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Brechi scholarship winner headshots

Kelley, Finnell Are 2023 Breschi Scholarship Winners

November 3, 2023
Press Release

USA Lacrosse announced Friday that Kirsten Kelley of Blacklick, Ohio and Stephen Finnell Jr. of Garden City, N.Y. are the recipients of 2023 Michael Breschi Scholarship.

Established in 2007 to honor the life and memory of Michael Breschi, son of University of North Carolina men’s lacrosse head coach Joe Breschi, the scholarships are awarded annually to two high school seniors who are attending college and are the son or daughter of a coach who serves as a full-time employee of an educational institution. 

Criteria considered include academic qualifications, extracurricular activities, internships, community service and employment experience. USA Lacrosse administers the scholarships, with winners selected annually by the Breschi family.

Kelley is a graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School, where she was a four-sport athlete and a four-year member of the varsity lacrosse team. Kelley’s community service includes five years of giving back to the game as a youth instructor at camps and clinics. She also became a USA Lacrosse-certified game official for 3/4 grade teams, and a USA Lacrosse Level 1-certified coach

Kelley is now enrolled at Palm Beach Atlantic University and is a freshman member of the women’s lacrosse team.

“As an education major in college, I think Kirsten will be a great educator because she is kind, patient, and genuinely wants to help people to be the best they can be,” said Ryan Buechner, Kelley’s math teacher and coach at St. Francis DeSales. “She is a hard worker and has overcome adversity time and time again with a smile. Kirsten provides service daily as she works in the cafeteria to help with clean up, and as a leader during our Lenten service projects. She was very engaged in her school life and I think that she has chosen a great career path going forward.”

Finnell graduated from Garden City High School and was a team captain for both the football and lacrosse teams. As a midfielder, he was selected as a USA Lacrosse All-American and as a member of Newsday’s All-Long Island first team. In football, he was recognized as the New York State Class A Player of the Year and as winner of the Tom Thorp Award as the outstanding player in Nassau County.

Finnell is attending Duke University and is a freshman on the lacrosse team.

“Stephen is a diligent, responsible, and mature young man, and was an absolute please to have in class,” said Melissa Camberdella, who served as his high school math teacher for two years. “Stephen is a very hard-working student who is committed to learning. He comes in each day with a positive attitude, eager to learn, and not afraid to ask questions. Stephen’s confidence is admirable. He leads by example and is not fearful of judgment by others. He works so well collaboratively and contributes to almost every group discussion we have in class.”

Joe Breschi noted that his family was delighted to recognize the deserving recipients of this year’s scholarships.

“We had another extraordinary group of applicants this year, representing some amazing families and history, and we appreciate everything they each brought to the table academically, athletically and personally,” Breschi said. “On behalf of my wife Julie and our four beautiful daughters, we’re honored to recognize Kirsten and Stephen as this year’s recipients. They both stood out as terrific individuals and students who exemplify a tremendous work ethic, with a passion to serve others. While they both have different journeys in life, the combination of community service and love for the game of lacrosse will help carry them as they move forward in life.

“Our family would also like to thank USA Lacrosse and the scholarship committee for their continued support of the Michael Breschi Scholarship and for helping all of us keep Mike’s legacy and memory alive through the game of lacrosse.”