Alumni giving can make a big difference in the life of a college bound senior and reunions can be a great gateway for this giving.
Each year, a substantial percentage of the Montclair High School (MHS) senior class qualifies for federal financial aid for college tuition, but the gap between what is granted and the soaring costs of college is too huge to close for most. That’s why alumni from two classes of Montclair High School – 1943 and 1986 – decided it was time to round up classmates from their graduation years and band together to lend support.
Peter St. Germain, class of 1943, was first introduced to The Montclair Scholarship Fund when he started the Alice B. Woodward Memorial English Award, given each year to an exceptional English student in honor of the extraordinary MHS English teacher who helped him master the language after moving to Montclair from France in 1939. Then in 1993, St. Germain had the idea to enlist support from his fellow classmates at their 50th reunion to create a “class scholarship” for generations to come. The outpouring of support from this class of World War II survivors was overwhelming and St. Germain traveled from his home in Vermont to Montclair for nearly 25 years to present the award before passing away in 2017.
The ‘Class of 1943’ Scholarship continues to help hard working MHS seniors today, honoring fallen classmates who served their country and supporting the next generation of dedicated students. Although Mr. St. Germain graduated at the age of 16 and spent only two years at MHS, his ties were profoundly deep with the establishment of these two scholarships. “He kept in touch with his classmates, which is a really important piece of it,” recalls Janet St. Germain, speaking of her father.
The “Class of 1986 Leadership and Legacy Award” is another noteworthy reunion collaborative effort created in 2016 to mark the 30th reunion of the class of 1986. The award was designed to assist future generations of Mounties with higher education costs, represent the unique ideals and special spirit of the class of 1986 and pay tribute to departed classmates. Its criteria calls for motivated, community-minded students who demonstrate exceptional Mountie character and achievement in athletics, academics or activities.
Nearly half the class participated in this group scholarship, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Reunion Committee who cold called classmates and included a section on the reunion response card to donate even if not attending. The first awardee was in 2017 and 1986 graduates are committed to continuing their support.
“The committee wanted to be able to pay it forward,” says Ann King Jennings, 1986 MHS alum and scholarship coordinator with fellow alum Susan Scott Murnick. “We were a very close class and all have great pride in our class and MHS. We wanted to be able to give back through a scholarship embodying the Montclair pride that we all live and love.”
The Montclair Scholarship Fund has been in existence for over 60 years with a mission of providing need based scholarships to hardworking MHS seniors. Students who receive scholarships benefit from both the financial assistance and knowledge that the Montclair community believes in them enough to subsidize their college education and career aspirations. For some, earning a scholarship can be the catalyst for college entry and for others, scholarships are the support they need to persist.
Also don’t miss the second annual “MARDI GRAS MONTCLAIR” celebration, scheduled for Saturday, February 2nd at 18 Label Street. It’s New Orleans fun, food and flair right here in Montclair! Visit the above website Click for ticket purchase and sponsorship information.