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy and hypoglycemic attacks were ever-present obstacles. Despite these challenges, Dr. Cappuccio was able to achieve a great deal of success.
“Through this scholarship we remember the life of my father and his ability to excel in spite of his medical challenges,” said Dr. David Cappuccio. “This scholarship award acknowledges a high school student who demonstrates an ability to overcome difficult circumstances and grow from adversity.”
The 2019 scholarship recipient, Thmwee Paw, has most definitely demonstrated an ability to overcome difficult circumstances and adversity.
“As the civil war conflict (in Burma) rages on, my father had to sacrifice his life while serving in the army in order for us to escape,” Paw wrote in her scholarship application. “I received the news about my father’s death while we were stationed in the UN refugee camp waiting for our plane to arrive. While we were waiting my mother was making phone calls to family members who had already arrived in America to break the news about my father. Deciding to come to America in 2011 wasn’t easy, but thanks to the UN my family and many others found safety and a better place to live.
“Coming here as a single mother was very difficult for my mom. Without her spouse to support the family she needed to make critical decisions and worked two jobs to provide for her children. Starting school in America was difficult for me especially starting in fifth grade. I did not know any English and I was unfamiliar with my surroundings. It also did not help that no one else spoke my language. With my mom working two part-time jobs for minimum wage, my family lived in the low-income range.”
With help from Seneca Ridge Dental and the JD Cappuccio Memorial Scholarship, Thmwee Paw will be the first member of her family to attend college, working to obtain a degree in accounting and finance at Canisius College. Eventually, she would like to pursue a career as a finance officer in the U.S. Army and work with the United Nations “to help the poor and those that are in need.”