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Unless designated otherwise, all donations go to the Staples Tuition Grants (STG) General Fund. If you would like to designate your donation to a specific Named Award, click on the Dropdown box to view all Named Awards. Click on any Named Award to read its detailed Named Award Bio.
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Named Award Bio:
A general Staples Tuition Grant is made up of many donations from those donors who do not designate or direct their donation to a Named Award. This award has the most individual donations and is the largest total grant awarded each year. A student can receive a STG award alone, or in addition to a Named Award(s).
Dorothy Adams was a beloved teacher and principal at the wooden Bridge Street School and its later brick incarnation, Saugatuck Elementary. She retired in 1952 and is still remembered as a common-sense educator, sympathetic to kids in need. A disciplinarian with a desire to find the best in each student, her stay-after-school punishment sometimes ended with stamp trading, as she was an avid philatelist. Her interest in education came naturally. Her grandfather, Ebenezer Banks Adams, operated Adams Academy on Morningside Drive North for 30 years starting in 1837.
Dr. Jean Beasley was a female African-American pediatrician in Westport, at a time when both were very rare anywhere in the country. She practiced with her husband, Dr. Albert Beasley. Her career was cut short when she died at a young age.
In March of 2015, the Westport Weston Family YMCA received a very generous gift from the estate of Ruth T. Bedford. Ms. Bedford, a YMCA trustee emeritus, a philanthropist, and a strong advocate for the YMCA continued the family legacy with her gift. Her grandfather, Edward T. Bedford, established the first Westport YMCA in 1923. In 1944, Edward’s son, Frederick T. Bedford and his wife (Ruth’s parents) provided the funding that made it possible to buy Camp Mahackeno, the YMCA’s summer day camp where the current facility is located. Ms. Bedford was instrumental in helping the YMCA to renovate and expand its original downtown Westport location during the 1980s. Ms. Bedford’s gift will continue to allow the YMCA to be a leader in the community and change lives for the next 100 years. In 2015, the YMCA Board of Trustees established the Bedford Family Social Responsibility Fund (the “Fund”) to give back to the community and carry forward the legacy of Ruth Bedford. The initial endowment of the Fund was $5 million and earnings from this endowment will support one-year grants to one or more local programs, which will be selected through an annual grant process. The purpose of the Fund is to provide grants to organizations that focus on closing the “achievement gap” in education. Grants are intended to enhance educational opportunities in a transformational way and, as a result, may include a wide range of programs. After a very thorough and lengthy application process, STG was honored to receive a $5000 grant, along with 17 other local non-profit organizations, in December 2016.
Beatrice was known as a realtor in Westport and as a PTA volunteer, but she began her career at NBC and at the United Nations. Her tremendous sense of humor and extraordinarily positive attitude inspired her three children, all Staples graduates, and everyone who knew her.
Mother and daughter, Frances and Diana Bowes established this scholarship in 2010. Believing that the town of Westport "does such a phenomenal job of educating its kids, culminating with Staples" Diana hopes the award "will allow students to build on the strong, rich education they receive here."
A 2010 graduate of Staples, Cameron Bruce was an engineering student at Queen's University in Canada when he died in an accident early in his freshman year. He was an accomplished musician, playing trumpet with the Staples symphonic orchestra, band, and jazz band. He played "Taps" at Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies in Westport. He was a 4-year varsity swimmer, serving as captain of the team, and earned Academic All American honors. Cameron was also an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Commended 2010 National Merit Scholar. He was active in Staples Players, and served as a deacon at Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Josephine Brummel was an active member of the music department and served as accompanist for various Staples musical groups from 1965-1981. In addition to her work as an accompanist, she had numerous private piano students in the Westport area and was very active with local and regional arts and music groups. Her Westport legacy has carried through to her work in Santa Barbara, CA where she is a member of the music faculty at Santa Barbara City College.
Formed in the 1960s to further the aims of the local, state and national party, the Democratic Women of Westport gives this annual award to a worthy female student with an interest in, and desire to study or be involved in the political process.
In 1964, Kenneth Brummel came to Westport as a 28-year-old English teacher, and soon was named principal of Bedford Junior High School. He subsequently served for 12 years as Westport's superintendent of schools. Ken was a strong advocate for student achievement and educational advancement. He was also an innovative educator and a proponent of new ideas for administrators and teachers. His mark on Westport's students, staff and schools has been long and enduring.
Richard was a devoted father of five, and a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate. He was a supporter of education and academics in Westport at all levels and in all ways.
