Sofia Della Porta named 2021 Town Scholarship recipient

March 10, 2021

The old adage rings true in the Della Porta household: “Like mother, like daughter.” 

Dr. Gina Della Porta ’97 and Sofia Della Porta, the 2021 Town Scholar.

Eighth-grade student Sofia Della Porta will be walking the same footpaths that her mother, Dr. Gina Della Porta ’97, once did, having been named the recipient of the 2021 Town Scholarship. Similarly, Gina Della Porta was the 1993 Cheshire Town Scholar. 

Originating in 1938, the Town Scholarship annually awards one eighthgrade student from Cheshire, Connecticut, a four-year, full-paid scholarship to Cheshire Academy. The recipient must have demonstrated scholarship, citizenship, and leadership during their middle school years and, throughout the application process expressed a sincere interest in and an ability to contribute positively to both CA and the greater Cheshire community. 

Celebrating Sofia Della Porta’s accomplishment outside her Cheshire home on March 9 were members of her family, neighbors, friends, as well as Head of School Julie Anderson, Director of Admission Sara Lynn Leavenworth, and Senior Associate Director of Admission Dan Mehleisen. 

“I was shocked,” Sofia Della Porta said, of the event. “I was so overwhelmed and excited. I heard of past Town Scholars being notified and seen videos showing how shocked they were—I was wondering what that feeling would be like. Now I get it.” 

Gina Della Porta pursued the 1993 Town Scholarship after hearing about Cheshire Academy’s international student base, small class sizes, and sense of community. As a student, she took full advantage of all CA’s offerings, including participating on the soccer and wrestling teams, and in theater productions. 

“What is great about Cheshire Academy is you can be whoever you want to be, try new things, and meet people from all over the world,” reflected Gina Della Porta. “Every holiday, we would invite students from all over the world and have them spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with us. 

As an alumna, Gina Della Porta continues to be a part of the CA community. When her children were growing up, she talked about the significant impact Cheshire Academy had on her life; something that was clearly instilled in her daughter.  

“I always remember her talking about it, and telling us stories about how she would invite her international classmates over for the holidays,” Sofia Della Porta said. “I thought it would be so cool to be a part of a community, because most high schools are not like that.” 

The mother-daughter duo quipped, however, that Sofia Della Porta was not inspired solely by her mother. It was only after seeing a picture of actor James Van Der Beek ’95 in the Dodd Middle School library and discovering that he, too, was a Town Scholar, that Sofia Della Porta truly considered applying. 

As a member of the upcoming class of 2025, Sofia Della Porta is excited to expand upon her musical talents through CA’s music program. A singer and songwriter, Sofia Della Porta will be traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, this summer to have some of her own songs professionally recorded. 

“I’m excited for the music program at Cheshire Academy and being able to do whatever I want with music,” she said. “I saw the music rooms—they were so cool. I’m going to spend a lot of time there.”