Schenectady County

Verteramo scholarship winner sees future of helping children

The Schenectady Police Benevolent Association awarded the Patrolman Eric J. Verteramo Memorial Schol

The Schenectady Police Benevolent Association awarded the Patrolman Eric J. Verteramo Memorial Scholarship to Christina Parmater of Rexford on Monday.

The award, given annually to a Schenectady County high school student who plans to pursue a career in criminal justice, is given in memory of Verteramo, a city police officer and former Schenectady High School student who lost his life while heading to the scene of an emergency while on duty.

“We had a great pool [of applicants] to choose from,” said Schenectady police Detective John Ericson. “Christina just stood right out for us.”

Parmater, 18, a freshman at High Point University in North Carolina, applied for the scholarship in May, and was pleasantly surprised about a month ago to find out she had won. “The first time they called me, I thought something had happened, because they said, ‘It’s the police department,’ ” Parmater recounted. “I’m like, ‘Oh, no, what happened?’ I knew I hadn’t done anything.” She made a special trip home from college to receive the award at a ceremony held at the Police Benevolent Association Hall in Schenectady.

Parmater became interested in a career in criminal justice after participating in an internship with the Department of Social Services.

“It was really fun, going around to group homes and going on home visits and seeing what [conditions] people are growing up in, that we have no clue about,” she said. She was also inspired by the teacher of her 10th-grade business law class at Niskayuna High School. “Mrs. Lindsay took the class on tours of the jail and the police department. We got to talk to people about admitting inmates, even seeing how they serve lunch. We got to talk to inmates about how they got in jail and what they would do to change things.”

In the future, Parmater hopes to start a community program to help children. “I really want to figure out a way to somehow get children more involved in education and staying in school, and trying to get them to realize that there’s a lot more out there than just being on the streets and dealing with drugs and alcohol and stuff like that,” she said.

She plans to use the scholarship money, a one-time stipend of $5,000, to help pay for college expenses.

Verteramo’s parents, Tony and Shirley Verteramo, were on hand to help present Parmater with the award. “It’s just a wonderful honor in memory of our son,” Shirley said. Parmater, she noted, made her think of Eric. “She’s so bright and he was so bright. They have a lot in common,” she said. “She loves forensics and he loved forensics. That’s what he majored in.”

This is the eighth year the Verteramo scholarship has been awarded. His father said he is very pleased to see the tradition continue. “It’s like he isn’t gone,” Tony Verteramo said. “He lives through this.”

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