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STG named awards are created by donors in honor or in memory of a person, family, or organization. Established and funded by individuals, companies, civic groups and foundations, these awards – like all STG awards – benefit Staples High School graduates with demonstrated financial need.  Some awards are established by their donors to be directed towards students with specific accomplishments, interests, or academic pursuits.  Named awards are either endowed to fund grants in perpetuity, or funded annually with an initial minimum commitment of 4 years.

The below list of awards (listed alphabetically by last name) is a testament to the people, stories, and history of the incredible Westport community we call home.

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Dorothy R. Adams Award

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Dorothy R. Adams Award

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.

Marjorie Macrae Axthelm Award

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Marjorie Macrae Axthelm Award

Marjorie Macrae Axthelm, SHS ’35, was given the gift of a Staples education back when her wonderful aunt, Dorothy Sentenne, invited Marjorie to join her cousin Eugenie at high school in Westport. It was a seminal moment in Marjorie’s life. Like so many others, her family in New York City was devastated by the Great Depression; her parents gratefully accepted the offer to have Marjorie enjoy the benefits of Westport and the excellent education awaiting. At Staples she would go on to be the president of the Dramatic Club, secretary of the Student Council, editor of the school newspaper and literary editor of the yearbook. At her graduation, Marjorie was awarded the Gold Medal for History. Outside of school, she reveled in all aspects of Westport life: the beach, tea dances at Longshore, many friends and an amazing extended family. Her intellectual curiosity, scholastic achievements in school, and the expanded horizons that Westport life afforded Marjorie shaped the woman she would become and the life she would create for herself. When she married a few years later, she encouraged her mother-in-law, Hermine Axthelm, to move to Westport as well. A home was built on Minute Man Hill right next door to the Sentenne’s — a home that is still in the family. Marjorie’s husband Ralph died at an early age and she was left to raise four young children alone. Brilliant and talented, she went back to school and became a successful Interior Designer. Marjorie’s vision and determination made it possible for her children and grandchildren to live in, appreciate, and enjoy the gift of her geographic legacy here in Westport. And it all began at Staples.

Banks Family Award

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Banks Family Award

Candace and Tom Banks began seriously considering Westport as a place to raise their family after hearing rave reviews from work colleagues who had recently relocated to the area. Touring the Stepping Stones Preschool in Spring 2008 sealed the deal. Their passion for the town generally, and for the Westport Public Schools in particular, is demonstrated by their leadership in local non-profits, including Greens Farms Church and the PTA, as well as civic engagement in town government. The Banks Family Award furthers STG’s critical mission of reducing student loan obligations after college graduation. Candace and Tom sincerely hope that the award enables the recipient to consider a broader set of options in terms of post-college employment or graduate school than otherwise would be available to him or her.

Steve and Tammy Barry Scholarship Award

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Steve and Tammy Barry Scholarship Award

Steve and Tammy Barry have three children that graduated from Staples High School, well prepared for their individual college experiences. Their guiding principle is “Education is a gift” and have made access to it a philanthropic priority. By endowing this scholarship, they hope to lessen the financial burden often associated with attaining a higher education. As a wise investment in talented Staples students, the Barry family believes the return will be felt for years to come.

Dr. Albert S. Beasley and Dr. Jean T. Beasley Memorial Award

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Dr. Albert S. Beasley and Dr. Jean T. Beasley Memorial Award

Drs. Jean and Al Beasley, longtime pediatricians in Westport, dedicated their lives to inquiry, education and family. They moved to Westport in 1953 in order to provide a solid upbringing and excellent education for their children and to establish a pediatrics practice together. The family was only a handful of Black families to reside in Westport for many years. Dr. Al often referred to Westport as a “magical” town, whose population mostly opened their arms to them and made them feel special.

 

The future doctors met in high school and married during their college years (he graduated from Columbia College and she from Hunter College). Both later graduated from the NYU School of Medicine.

 

Dr. Jean was the epitome of pioneering feminism—she was one of four women in the NYU Medical School class of 1948 and spent her life balancing her medical career with the needs of her children, Scott and Jean. In addition to her private pediatric practice, she served on the staffs of Norwalk Hospital Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she also taught. Her brilliant life was cut short when she died of a spinal sarcoma in 1973. Her loss at the age of 51 was tragic not only for her family but also for the community that she served and loved.

