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Scholarship Named In Honor Of St. Alphonsus School

DATE: 08-23-2002

Four local school graduates and long-time friends gathered in late August of 2000, at Jean Doyle Leader's cottage on Owasco Lake for a luncheon. This particular lunch was the start of something big - the St. Alphonsus School Reunion. Jean, Paula Klink Hickey, MaryLou Adams Stanton, and Marilyn Gage Holzhauer came up with the reunion idea, and later convinced Robert "Joker" Hunter to be the coordinator. The committee added class representatives from 1959 back to the class of 1911. Why those years? Because those were the classes who attended the "old school".

The committee grew to number 74 members and their meetings made all decisions for the reunion weekend. One of the biggest tasks for the class representatives was to locate their classmates. Pat and Bob Hunter arrived at a final roster compilation of 850 living graduates.

Four major mailings were sent and before the last one, Cowen and Hickey talked about raising money for a scholarship to perpetuate the name of St. Alphonsus and memorialize Father Straub's commitment to education. It was Father Straub, with the help of many, who raised the money for the school on Genesee Street to replace the inadequate one, which stood where the Microtel Motel is today. After a ground-breaking ceremony in September of '49, the school was ready for opening on October 11, 1950. On that day Father Straub led a parade of students, accompanied by the drum and bugle corps, up Franklin Street to John Street, over to East Genesee Street, and up to the new school. That was just one of Father Straub's many accomplishments during his 34 years at St. Alphonsus.

The June 2001 letter to graduates addressed the creation of a St. Alphonsus Scholarship at Cayuga Community College and the need to raise a minimum of $5,000. The response was immediate and in just five days, Jerry Bisgrove, class of 1959, called his classmate Kathy Dayton Layton to tell her he would make a $25,000 matching grant to the scholarship fund-raiser. With that wonderful news, the committee immediately sent another 850 letters to the grads and let them know that the goal was now $25,000 to maximize the challenge. When the weekend long reunion occurred August 17th to the 19th of 2001, Martin Baumes, treasurer, announced that 240 classmates had donated almost $15,000 plus the promised match.

This more than assured the scholarship, which will be presented to a returning sophomore, who has shown academic achievement, is related to a St. Alphonsus or successor school graduate or to a Cayuga County resident. In the final accounting, the graduates raised almost $18,000 and Mr. Bisgrove donated the total match of $25,000. According to Jerry Bisgrove, "The Stardust Foundation invests in children, youth and families; there is no better way to provide opportunities or growth than through education. I am very thankful for all of the people that touched my life at St. Alphonsus School. I hope this gift will show both my gratitude for their efforts and the product of their work."

Since its inception in 1982, The Cayuga County Community College Foundation has sought private donations for programs not funded through tuition and its sponsors: Cayuga County and New York State. The St. Alphonsus Scholarship was the eighth scholarship founded in 2001, raising the number distributed by the Foundation to 253 commencement and scholarship awards, totaling $254,990.

The Cayuga County Community College Foundation, Inc. is an autonomous body whose mission is to provide financial assistance for educational and other related programs of Cayuga Community College. The Foundation continually seeks to provide growth and improvement opportunities to the College, its students and staff through fund raising activities and through diligent fund management. This year, the Foundation will provide $450,000 in support to Cayuga students, programs, faculty and staff through grants and scholarships.