Noel Pasacreta de Caprio was a member of the Staples Class of 1957. She was the founder and owner of Noelle Spa for Beauty and Wellness in Stamford and a pioneer in her industry, as the creator of the day spa concept. In 1987, following a diagnosis of breast cancer, she incorporated healing, wellness and aesthetics into her business so that others affected by cancer could still feel healthy and beautiful. She died in 1998.
Maggie Mudd and Fulvio Dobrich moved to Westport in 1994, the year they were married. Their three children were educated in Westport's public schools. By establishing this award, the family supports the academic ambitions of students interested in becoming responsible global citizens.
John Dodig retired in 2015 after eleven years serving as the principal of Staples High School. He left an indelible mark on the school as a caring, compassionate, energetic and enthusiastic leader. John maintained Staples’ very high academic, artistic and athletic standards while creating an atmosphere of community and inclusion that teachers and students genuinely loved. Born in New York City and raised in New Haven, John began working in his parents’ restaurant at 13. He earned a BA degree from Southern Connecticut State University, and a master’s degree at Fairfield University. After graduation, John volunteered to work for the Jesuit Foreign Mission at Al Hikma University in Baghdad, Iraq as an assistant professor. A year later he had to flee the country with his co-workers when the government was overthrown. John has traveled to over 50 countries. He has taught middle school math in New Haven, and he has served as an assistant principal and as principal in several Connecticut communities. John was named Principal of the Year in both 1991 and in 2015.
A 22-year veteran of the RTM, and active in many civic causes, Irwin Donenfeld was also the longtime owner of Coastwise Marine. This was his second career, and it enabled him to embrace his love of fishing. Prior to that he worked for many years at his family's publishing concern, DC Comics.
Doug Donovan, Staples Class of 1979, was a talented student and Staples soccer player who went on to excel at Lehigh University. He was just beginning his career as a civil engineer when he died in an automobile accident. At the time of his death, he was working on plans for what later became Wakeman Park. The Donovan family requested that contributions made in the memory of Doug’s parents, Mollie and Jack Donovan, go to this STG award.
Chuck was the youngest of ten children. He loved the theater, broadcasting - any public forum. When he died of cancer in 1984 at 19, his family felt the greatest tribute was to create a scholarship in his memory that would benefit students at the school that he and his siblings attended.
Geri Connell Epstein and the late David Epstein co-founded The Geri and David Epstein Private Foundation. This foundation provides grants for medical research and educational opportunity. Geri Connell Epstein was born and raised in Queens, earning her BA and MA at Hunter College before working for the New York City Commission for the United Nations. David Epstein grew up in Bridgeport and was a graduate of Bucknell University. He began his professional career in advertising, and later established a successful commercial real estate investment and development company. The Epsteins have lived in Westport for more than 25 years and have been committed supporters of the Westport community, providing college scholarships to Staples High School graduates as well as support for the construction of the new Levitt Pavillion. An avid golfer, David Epstein also served as a trustee of The First Tee Foundation, whose programs seek to positively impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
Milton Fisher, who made his home in Westport from 1960 until his death in 2001, was an attorney and an investment banker. He was known for his sense of humor, his insights into people and their problems, and his zest for making the world better in ways both big and small. He taught Applied Creativity, a unique course for adults, in Staples’ Continuing Education program. For over 25 years the popular class focused on helping people be more creative in all aspects of their lives. Students developed creative problem-solving skills and innovative approaches to challenges that they faced individually, or in their community. He was the author of a number of books, including Intuition: How to Use it in your Life.
The Fonteynes consider themselves fortunate to have received a great high school and undergraduate education in their home country of Belgium. With a combination of grant support, family support and work study they were left debt-free after graduate school in the U.S. They regard the combination of a strong education and their lack of significant debt as key drivers of their good fortune in the U.S. and in Westport. This STG award is a manifestation of their desire to help others obtain the opportunity for a similar start in life.
Sharon grew up in Weston, Staples Class of 1964 and Bud grew up on Anchor Lane in Westport, the Class of 1959. Smitten with each other from the start, Sharon and Bud Frey raised four children in Westport, all Staples grads as well. Sharon was a beloved teacher at the Nature Center and at Green’s Farms Preschool. She nurtured, encouraged and taught countless Westport toddlers including her own children and oldest grandchildren. Her patience, kind-hearted manner and genuinely warm smile will always be remembered. In December of 2002, Sharon died after a long battle against cancer. Without his beloved wife, Bud continued to play the role of favorite babysitter to all ten of his grandchildren and to his grandnieces and grandnephew. His loyalty and devotion to his own family, siblings, nieces, countless friends and the game of golf will always be remembered. Bud died in August 2015 after a long battle with leukemia.