 

Dr. Al was the grandson of a Harvard-educated Boston attorney who helped found the Boston Chapter of the NAACP; his father was a Harvard alumnus and his mother was a Radcliffe graduate. During the mid-1920s—the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance—Dr. Al’s father moved his family to New York, where he opened a practice. Dr. Al attended the Walden School (receiving what he later called “a good, liberal education”). He served twice in the Armed Forces: two years in the Army as a reservist while in college, then four more in the Air Force during the Korean War, as the base pediatrician in Houston, Texas. Because of the overt prejudice he experienced in Houston, Dr. Jean stayed in New York to complete her pediatric residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

 

Following Dr. Jean’s death, Dr. Al co-founded Willows Pediatric Group. He also served on the staff of Norwalk Hospital and was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine. He served in leadership roles with the United Way, A Better Chance, and Earthplace, among other notable organizations. Dr. Al was a dedicated civil rights activist until his death in 2020 at the age of 98.

 

The Beasleys’ legacy will inspire Westport’s children to succeed in life for generations to come.

Bedford Family Social Responsibility Fund Award

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Bedford Family Social Responsibility Fund Award

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.

Beatrice Smoot Bennewitz Memorial Award

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Beatrice Smoot Bennewitz Memorial Award

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 extraordinary positive attitude inspired her three children, all Staples graduates, and everyone who knew her.

Bergonzi Family Award

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Bergonzi Family Award

Mary-Lisa and Frank’s three children graduated from Staples High School. They all enjoyed unique high school experiences and were well prepared for their college years. The Bergonzi family looks forward to providing these scholarships for other Staples graduates who are pursuing their educational dreams.

Bruce Betts Award

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Bruce Betts Award

Bruce Betts coached many sports in Westport, and spent over four decades as a Staples, middle school and elementary physical education teacher. He is best known for founding the Staples boys volleyball program, and turning it into a perennial state powerhouse.  He was always stressing the importance of family, school and being part of a team.  These principles were important to Bruce and he wanted them reflected in his players. Volleyball was just a vehicle to help connect him with not only his players, but all students at Staples.  The ever-smiling Bruce is a Staples graduate himself, Class of 1965.

Bowes/Weller Family Scholarship Award

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Bowes/Weller Family Scholarship Award

Diana Bowes and her family established this scholarship in 2010. Believing that the Town of Westport “does such a phenomenal job of educating it’s kids, culminating with Staples”. Diana hopes the award “will allow students to build on the strong, rich education they receive here.”

Cameron Bruce Memorial Scholarship Award

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Cameron Bruce Memorial Scholarship Award

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 Commended 2010 National Merit Scholar. He was active in Staples Players and served as a deacon at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Josephine Brummel Scholarship Award

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Josephine Brummel Scholarship Award

Josephine Brummel was an active member of the Staples High School Music Department and served as accompanist for various Staples musical groups from 1965 to 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 faculty at Santa Barbara City College.

Kenneth Brummel Memorial Award

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Kenneth Brummel Memorial Award

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.

Augustus G. Cardello Memorial Scholarship Award

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Augustus G. Cardello Memorial Scholarship Award

“Gus” was a devoted son, brother and friend at Staples High School and at Providence College. His gift in this life was making others happy. He was a kind, old soul who had an incredible ability to make people laugh, to boost their confidence and to ensure that nobody took themselves too seriously. He was motivated by bringing joy to others. We hope his memorial scholarship will help others develop their passions, remember his kindness, and continue his legacy of love and laughter.

Richard Cion Memorial Award

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Richard Cion Memorial Award

Richard was a devoted father of five and a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate. He was also a supporter of education and academics in Westport, at all levels and in all ways.

Cross Family Award

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Cross Family Award



Andrea and David Cross are grateful for the quality of education that their two sons received through the Westport Public Schools, as well as the range of extra-curricular opportunities available at Staples and in town. Through this scholarship they wish to support students as they pursue their educational goals, especially those who have been active in a faith community or otherwise engaged in service to others.

Noel de Caprio Award

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Noel de Caprio Award

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.

Democratic Women of Westport Award

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Democratic Women of Westport Award

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.

