Staples Grads Share $317,000

With little fanfare — but plenty of emotion — 122 Staples High School seniors and graduates picked up $317,000 in scholarship money Wednesday night.

The 70th annual Staples Tuition Grants ceremony did not get much press. But for the scores of soon-to-be grads — and alums currently in school — financial aid can be a life-changing experience.

STG is one of Westport’s feel-good stories.

Dr. Al Beasley poses with Megumi Asada, a graduating senior who received the Dr. Jean Beasley Memorial Award. Both Dr. Beasleys were beloved pediatricians; Megumi is considering a career in medicine.

Dr. Al Beasley poses with Megumi Asada, a graduating senior who received the Dr. Jean Beasley Memorial Award. Both Dr. Beasleys were beloved pediatricians; Megumi is considering a career in medicine. (Photos by Pam Einarsen)

At Wednesday’s ceremony, Andre Lambros described how his SHS Class of 1981 donated excess reunion funds to the organization last year — and felt so good, they decided to set up an annual award in their name.

Staples 2012 grad Carson Einarsen gave a rousing and inspiring speech. The tuition grant that helps him attend Savannah College of Art and Design is clearly money well spent.

(From left) Juan Castro, Justin Jones and Trevor Lally join Staples Tuition Grants co-chair Diana Bowes Weller.

(From left) Juan Castro, Justin Jones and Trevor Lally join Staples Tuition Grants co-chair Diana Bowes Weller.

Among the many representatives of named award donors was Maureen Kowall. She flew up from Florida for the ceremony. A scholarship honors her son Michael, who died when he was just 13. He would have been 40 this year.

Also on hand: Christopher Jones. He graduated in 1958 — the last Staples class in the building on Riverside Avenue. Fifty-five years later he’s initiated an award celebrating his father, noted Westporter Robert Haydon Jones.

Susan Malloy (left) -- who has a Scholarship in the Arts named after her -- stands with Ashley Hyun and her father John. Ashley will attend Pratt, and hopes to be an artist or art educator.

Susan Malloy (left) — who has a Scholarship in the Arts named after her — stands with Ashley Hyun and her father John. Ashley will attend Pratt, and hopes to be an artist or art educator.

After the final name was called, and the applause died down, Rondi Charleston smiled. Last year, she and her husband Steve Ruchefsky started an award in honor of her father, Rolf Charleston.

Rhondi said, “For a long time, I’ve been looking for the heart of Westport. Now I think I’ve found it.”

Many of the 122 Staples Tuition Grants recipients celebrate their awards in the courtyard. (Photos by Pam Einarsen)

Many of the 122 Staples Tuition Grants recipients celebrate their awards.

4 responses to “Staples Grads Share $317,000

  1. Terry Eldh

    One of the grants is given is from the Sunrise Rotary Dick Eldh Memorial President’s Scholarship Fund in memory of my Dad, Dick Eldh, who was a founding member and President of that organization and who contributed to the town of Westport in endless ways over 35 years. We received a copy of a letter of gratitude written to The Sunrise Rotary from this year’s winner, Ryan Bates, which was extremely touching. My mom, Cheryl Eldh, and all of our family is extremely proud to be part of this effort.

  2. Dan, thank you for hosting the Staples Tuition Grants (STG) Awards Night on Wednesday, for highlighting this special event for STG on 06880 and for featuring some of Pam Einarsen’s beautiful photos of the night! Anyone interested can check out the new STG website and read more about the many special Named Awards, just like Dick Eldh’s that Terry highlights above. http://www.staplestuitiongrants.org/

    Donors should know that their donations to STG are making a real difference for these wonderful Staples grads, just as they have done for the last 70 years! Feel-good is right!

    Thank you to all!

  3. Julie Pierson Mombello

    On Wednesday night, my husband and I attended our first STG Awards Night. It was indeed a wonderful, feel good event and we were thrilled to see all so many students excited about their education and the opportunities that lie ahead. I would like to say a special thank you to the members of the STG Board who are all volunteers and work so hard to match each of these recipients with the awards they receive. As was mentioned in this post, the Dr. Jean Beasley Memorial Award went to Megumi Asada, who is considering a career in medicine, and the recent award that we established in memory of my mom was awarded to a girl attending Yale, the college that only my mother’s brothers could afford to attend. The STG Board works behind the scenes, tirelessly, efficiently and with compassion. Without them, Staples Tuition Grants could not exist and accomplish all the incredibly hard work which benefits not only the students themselves, but those of us who cheer them on from the sidelines and delight in what we hope they will achieve.

  4. Ann Sheffer

    It’s wonderful the way you’ve tied the stories of the donors and those who are memorialized through these awards with those of the young people who receive them…it’s one way in which we keep the history of Westport alive across generations, and represents an incredible legacy for the town.