Jim Gillespie was a well respected psychotherapist in Westport. The Gillespie Center, which serves homeless men, is named in his honor for his contributions to town life. He died at a young age after being struck by a car while vacationing in France.
Eric Goldschmidt, a 2007 graduate of Staples, was studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore when he lost his battle with cancer in early 2011. He was a highly acclaimed photographer who frequently contributed to WestportNow. He was also was keenly involved with Toquet Hall and the local music scene. Eric is remembered as a creative, humorous, dedicated friend to all, and a young man who fought his illness with grace.
Dr. Glenn Hightower dedicated his life in service to the Westport Public Schools. A devoted middle school principal, coach and advocate for children, Dr. Hightower was principal of Bedford Junior High beginning in 1969 and then Bedford Middle School until 2000. Afterwards, he served as principal of Westport Continuing Education until 2009. He believed deeply in the good in people. By so doing, he helped create a community where dreams could be pursued. His style was to lead by example, teach a strong work ethic by modeling one and expect great things from the students before him. He lived by the golden rule and we hope that the recipients of the Glenn Hightower Award never underestimate the power of simple kindness in their future endeavors.
Preston Hirten was a key member of Staples soccer team that was a finalist in the 2006 state championship. A fierce competitor on the field, and a gentle spirit and friend to all, he spent part of 2009 working on soccer and educational projects with young players in Ghana. Preston was entering his junior year at the University of Mary Washington when he died suddenly of a rare heart condition in August 2009. The #15 STG Award was established by family and friends to honor the number on Preston's SHS jersey which he wore so proudly.
Bill Horne was an avid chemistry student who is also remembered for his warm sense of humor. He was a member of the Staples Class of 1971, but he died before completing high school.
Robert Haydon Jones was a longstanding member of the STG board, and a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of the program. He saw his parents wiped out financially by the Great Depression during his college years. The receipt of a scholarship from the Harvard Club in New York City allowed him to complete his Harvard degree in 1930 at age 19. Robert went on to great success in the advertising business, but never forgot that he had been helped by others. Through his life, he always tried to give back.
In 1982, the summer before their senior year at SHS, newly appointed cheerleading captains and best friends Ann and Katy died in a car accident. The entire Westport community was affected by their deaths. Ann's mother, Betty Ann Kiester, attended STG ceremonies each year after this award was established. She often commented that the award recipients, typical teenagers, happily reminded her so much of Ann and Katy.
Michael Kowall was just 13 when he died as a result of a soccer match injury. His teammates and the Westport Soccer Association established this fund to honor him.
The Krosse Family honors the outstanding education Nick (SHS '08) and Jake (SHS '11) received in the Westport school system. "Staples instills in its students the desire to continue learning, and to be the best that one can be," the family notes. In her four years on the STG Committee (three were on the Student Committee), former Co-Chair Lisa Krosse met "some amazing students who persevere despite the odds." She also came to appreciate "a very generous community that values education not only for its own children, but for others as well."
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization, encouraging informed and active participation in government, working to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influencing public policy through education and advocacy. The LWV Award supports a student who has been active in community organizing and/or shows an active interest in government or politics.
A dedicated speech and language pathologist, Judy served the Westport school system for over 20 years. An unforgettable woman, she touched the lives of students, teachers, family members and friends.
Beth and Joe Massoud moved to Westport in 1995. Their three children are products of Westport's fine public school system, and Staples High School has been an important part of their lives. This award is designed to support the academic ambitions of Staples High School graduates.
Chou Chou Merrill grew up with her mother Alixe, her father Jason, and her brother Warren on Crooked Mile Road in Westport. She attended Coleytown Elementary School and graduated from Staples High School in 1970. Chou loved everything about Westport, particularly Compo Beach, Longshore, and Main Street. Even after she moved to Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael, where they happily raised their two sons, Matthew and Cameron and lived a wonderful life as a real estate broker, she never really left Westport or her many friends there. Chou shared her life and causes with Westport friends and family through frequent visits to her home town as well as with a large online Westport community. Her many online posts made her a Westport legend. Chou was the glue that brought Staples High School graduates together. She spoke her mind and her friends loved her for it. Chou's life was full. She was passionate and vibrant. She laughed often and loved with intensity. She was kind, compassionate, and generous. Chou touched many lives where she lived in Brookline, Westport, and Captiva, Florida. She would be so pleased and proud to help Staples High School graduates move on to higher education with this scholarship.
