The Mamaroneck High School Class of ’59, which had its 50th reunion last October, was trying to decide on a class gift. And the 73-year-old Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund was seeking donations to provide scholarships to send MHS seniors to college.
It was a happy coincidence.
“We bandied about what we could do – get a bench or something,” said Ray Neufeld, Class of ’59, who spearheaded the fundraising campaign. “Then the idea to help kids with scholarships came, and we had a vote and decided to give it to the scholarship fund.”
The Fund, which has a 16-member volunteer board comprised of members of the community, awards scholarships based on financial need to high school seniors going on to college. Last year it gave out a total of $181,500 in two-year grants and is set to meet or exceed that amount this year, thanks to the generosity of donors. The scholarships will be awarded in a ceremony on June 14 at the high school’s PACE Auditorium.
“It’s just our way of giving back to Mamaroneck High School,” Mr. Neufeld said. So far more than 50 members have donated almost $7,000 and thirty of those are planning to give annually. Mr. Neufeld said he hopes to ultimately raise $25,000 so the scholarship can be permanently endowed in the name of the Class of ’59 and “it will live on after we’re no longer here.”
Mr. Neufeld, who lives in California with his wife Janet, also a MHS graduate (they were high school sweethearts), said “We see what the high school gave us. It really prepared us well.”
The Class of ’60, which is having its 50th reunion on June 25-26, hopes to follow suit. John Farris, who is coordinating the reunion, said he is planning to send out letters in the next few weeks encouraging people to bring a check made out to the Student Aid Fund.
Both of Mr. Farris’s children, now grown, also went to the high school, and like Mr. Neufeld, he sees the gift to the Student Aid Fund as a great way to give back to his alma mater.
The Class of ’83 also made a gift of $1,800 to the Student Aid Fund on the occasion of its 25th Reunion – the donation represented the money leftover once reunion expenses had been paid. Mario Bonito, Class of ’83, headed that effort.
One alumnus remembered the Fund in another way. Henry E. Allen, who passed away in April 2009 at the age of 97, left $25,000 in his will to the Student Aid Fund. In recognition of this gift, a scholarship in Mr. Allen’s name will be awarded perpetually.
“The rising cost of attending college has increased the financial challenge for our students and their families,” said Susan Bell, president of the Student Aid Fund Board. “We are expanding our fundraising to better meet that need, and these gifts from MHS alumni are a real boost to that effort.”
Those looking to give or find out more about the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund can go to www.mamaronecklarchmontstudentaidfund.org
Alina Tugend is on the board of the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund.