Rocky McElhaney Law Firm is thrilled to announce that Martina Abbriano is the 2019 winner of the Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship! We were so lucky to have such excellent candidates this year, but we fell in love with Martina and her story.

Martina is the oldest of four children, and a first-generation college student. She attends the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, where she majors in Foreign Language Education and Spanish, with minors in Linguistics and Ancient Greek. As if that wasn’t proof enough that she’s one smart cookie, Martina’s current GPA is a 3.85, and she also works 35 hours a week outside of school. She is driven, passionate, brilliant, and engaging.

Martina’s parents left their home in Italy five years ago to come to America, so they could give their children the best possible chance at a brighter future. It was hard work and a difficult decision to make, but they didn’t give up. Martina told us that over these last five years, her parents “have worked the hardest they have ever had,” learning a new language and earning promotions at work, all while caring for four children, participating in the community, and becoming active members in their church.

In was in the midst of this change and hard work when Martina’s mother was diagnosed with ITP, an immune condition which destroys the platelets in a person’s blood. Yet even with this latest struggle, the Abbrianos never lost their hope or their faith in God. “Even when sick, my mom kept working hard and fighting to give us a better future, a better house, a better life,” Martina said. “This, I believe, is true love – giving away all you have to the ones you love, and working hard so that the people you love the most can have a better life.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Video Link to final live video judging round with Max McElhaney scholarship candidate, Martina Abbriano

Click the video to watch Rocky McElhaney’s final live video interview with 2019 Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship winner, Martina Abbriano.

Martina’s story is the story of America. It is also the story of the power of love and support, and the power of education.

And that is the story of the Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship, which was founded by Rocky McElhaney to honor the life of his beloved Uncle Max. Max McElhaney’s story was the Gold Standard of what love, faith, and family meant to Rocky. It is about the great adventure we take in life, and the people we help, and who are helped by us, along the way. It is about the power of learning and the doors that open when you have an education – and about never giving up on your dreams, even in the face of struggles or loss.

Rocky founded this scholarship in 2015 so he could help undergraduate students majoring in History or Education, who needed financial support to reach their goals. Martina Abbriano is an extraordinary young woman with big dreams, who understands that hard work, sacrifice, and a positive attitude are all a part of reaching your goals. Her story about the gold standard of love her in her family touched each and every one of us, and it is our honor to help her on her path.

Congratulations, Martina, on being this year’s recipient of the Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship. We know that you’re going to do great things in the future, because you’re already doing great things in the present. We are so happy that we could help you on your path to success.

If you’d like to apply for the 2020 Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship or learn more about our previous winners, click here.