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Some of the STG awards are created to honor a person 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.

HONOR

By providing tuition assistance to Staples High School seniors and graduates with demonstrated financial need, these awards help students close the gap between what their family can afford and the expected cost of tuition at the student’s chosen college or vocational school.

RESPECT

Some of these STG Named Awards have been awarded annually for over 50 years. They are the foundation of the Staples Tuition Grants and have helped a remarkable group of young adults go on to become productive contributors to Wesport’s community and beyond. These ‘Named’ Awards recognize beloved members of the Town of Westport.

All a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

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.

Saugatuck Elementary School Community Award

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Saugatuck Elementary School Community Award

Established in 2018 to honor Staples Tuition Grant’s 75th anniversary, the Saugatuck Elementary School Community Award is a partnership between Saugatuck (SES)’s Student Caring Council and the families of SES. Funds for this year’s award were raised during the month of February in a spirited change war among three teams of “buddy” grades. The healthy competition brought out the best of our school community as money was raised for such a worthy cause!

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 Tuition Grant Award

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Staples Tuition Grant Award

A general Staples Tuition Grant is made up of many donations from those donors who do not designate or direct their donation to a Named Award. 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.”

STG Covid-19 Community Challenge

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STG Covid-19 Community Challenge

Created in April 2020, The STG Covid-19 Community Challenge is Westport’s response to the global pandemic for STG’s grant recipients.  Many students and their families in our own community have been hit hard by the response to the crisis, and – in addition to facing health issues – have experienced significant loss of income and opportunities to work.  Many students’ ability to even pursue or continue higher education at all in 2020-21 will be determined by the amount of financial aid they receive.  To respond to this urgent need, STG partnered with a small group of generous donors who pledged $50,000 to establish the STG Covid-19 Community Challenge Fund, with a challenge to the Westport community to meet or exceed an additional $50,000 in donations.  As of May 2020, our initial goal was met, and over $108,000 in funds raised in this campaign were granted to 2020-21 grant recipients who demonstrated Covid-related need, which supplemented the grant they otherwise would have received.  We will continue to accept donations to this fund, and apply all donations received to next year’s grant pool.

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.