Classy Gifts From The ’50s and ’60s

Despite living in Westport, many members of the Staples Classes of 1960 and 1950 were not wealthy.  Paying for college was tough.

That’s still true 5 and 6 decades later, for the Class of ’11.

Fortunately — then and now — Staples Tuition Grants rode to the rescue.

Last night, STG gave out $300,000 in scholarships, to 108 current and past graduates.  It was a moving, inspiring ceremony — one of the best events of this graduation season, in fact.

Many awards are named for Staples grads who died.  Some are given by organizations like PTAs, Rotary Clubs and Sportsmen of Westport.  Each year, they help another group of grads.

Two new awards were presented yesterday.  One came from the Staples Class of 1960, which raised several thousand dollars during last summer’s 50th reunion.  Part of the funds came from careful budgeting ahead of time; part from the great feelings the alums had after their joyful weekend.  (It included a tour of the “new” school — remarkable to them, as they’d been part of the 1st students at their own “new” campus when Staples moved from Riverside Avenue in 1958.)

The Class of '60 reunion committee (from left): Barbara Picarello Wanamaker, Lynda Frazer, Linda Gramatky Smith, Geri D'Amico Strauss, Lesley Hodgkinson Anderson, Cathy Nazzaro Romano. Missing: Pat Hogenauer Harris. (Photo/John VIdeler)

The 200 or so grads who attended — and many others who did not make it back — loved the idea of giving something back to Staples, long after they left.

The Class of ’50, meanwhile — 10 years older, much smaller, but just as wise — donated to STG, in honor of 3 former teachers.

Both classes have the right idea.  So right,  in fact, that all reunion classes — this summer, and for years to come — should do the same thing.  Why not build an extra $10 or $15 into the reunion price, to go to Staples Tuition Grants?  Or solicit funds separately, at one of the weekend events?

Many grads, in each class, benefited from Staples Tuition Grants.  If we didn’t, our friends did.

Staples gave all of us an opportunity to learn, grow, express ourselves, and head confidently into the world.  Now let’s pay Staples back — by paying it forward.

Let’s begin a tradition that today’s graduates can embrace when they themselves become Wrecker reunion-goers, every 5 or 10 years from now.

(For more information on Staples Tuition Grants, click here.  The address is PO Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881; the email is

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