Dobrich Family Award

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Dobrich Family Award

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.

Douglas Donovan Memorial Award

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Douglas Donovan Memorial Award

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. After the passing of Doug’s parents, Mollie and Jack, the Donovan family requested that contributions made in their memory go to this STG award.

Rachel Hope Doran Shine On Award

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Rachel Hope Doran Shine On Award

Rachel was an original. Her simple beauty, graceful leadership and creative intelligence were only part of her story. She was a wise, kind, old soul with incredible drive and diverse interests. Her talents reached far beyond the classroom; she was an incredible seamstress, artist, and cook. She created “Rachel’s Rags” pajama bottoms and cooked amazing meals and desserts for family and friends. She cherished the simple things in life: sitting on the beach, reading a good book, listening to music. Rachel was a strong, independent thinker, and when she set a goal, she attained it. She could do it all: she excelled at costume design for Staples Players, served as secretary for the National Honor Society, treasurer for the China Care Club and was a member of Kool 2B Kind. Above all, Rachel was thoughtful and compassionate and her bright smile and signature giggle lit up the room. Rachel had a passion for fashion and was able to pursue and discover many talents and interests during her time at Staples. She attended Cornell University where she was accepted into the Fiber Science and Apparel Design Program (FSAD) and pursued a major in fashion design management with a minor in business.

Charles M. Elliot Award

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Charles M. Elliot 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.

David and Geri Epstein Memorial Award

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David and Geri Epstein Memorial Award

Geri Connell Epstein and the late David Epstein co-founded The David and Geri Epstein Private Foundation. This foundation provides grants for medical research and educational opportunity. Geri 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 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 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 Pavilion. An avid golfer, David 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.

Dottie and Dick Fincher Award

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Dottie and Dick Fincher Award

Dottie and Dick Fincher moved to Westport in 1969 and raised their three boys, all the while giving back to the community they love. Dottie served on the Westport PTA boards of Kings Highway, Bedford, and Staples, as well as the Christ and Holy Trinity Altar Guild. She was also a member of the Earthplace, Westport Historical Society and Westport Garden Club Boards. When her boys reached Staples High School, she decided to go back to school herself and received a Masters Degree in Special Education at Fairfield University. Dottie then taught in Westport Public Schools for 25 years! After retiring, she tutored at Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport. Dick served on the Board of Trustees at Earthplace, Staples Tuition Grants, Westport Tree Board, Christ & Holy Trinity Church Vestry and Usher’s Guild. Over the years, Dick also took on various coaching positions in town with Little League Baseball, Softball, and Boys’ Soccer. Both Dottie and Dick remain very active in town and continue to appreciate all of Westport, while cherishing their children, grandchildren and friends. They are honored with this award from their children.

Milton Fisher Award

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Milton Fisher Award

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.

Fonteyne Family Award

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Fonteyne Family Award

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 and Bud Frey Memorial Award

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Sharon and Bud Frey Memorial Award

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.

James F. Gillespie Award

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James F. Gillespie Award

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 Memorial Award

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Eric Goldschmidt Memorial Award

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 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.

Michael Goodgame Memorial Award

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Michael Goodgame Memorial Award

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.

Patty & Charlie Haberstroh Award

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Patty & Charlie Haberstroh Award

Patty and Charlie Haberstroh have spent a combined 40+ years in service to the Westport community through involvements with town government through elected and voluntary positions, work with the Human Services Department, running back-to-school programs, holiday giving programs and “service-above-self” via the Sunrise Rotary. Additionally, they founded the Staples Basketball Parents Association when their four children were going through Staples. Why do all this? Says Patty: “This town gave so much to our family, we felt it was right to give back.” One of Patty’s absolute favorite nights of the year is the STG Awards night and seeing the people and families she has worked with and for.

Harris Family Award

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Harris Family Award

Jodi and Patrick Harris are the product of the public education system in New York and California. They are grateful for the opportunities the Westport Public Schools have afforded their daughters and are passionate about giving back, serving the Westport community, and helping students realize their full potential.

#15 Preston Hirten Memorial Scholarship Award

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#15 Preston Hirten Memorial Scholarship Award

Preston Hirten was a key member of the 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.

