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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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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.

Berkley Family Award

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Berkley Family Award

Andrea and Evan Berkley moved to Westport in 2002 and have three children in the Westport Public Schools. When introduced to the work being done by Staples Tuition Grants, they were inspired by the power of collective giving to support students pursuing the dream of a higher education. Every day Westporters generously share their time and talents with young people in this community – in schools, on fields, and at extra-curricular activities. The Berkley family’s commitment to STG is one more way to let these young people know that their community is invested in them and the next chapter of their lives.

Melissa and Doug Bernstein Award

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Melissa and Doug Bernstein Award

Melissa and Doug Bernstein both had the pleasure of growing up in the best town in America, Westport, and graduating from the best high school in the world, Staples.  Now with six children of their own, all going through the Westport Public School program, Melissa and Doug are thrilled to give back to this community they love so much.

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.