Bill Meyer was known throughout Westport for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to his many and diverse volunteer roles. A Westport resident for 42 years, he served on the RTM for 18 years, was president of the Westport Sunrise Rotary, organized the annual Super Bowl Party at the Westport Senior Center, was a member of the Y’s Men group, and was on the board of First Night. He was a Westport Little League organizer and umpire; in fact many people called him “Umpire Bill,” appropriately enough: he was known for his “Let’s do it for the Kids!” cheer at RTM and Town meetings in support of Westport School budgets and programs. He was also an usher at the Westport Community Theatre, where he chaired the Community Relations committee; the Board of Directors and other donors at the theatre have set up this award to celebrate his memory by supporting a graduating student who is pursuing work in theater arts and who has demonstrated community involvement.
Ali Mirza, a lifelong resident of Westport, graduated from Staples High School in 2011. Ali was on the varsity boys volleyball team and was a student manager of the girls team. At Claremont McKenna College in California, Ali selected psychology and media as his majors and he continued to play volleyball on Claremont's club team. His team spirit, warmth and zest for life were contagious. He was also passionate about fitness and music. Ali's constant smile lit up every gathering. He was well known for his giving and selfless ways. Ali had just completed his sophomore year when he died.
Karyn Morgan is an Assistant Principal at Staples High School. Mrs. Morgan received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Connecticut State University and her Masters Degree from Fairfield University. Prior to becoming an Assistant Principal at Staples, Mrs. Morgan taught special education for 19 years. She was named Teacher of the Year in Bridgeport in 1996 and was named one of three Connecticut Assistant Principals of the Year in 2015. According to the Connecticut Association of Schools, Mrs. Morgan is known for her "unsparing personal and professional investment in her school and her single-minded drive to ensure success for every child in her care.” The Gudis family, sponsors of the Karyn Morgan Scholarship Award, believes that what makes Mrs. Morgan special is she is invested in building relationships with her students and helping ensure their success as they navigate through their high school years. She teaches her students to strive for excellence through academic passion, to become an advocate for themselves, not to be afraid to fail, see the best in others, and always conduct oneself with integrity.
Lillian Odell was a long-time educator in Westport and the first principal of Coleytown Elementary School when it opened in 1953.
Gene Pelletier grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he held city and state records in high school track and lettered at the University of Minnesota. After college, he relocated and raised his family in Westport and became a mainstay of youth athletics for many years. His passion for sports developed into a love of coaching at all ages and levels, primarily in baseball and football. Many players and fellow coaches have remarked about Gene's unique coaching style and the positive influence he had on them, on the field and off.
Patricia (Patsy) Weber Baxter Pelton grew up in Westport, CT and was a 1950 graduate of Staples High School. She raised her family in Westport, and lived there until 1995. Patsy loved the arts, and lived a life filled with optimism and creativity. She attended Rhode Island School of Design and graduated from Parsons School of Design. She had a successful career as a fashion designer and then went on to pursue her artistic talents in painting and jewelry design, creating until the final days of her long life. Patsy loved nothing more than to talk with young people and hear about how they were pursuing their dreams.
Anne Pollak gave her first cello solo recital at age 11, and went on to graduate from Juilliard and to perform with The New York Philharmonic. Arthur Pollak was an Austrian immigrant who received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Columbia. He held over 20 patents. Anne and Arthur moved to Westport in the early 1950s and lived here for the remainder of their lives. They both loved music, especially opera. Anne also played a harpsichord which Arthur handcrafted for her. They never had children of their own but were very close to their niece and nephew.
For more than 100 years, Danbury-based Praxair has been a global leader in industrial gases and high-performance coatings, with 26,000 employees working in more than 30 countries. Praxair supports non-profit organizations in the communities where they operate. The Praxair Foundation supports the educational goals of high school graduates pursuing higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Frank Reagan began his career in journalism before starting a public relations firm in Stamford. Eventually he returned to his first love, news writing. He and his wife Rita were 40 year residents of Westport, and they raised three daughters here. All were Staples and college graduates. Their youngest was a recipient of Staples Tuition Grants.
The Rosoffs were generous philanthropists. Anne served on the board of Staples Tuition Grants. The STG award they established joins others in their name, including those at the Yale University School of Music and Georgetown Law School.