William D. Horne IV Memorial Award

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William D. Horne IV Memorial Award

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.

Howe Family Award

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Howe Family Award

John and Sarah Howe were proud to see their four children graduate from Staples High School and go on to pursue their own college educations and launch their diverse careers. The Howes believe strongly in the ability of education to create opportunities for young people to follow their dreams and to grow into responsible and active citizens. The Howes are particularly interested in supporting students pursuing technical or vocational training or studying in STEM fields. Through this award they hope to assist and inspire students not only to learn, but to pursue meaningful civic engagement in their communities.

Horace C. Hurlbutt Memorial Fund Award

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Horace C. Hurlbutt Memorial Fund Award

The Hurlbutt family has been associated with Westport since its founding as a town. Horace Hurlbutt’s will of 1932 established a trust that was to be expressly used for scholarships as well as other charitable endeavors.

Robert Haydon Jones Award

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Robert Haydon Jones Award

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 recipient 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. Throughout his life, he always tried to give back.

William “Bill” Kashetta Award

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William “Bill” Kashetta Award

William “Bill” Kashetta was one of Staples High School’s greatest all-time athletes, starring in 3 sports as a member of the Class of 1970—football, basketball and baseball. Big, fast and talented, Bill thrilled Wrecker fans with his athleticism, competitive spirit and toughness. He helped start the Westport PAL basketball program where generations of Westporters knew him as coach. Many also knew Bill as an avid fisherman and golfer. Bill was a talented and generous carpenter who was always willing to help with his expertise. He had a fun, outgoing personality, a huge smile and indomitable spirit; everyone was his friend.

Ann Kiester and Katy Macieski Memorial Award

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Ann Kiester and Katy Macieski Memorial Award

In 1982, the summer before their senior year at Staples, 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 Memorial Award

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Michael Kowall Memorial Award

Michael Kowall was just 13 when he died as a result of an injury sustained during a soccer match. His teammates and the Westport Soccer Association established this fund to honor him.

Krosse Family Scholarship Award

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Krosse Family Scholarship Award

The Krosse Family honors the outstanding education Nick (SHS ’08) and Jake (SHS ’11) received in the Westport school system. The family notes that “Staples instills in its students the desire to continue learning, and to be the best that one can be”. 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 too.

Dr. K. Humanitarian Award

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Dr. K. Humanitarian Award

Dr. Gerald Kuroughlian was a distinguished member of the Staples English department from 1966-2009. Jerry was adored by his students, who referred to him as Dr. K. In addition to instilling in them his love for literature and Shakespeare, Jerry is perhaps best remembered for his great sense of humor, compassion for the entire Staples community and a selfless attitude guided by his passion to improve the lives of those around him.

Mike Laux Character Award

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Mike Laux Character Award

Mike Laux is the beloved long-time coach of the Staples girls swim team. He has a true gift for promoting inclusivity and engagement. With a belief that as many girls as possible should participate in sports, Mike started the junior varsity swim competition in the FCIAC as well as the coed water polo team. He is a founding director of Project Return, a 30-year director/trustee of the Westport Y, and served on the Westport Youth Commission. While President of the Kiwanis Club, he created the Minuteman Triathlon.  Mike also served on the STG Board in the mid-1990’s after his daughters graduated from Staples.

Judith Gold Levine Scholarship Award

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Judith Gold Levine Scholarship Award

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.

Linde Global Giving Award

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Linde Global Giving Award

Linde is a leading industrial gases and engineering company with 2018 pro forma sales of USD 28 billion, approximately 80,000 employees globally, and customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. The company is committed to improving the communities where its employees live and work.  The Linde Global Giving Award was created in 2013 to support the educational goals of high school graduates pursuing higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Lioness Award

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The Lioness Award

This annual award was established in the Fall of 2020 by the families of five former PTA Presidents: Candace Banks, Carolyn Caney, Lisa Hill, Sandra Krenzer, and Melissa Signorile. These volunteers led the Long Lots PTA in successive terms from 2013-2019. In this role, they dedicated themselves to supporting the students and staff of Long Lots School (“LLS”) through fundraising and community-building events as well as advocating for the interests of all WPS students at public town meetings throughout the year. A most welcome outgrowth of their extensive LLS volunteering is that the five women became great friends. The Lioness Award is a way for them to continue to support the ambitions of Staples High School graduates and to also celebrate their friendship that was borne of their volunteer work. The mascot of Long Lots School is “Leo” the Lion. The Lioness Award shall be renamed annually in honor of an LLS educator or staff member who has positively impacted the Long Lots community in a significant way. The 2020-2021 Lioness Award educator honoree is Dr. Debra Dunn.

