By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Johanna Sigmund so loved and lived life to the fullest that after the 25-year-old perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, her family established an annual scholarship in her name to benefit a student in financial need at St. Malachy School in North Philadelphia.

Raised in Our Mother of Consolation Parish in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Sigmund, at the time of her death, was assistant vice president of institutional client services at Fred Alger Management in New York City, located on the 93rd floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center.

The Johanna Sigmund Memorial Fund has raised more than $100,000 to date and is managed by her parents, John and Ruth Sigmund, members of Our Mother of Consolation Parish. {{more}}

The scholarship stipulates that the student recipient must demonstrate a commitment to community leadership, creativity and a zest for life.

The recipient for 2010-11 is Siani Johnson, a seventh-grader who has attended St. Malachy School since kindergarten.

“I feel very honored, and that my hard work has paid off,” said 12-year-old Siani.

At St. Malachy, Siani receives As and Bs, she said. Her favorite subjects are reading, religion, spelling and social studies.

She is also an art aficionado, sings in the school choir and plays the piano.

Outside the classroom Siani showcases her school spirit as a cheerleader.

On weekends she serves as an usher when needed at St. Malachy Church.

On behalf of the St. Malachy Parish community, Siani collects canned goods, clothing and assorted sundries for those in need.

“It’s about giving back,” said Siani, who aspires to be a pediatrician when she grows up. “A lot of people do stuff for me and I want to help them out.”

At St. Malachy School, helping others with open hearts is a basic lesson the students are taught, particularly through the examples of Christ and the Church’s saints, she said. “We learn to treat people the way we want to be treated.”

That makes sense, Siani said, because “we are all a part of the Body of Christ.”

Siani has something to say to Sigmund, her benefactress: “Thank you for the scholarship. It means a lot to me. I’ll keep you in my prayers.”

Siani’s mother, Annette Kennon, a single parent, is appreciative of the tuition assistance for her daughter. “It’s a blessing,” she said. “A lot of the burden is lifted.

“Financially, it’s hard paying for your child’s education,” Kennon said. “The last thing you want to worry about is, are you going to make ends meet to pay for your child’s tuition along with the other bills that you have to pay?”

To the Sigmund family, Kennon expresses her sincere sympathy.

“I don’t know how it feels to lose a child, but just to know that during their struggles, something good could come out of it, that they are able to help another family, another child, in honor of their daughter is amazing,” she said.

Kennon has praise for the scholarship’s namesake and said her daughter will do right by Sigmund by maintaining the scholarship’s requirements. “For her parents to choose my child was an honor.”

Siani earned every cent of the scholarship, her mother said. “I am always proud of her because she gives 100 percent in any subject, and in anything she does. The only thing I ask of her is to do her best, to always stay positive and to always respect others.”

At a recent parent-teacher conference, “one of the teachers expressed to me that Siani is the example of what a St. Malachy student should be.”

Kennon said she chose to send her daughter to Catholic school because of the high caliber of academics and the structured, stable and spiritual environment.

Having peace of mind about where she is sending her only child to school is invaluable, added Kennon.

Johanna Sigmund, the eldest of John and Ruth Sigmund’s two children was born June 21, 1976.

Sigmund moved to New York in the fall of 1998 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fairfield University, a Jesuit university in Fairfield, Conn..

She initially worked in the New Jersey office of Fred Alger Management. In 1999, after receiving a promotion, she was relocated to the World Trade Center.

In addition to her parents, Sigmund is also survived by a brother, John Jr., 32, now a resident of New York.

A year before her death, Sigmund completed the New York City Marathon.

After her death, her family and a group of runners started the web site “Run for Johanna,” which outlines opportunities to donate to the Johanna Sigmund Memorial Fund benefitting St. Malachy School.

Participating runners donate to the scholarship through annual runs in the New York City Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon.

For more information about the Johanna Sigmund Memorial Scholarship Fund, visit or contact St. Malachy School at 215-232-0696.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or