Grace Salmon was a founding member of the Westport Woman's Club. At her death in 1939, a trust was left in her name to benefit the town of Westport. Her many legacies include a park built on reclaimed land across the river from her home on Riverside Avenue, and an award established with Staples Tuition Grants.
A noted Saugatuck couple, John (Chip) and Evelyn were ardent supporters of Festival Italiano from its early days. Years ago, when an earthquake devastated Italy, Chip helped bring young survivors to Disney World. He owned an accounting firm which his son Dominic now runs. Evelyn loved Compo Beach, and doted on her three sons and her grandchildren. Her magnetic personality, sense of humor and carefree lifestyle drew in many people.
A native of Westport, Lou’s day job was as a barber for 43 years on Riverside Avenue. The unofficial "Mayor of Saugatuck", Lou worked tirelessly on local projects. He revived Festival Italiano, and chaired many events for his church and the Sons of Italy. He mentored many people, and befriended all.
A long-time New York City journalist and PR man, Phil Schuyler enjoyed a second career writing for Westport newspapers. In his 80s, he served as sports editor of the Westport News. The invention of the singing telegram was among his many accomplishments. His family’s history in Westport dates to the 1700s.
Doug Sheffer, Staples Class of 1968, was active in Staples Players (Technical Staff) as well as the band, and was a member of the wrestling team when it won the state championship. He was also a sailing instructor at Longshore Sailing School and a ski instructor for many years. He died in January 2014 while piloting his helicopter in Colorado. This award was renamed in his memory by his sister Ann Sheffer, Staples Class of 1966, and is funded by the Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation.
As Staples graduates, these donors can help fellow Staples graduates meet their own dreams by allowing them to close the gap on their tuition bills.
Staples’ Class of 1966 was one of the most politically, musically, artistically, athletically and community-minded group of students in Staples High School’s long history. As the class president, John Lupton was the prime mover for keeping the Class of ’66 together and took such joy in keeping decades-old friendships alive. He proudly kept the title ‘President’ for life. In the summer of 2016, he and Ann Sheffer spearheaded their 50th class reunion, and as a class, fundraised to reinstate the Staples Class of ’66 Award. After John’s passing in March of 2017, classmates are pleased to honor him by dedicating the Staples Class of ’66 Scholarship Award to his memory.
Staples' original rock’n’roll Class, the Class of 1967, created this award on the occasion of its 50th Reunion. We celebrated our great good fortune to have been with each other at Staples during an exciting time in our cultural and political history. We’re delighted to have an opportunity help further the education of a deserving student today whose studies may further peace, love and understanding in the world.
This class endured three years of construction, and mud, during the first modernization of Staples. They're hardy and tight, gathering for reunions in between the official five-year dates. After their 30th reunion, the Class of 1981 donated funds to STG in honor of their enduring friendships. In addition, class leaders Andre Lambros and Aleda Warren have inspired the class to keep giving so that the SHS Class of 1981 award can be given annually.
Student Assembly, Staples' student government, fundraises through a variety of activities to support a fellow Staples student through Staples Tuition Grants. Michael Goodgame graduated in 2011 and served as Student Assembly president his senior year. He was a motivating force behind many events that benefited the entire Staples community. He was also known as a talented swimmer and writer, a leader, and a good friend to all. He died in an automobile accident in 2014, while a student and Ultimate Frisbee player at Carleton College. In 2014 this award was renamed in memory of Michael.
Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen was a strong supporter of the goals of the United Nations since its founding in 1945. Her passions were peace and justice, and she assisted Eleanor Roosevelt in her work on behalf of the UN. Thousands of UN and other international visitors enjoyed her home hospitality in Westport, CT. With boundless energy Ruth led the United National Association of Southwestern Connecticut for many years and oversaw the growth of the local chapter. She was also a leader of the Westminster branch of the United Nations Association in London. A continuing legacy of Ruth's is the annual jUNe Day celebration in Westport founded by her in 1965. Hundreds of UN staff and delegates, including ambassadors, are welcomed on the last Saturday in June by the local community to enjoy breakfast, lunch, golf, tennis, soccer, the town's beach on Long Island Sound and many other activities. These are just a few of her many accomplishments. Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen embodied tolerance, enthusiasm and knowledge. She said "We must speak out against ignorance, isolation and distrust and guard against them in ourselves."
Alan Strick graduated from Staples in 1981. He was a well-rounded student, involved with Orphenians, band and sports. Alan had a great gift of bringing people together. He was always upbeat, even while battling mucosal melanoma. His joyful spirit continues to live through his four children.