Elizabeth and Joe Massoud Family Foundation Award

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Elizabeth and Joe Massoud Family Foundation Award

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 endowed award is designed to support the academic ambitions of Staples High School graduates.

Chou Chou Merrill Award

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Chou Chou Merrill Award

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 hometown 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.

Ali Mirza Award

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Ali Mirza Award

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.

Murray/Cooper Family Scholarship Award

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Murray/Cooper Family Scholarship Award

Kim and Lee Cooper along with their six children moved to Westport in 2006. All six kids had the privilege of graduating from Staples High School and were very well prepared for college. They loved their six, uniquely different experiences at Staples, and the family agreed that establishing a STG award would be a wonderful way to say thank you to the many teachers and staff that have impacted their family so positively.

Lillian Odell Scholarship Award

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Lillian Odell Scholarship Award

Lillian Odell was a long-time educator in Westport and the first principal of Coleytown Elementary School when it opened in 1953.

Patricia Weber Baxter Pelton Award

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Patricia Weber Baxter Pelton Award

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 here 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.

Arthur and Anne Pollak Memorial Scholarship Fund Award

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Arthur and Anne Pollak Memorial Scholarship Fund Award

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.

Frank Reagan Memorial Award

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Frank Reagan Memorial Award

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.

Timari R. Rivera Memorial Scholarship Award

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Timari R. Rivera Memorial Scholarship Award

Timari Rivera was set to graduate Staples High School in 2021, but tragically lost his life to illness before he could realize that dream. A dedicated and passionate member of the Staples basketball program, Timari was happier cheering on his teammates than celebrating his own personal success. This “gentle giant,” was a big man with an even bigger heart, and a beloved son, brother, teammate and friend. This award was created by Timari’s basketball community to continue his legacy of kindness, sportsmanship and learning.

Grace K. Salmon Trust Award

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Grace K. Salmon Trust Award

Grace King Salmon was a founding member of the Westport Woman’s Club. At her in 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 house on Riverside Avenue, and an award established with Staples Tuition Grants.

John and Evelyn Santella Memorial Award

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John and Evelyn Santella Memorial Award

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.

Lou Santella Memorial Scholarship Award

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Lou Santella Memorial Scholarship Award

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.

Lee Frey Saveliff Award

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Lee Frey Saveliff Award

The Lee Frey Saveliff Award was established by the 2018 Staples Tuition Grants Committee to honor Lee for her dedication and above and beyond commitment to serving STG’s mission. Lee, a 1979 graduate of Staples, has spent most of her life giving back to Westport, her hometown community that she loves. Through her leadership and collaborative efforts on committees and boards, she has helped community organizations through their growth and transformation to become more efficient, more effective and in all cases, more fun! During Lee’s five years on the STG Committee as a board member, Donor Co-Chair and Co- President, Lee has redefined donor procedures, taken on the challenges of installing a new database and helped ensure that STG’s 75th Anniversary received the recognition that it deserved.

David L. Schmerzler Memorial Scholarship Award

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David L. Schmerzler Memorial Scholarship Award

David Schmerzler graduated from Staples High School in 1983 and attended Syracuse University, graduating in 1987.  He was a lifelong resident of both Westport and Fairfield who tragically passed away far too soon in 2019.  David was a man of diverse talents: an athlete, hunter, chef, skier, squash player and golfer.  His friendships were extensive and expansive, and he enjoyed the company of an incredibly large circle of friends with relationships that spanned decades.  His sense of humor was contagious and well-known; his zest for life unquenchable.  David was a larger-than-life character who charmed everyone he met.  His stories made tears run down your cheeks, and his laughter and love were infectious.  He was brash, zany, tough and brave, but most of all he was overflowing with love and humanity.

Doug Sheffer Memorial Award

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Doug Sheffer Memorial Award

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.

