It is a long tradition at Westerly High School for classes celebrating their 50th anniversary of graduation to donate a gift to the school. Many classes gave items such as granite benches, not surprising considering Westerly’s famous granite industry. But when the Class of ’64 talked with folks at WHS about a possible gift for its 2014 anniversary, they were told the school didn’t need any more granite items. “So we hatched the idea to do something different,” said alumnus Charles Taylor. “We decided to create a scholarship program for graduating seniors.”
And thus, the WHS Alumni Scholarship Fund was born. This is no ordinary college scholarship fund—it is specifically for students going into the trades. “There are a myriad of college scholarship programs out there, but there is nothing for students who want to learn the trades,” Charles pointed out. “Kids aren’t going into plumbing, electrical, and automotive the way they used to. It’s important to train future generations to maintain our infrastructure.”
The fund is now a Rhode Island Non-Profit Corporation and has 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service, so all donations are tax deductible.
Bringing in those all-important donations is the group’s current mission. The alumni volunteers have already held a number of fundraisers, including beer and wine tastings and Bingo nights at Foxwoods. Their first annual Charity Golf Tournament will be at the Winnapaug Country Club on Saturday, September 29, a four-person scramble tournament with dinner and awards at the completion of play. They’re also planning an old-fashioned sock hop to be held at the YMCA after renovations are complete.
Support for the scholarship is open to all Westerly alumni, as well as to individual and corporate donors. “We are in the process of building an endowment so the scholarship fund will be self-perpetuating,” said John Clemens, Recording Secretary of the WHS Alumni Scholarship Fund. “We would like to get other classes involved in the committee and in running and administering the scholarships going forward.”
For more information or to reserve a spot in the upcoming golf tournament, call 401.326.2160, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, write to 39 Spruce Street, Westerly, RI 02891, or visit the website at www.whsalumnischolarshipfund.org.