A basketball and baseball player at Staples, Ken Sweetnam died in an automobile accident while in college. His family remembers his greatest talent was being in the middle of a diverse group of people and making them all feel special and welcome.
Born in New York City, Gordon was raised in Westport and graduated from Staples High School in 1985. He spent several years in California, receiving his degree from UCLA. He returned East to New Haven before making Fairfield his home. The owner of Electrix, Inc., of New Haven, Gordon was a talented architectural lighting designer with various patents to his credit. Intricately involved in the custom lighting of numerous landmark buildings throughout the world, he was proud of his company's accomplishments. Gordon possessed a real passion for life. A warm engaging individual, he truly cared to meet and understand people. He was a skilled boatsman who knew the waters of Long Island Sound well. As part of the Staples Golf team, Gordon was an all FCIAC golfer and he helped the team win 2 FCIAC titles. Gordon was a fantastic husband and father who enjoyed spending time outdoors with those he loved.
Temple Lodge #65 was chartered in 1824 and has been serving the community of Westport, CT ever since. In fact, many Brothers of the Lodge were founding fathers of Westport when the town was incorporated in 1835. Being essentially a philanthropic organization, Masonry is the biggest contributor to charities in the world. In keeping with the spirit of Masonry, the Westport Masons are proud to establish this scholarship award to provide financial assistance to Staples graduates to pursue higher education.
Cody was a beloved English teacher at Staples High School and co-advisor of Inklings, the SHS award-winning student newspaper which received Gold Medal and Silver Crown recognition from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Cody graduated from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and held a Master’s degree from UConn. After graduation, he was a freelance writer for the Stamford Advocate and was editor of the rock journal, Revolver. His love of music led him to study music at NYU and play in many local bands. Cody was also an Instructor for the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University. As a teacher at Staples, he had a strong connection with students and was known to help make kids better people as well as better students. He was an encouraging, accepting, caring teacher who inspired his students to work to their potential and be proud of their accomplishments. He was loved by friends, family, and students alike.
In 1943, The Staples High School PTA generously funded a $100 scholarship for a graduating SHS senior with demonstrated financial need. Staples Tuition Grants was formally established. The tradition continues, and each year the Staples High School PTA holds a fundraiser for STG allowing Staples families, along with the Westport elementary and middle school families, to support our Westport youth.
Started by eight women and two men, in 1924, the Garden Club's roots run deep in Westport history. Today, club members continue to preserve the town's natural beauty. The club finances this STG award with the proceeds from its annual plant sale.
Westport Republicans is a group of men and women who see themselves as Westporters first and Republicans second. Proud of Westport, they seek to preserve its historic, educational, and artistic legacies. With their Westport First award, Westport Republicans support a student who demonstrates leadership and fortitude in the face of adversity, and whose openness, creativity and willingness to participate in spirited debate and compromise allows democracy to flourish.
Since 1923, the Westport Rotary Club's membership has included a wide variety of Westport residents and business people. Members raise funds to support a broad array of organizations, including Staples Tuition Grants.
This award is named for the Westport Sunrise Rotary but honors the spirit and commitment of former president Dick Eldh. Dick was a founding member of Sunrise Rotary. His goal-oriented approach and can-do spirit brought countless projects to fruition for the organization. He is remembered by his fellow Rotarians as "an absolute gem."
The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that supports the development of business and the local community. Since 1931, the Chamber has fostered an entrepreneurial culture. The Chamber believes strongly that an investment in Staples students is an investment in the future of Westport.
The WYWL is a non-profit philanthropic organization of women committed to promoting a sense of community through volunteerism, social activities and fundraising.
Ben and Joan Wilder raised four boys in Westport and lived here for many years. Ben appreciated and supported the importance of sports and the arts in the development of his children’s educations, and continued that support through his community, government and grandchildren. He died at the age of 85 from complications of cancer. Joan was a "soccer mom" before the term was coined. She was active in a variety of causes in Westport. She died at a young age, also from cancer. Both Ben and Joan were avid supporters of the Westport Soccer Association and Staples Players.
Anne and Edward Yass became acquainted with Westport while visiting their son and his family. A World War II veteran and a career pharmacist in New York, Edward is described by family as a wonderful, considerate, kind, sincere man who was adored by his children and grandchildren. Mainly a homemaker, Anne was engaging and gregarious, and relished her time with her children and grandchildren. Anne and Edward, both first-generation Americans, raised their three children to value their education and engage in the issues of the day.

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