Staples High School Alumni Award

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Staples High School Alumni Award

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 High School Class of 1981 Award

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Staples High School Class of 1981 Award

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 inspired the class to keep giving so the SHS Class of 1981 award can be given annually.

Staples High School Class of 2010 Award

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Staples High School Class of 2010 Award

The Staples High School Class of 2010 excelled in academics, sports and the arts. Their 10 year reunion was cut short due to COVID-19. In an effort to celebrate the 10 year reunion, STG board members Trevor Lally & Chelsea Kalt launched this award. 

Staples Tuition Grant Award

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Staples Tuition Grant Award

A Staples Tuition Grant Award is made up of many contributions from those donors who do not designate or direct their gift to a named award and instead are contributed to the STG General Fund.  A student may also receive a named award in conjunction with a Staples Tuition Grant award.

Susan and Timothy Steele Family Award

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Susan and Timothy Steele Family Award

Susan and Timothy Steele, longtime Westport residents who have sent 3 children through the Westport school system, went to university in England at a time when higher education was free. They believe strongly that a high quality affordable education should be open to all as it provides a gateway to future opportunities, no matter where a student’s interests may lie. The Steele Family, through this Staples Tuition Grants award, look forward to helping Staples’ graduates as they move onto the next chapter of their lives.

Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Award

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Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Award

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.”

Kenneth Sweetnam Memorial Award

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Kenneth Sweetnam Memorial Award

Kenneth Sweetnam, Class of 1982, was a standout basketball and baseball player. Ken 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.

Gordon Swisha Memorial Award

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Gordon Swisha Memorial Award

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 Award

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Temple Lodge #65 Award

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 Randall Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund Award

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Cody Randall Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund Award

Cody Thomas 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.

Wallace Family Award

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Wallace Family Award

Nancy and Noel Wallace have called Westport home for three decades and feel profoundly fortunate to live in a town which celebrates giving back and supporting one another. With this in mind and the belief that a quality education is a child’s window to their future, they couldn’t be happier to be involved with STG.  This award is one way in which the Wallace family can assist another child in town to have the college experience everyone deserves.

Westport Garden Club Award

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Westport Garden Club Award

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 PTA Scholarship Award

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Westport PTA Scholarship Award

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 all of Westport’s eight schools’ PTAs, alongside Staples High School families, and our town’s elementary and middle school families, give to this to award to support our Westport young adults.

Westport Rotary Award

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Westport Rotary Award

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.

Westport Sunrise Rotary/Cheryl and Dick Eldh Scholarship Award

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Westport Sunrise Rotary/Cheryl and Dick Eldh Scholarship Award

This award is named for the Westport Sunrise Rotary but honors the spirit and commitment of former president Dick Eldh and his wife Cheryl. Dick was a founding member of Sunrise Rotary. His goal-oriented approach and can-do spirit brought countless projects to fruition for the organization. After his death, Cheryl joined WSR and was the epitome of Rotary’s “service above self”. They are remembered by their fellow Rotarians as “absolute gems”.

Westport Young Woman’s League Award

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Westport Young Woman’s League Award

The WYWL is a non-profit philanthropic organization of women committed to promoting a sense of community through volunteerism, social activities and fundraising.

Westport-Weston Foundation Award

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Westport-Weston Foundation Award

The Fable family of Westport set up a charitable trust which in part was established to assist students needing financial help while pursuing higher education. The Westport-Weston Foundation now manages the fund.

Joan and Ben Wilder Memorial Award

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Joan and Ben Wilder Memorial Award

Joan and Ben 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 education, 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 Joan and Ben were avid supporters of the Westport Soccer Association and Staples Players.

Staples Tuition Grants Appreciation of Dan Woog Award

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Staples Tuition Grants Appreciation of Dan Woog Award

The Board of STG established this award to show their appreciation to Dan Woog for his assistance in creating and writing the first issue of the Named Award Profile booklet. Dan continues to show his support of STG by hosting our annual Awards Night and for writing and posting articles about STG to his blog 06880 Where Westport meets the world. These articles highlight STG’s mission, goals and events, which brings public awareness and publicity to our organization.

Anne and Edward Yass Memorial Award

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Anne and Edward Yass Memorial Award

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.