The Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund (HGSF) raised a record $186,000 during a March gala at the Mount Kisco Country Club.
PHOTOS BY HANNAH ROSENBERG
HGSF Gala co-chairs Rachel Rader and Cathy Hildenbrand attributed the sum to generous sponsors, donors and to the lively auction. “This year has also brought an increased number of applicants,” they added, “so we still have work to do to meet our needs.”
Brian O’Connor, a 5th grade teacher for the last 12 years at Seven Bridges, received the Ed Habermann Award. The HGSF lauded his interweaving of ‘CNN Heroes’ into his curriculum. His students have studied, connected with (sending out over 4,000 letters to dozens of heroes on five continents), and learned from these inspiring role models during dozens of Skype conversations and several Hero visits to Seven Bridges. Brian’s program was recognized and featured on the 10th Annual CNN Heroes Tribute live television broadcast in December 2016.
O’Connor’s dad, Jim, introduced his son, as “always a great leader, who led by example.” O’Connor, for his part, quipped, “I try not to screw them up in the ten months that I have them.” He described his goal of always working toward helping kids find their passion, “and see how they can use it to help other people.” O’Connor also enjoys time with his wife, Tara, and their three children–Alix, Jenna, and James. He loves coaching youth soccer, basketball, and baseball in their hometown of Montgomery, New York.
Ellen Miller, a passionate advocate of childhood nutrition, received the HGSF “Award of Distinction.” At Grafflin, Ellen chaired the Grapevine newsletter, Griffin magazine and the Health & Safety Committee. As part of a joint elementary school committee, she was a key architect of Grafflin’s “Eat a Rainbow” program which helped students select balanced lunches.
She chaired Nutrition Committees at Grafflin, Bell, and Greeley. In 2006, Ellen joined the Superintendent’s Wellness Advisory Committee, helping to create the district’s wellness policy and food guidelines. She spearheaded the initiative to have recess before lunch, helped refine food service offerings and pricing, enhanced the district’s “farm to table” focus and established healthier food and beverage choices. Ellenalso joined the Chappaqua School Foundation board in 2006. She worked on the Grants Committee for the majority of her nine-year tenure.
Ellen Miller’s two sons Harris and Trevor poked fun at their mom’s limits on both junk food and her allowance of twice a week red meat dinners. They said they admired her for ‘burning the candle on both ends” as she worked toward a Master’s degree in Food Studies at NYU.
Miller said she encourages kids to “dream big… and change the world.” She said she supports HGSF goals “because it’s heartbreaking when a child’s dream can’t be realized. “ “A child’s dream can be broken in the blink of an eye… Thanks for helping me make their dreams a reality.” — Grace Bennett