Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund honors 2023 York and IC Catholic Prep students

  • Two of the 2023 scholarship recipients, Nick Zanoni, left, and Scott Zaragoza, with Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund Director Brian Doherty and Pastor Thomas Paul at IC Catholic Prep Academic Awards Banquet.

    Two of the 2023 scholarship recipients, Nick Zanoni, left, and Scott Zaragoza, with Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund Director Brian Doherty and Pastor Thomas Paul at IC Catholic Prep Academic Awards Banquet. Courtesy of LaVonne Czech

Updated 6/3/2023 12:56 AM

Brian Edwin Wagner was a commendable leader who set an everlasting impression on his peers. Unfortunately, his tragic passing in an automobile accident during the summer prior to his senior year at York High School in Elmhurst prevented him from achieving his dreams. Brian's kindness and virtuous service always made a difference. He made the most of every opportunity in the short life he lived. His influence is reflected through the scholarship fund that bears his name.

Every year, outstanding high school seniors are selected for the Brian E. Wagner scholarship; each is granted $2,500 toward their university tuition.


They are commended for their distinguished accomplishments as emerging leaders in society. The Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund's mission encourages students to improve their lives and the lives of others by exercising sound judgment and participating in volunteer programs. So far, the foundation has donated over $90,000. This cause reminds us that tomorrow is never guaranteed and that it is important to make every minute count!

All high school seniors can apply for the privilege to be named as one of next year's honorees. Since this is a merit and character based award, there is no GPA requirement. To learn more, visit the BEWSF's website at

The three 2023 recipients will proudly pass the torch of perseverance to high school students that posses the exemplify the relentless work ethic as Brian Edwin Wagner. All will be starting their promising college careers this fall.

• Joseph Pagni (York High School) has committed to North Iowa Area Community College as a health science major. His objective is to become a physical therapist. Joe plans to play collegiate baseball and continue his service to Visitation Parish when returning to Elmhurst during semester breaks. He commented, "I see many similarities between Brian and myself in regards to character and leadership. I am a student-athlete who works hard at academics, sports, and civic engagement. Brian's life was sadly cut short, and I intend to work hard to keep his name and alive through: high morals, effort, and service to the BEWSF organization, family and God."

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• Nick Zanoni (IC Catholic Prep) was accepted to De Pauw University's Management Fellows Program and will play on the golf team. He expressed, "I am honored and privileged to receive Brian E. Wagner scholarship alongside these other deserving recipients. I look forward to continuing Brian's legacy at Depauw University and hope to showcase his work ethic, compassion, and his dedication to excellence. I am eager to find leadership roles: in the classroom, on the golf course and in volunteer opportunities."

• Scott Zaragoza (IC Catholic Prep) will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and major in political science. He plans to earn a law degree after completing undergrad studies. He stated, "The BEWSF has helped me pursue my dream of pursing a higher education. This scholarship has lifted some of the financial burdens that come along with pursuing a career in law. I am honored and motivated to live up to the legacy Brian has left behind. This is a true privilege, and I, along with my family, will be forever grateful."

Barbara Wagner-Lackey, director of the Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund, said this about the organization's recent efforts. "We are so grateful for everyone who continues to support Brian's scholarship foundation. Since we awarded our first scholarships over a decade ago, we have been amazed at the talent and commitment of the students we've selected. Our 2023 are excellent examples of the person Brian was -- kind, caring, fun, smart, giving, loving. They are making the best of their lives and positively impacting the lives of the people around them."

To learn more about the fund, visit

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