First-Ever Council 4 Scholarship Winners Embody Our AFSCME Union Values

The future just got a little brighter – and a little more affordable – for recent high school graduates Zachary Jahn and Bryanna Vanderburgh, winners of the first-ever Council 4 Education Scholarships.

Zachary and Bryanna are ready to take the next step toward their higher education, with the momentum of the $2,000 annual award – renewable for up to four years – behind them.

Zachary is the son of David Jahn, a member of AFSCME Local 1303-475, representing Cromwell Professional Emergency Dispatchers. He is a graduate of Vinal Technical High School in Middletown and will attend Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. He plans to major in criminology.

Bryanna is the daughter of Leighton Vanderburgh of AFSCME Local 1565, one of three Council 4 locals representing state correction officers. She is a graduate of Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven and will attend Tunxis Community College in Farmington. She plans to major in dental hygiene.

Both students addressed the Council 4 Executive Board on July 1, leaving our union leaders even more impressed with their embrace of unions and their appreciation for Council 4’s representation of their parents. 

“Within the first responder field, family is everything,” Zachary reflected. “The union is a good representation of that. You helped my family out the most when we needed it. Having that sense of security, knowing that you stood behind us, was like a second wind. It’s great to know you were there for us to make sure my dad had a job." 

“Unions mean a lot to me,” Bryanna offered. “Growing up, I’d ask my dad how I can make the world a better place. He always instilled in me how important it was to make a change in the world and try to make our community better. He taught me about the fundamentals and the value of the union. I want to share that with people in my community.”

Zachary and Bryanna were selected from a pool of 32 applicants who are the dependents of Council 4 members and retirees. Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr thanked them for the inspiration they provided and the example they set as the first winners of our scholarship.

“We look forward to seeing you do great things in the future and spreading our union values,” Barr told Zachary and Bryanna. “That’s what this building is about and what everyone in this room believes.”