The Horace Greeley High School gym was packed on November 4th for the 10th Annual Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund Spelling Bee. Spirits were high as students, teachers & administrators, families, and community members came together to share in this special event which was enjoyed by participants and spectators alike. More than 60 teams competed this year, not only to be the top spellers, but as contenders for best costume as well. Ultimately, student team All the Buzz beat out the steep competition with the word EUONYMUS and claimed the 2019 championship title. Organized by Horace Greeley High School’s SHARE (Students Have a Responsibility Everywhere) community service group, more than $20,000 was raised to benefit the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund which exists to make up “the difference” between the actual costs of college and all other financial resources available to students and their families. In the last 72 years, hundreds of Greeley students have been awarded need-based grants from the Fund helping to make college a reality for all Greeley graduates.
Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund
Chappaqua School Foundation
The mission of the Chappaqua School Foundation (CSF) is to enhance the education of Chappaqua’s students by fostering innovation and funding meaningful initiatives beyond the scope of the school budget. CSF connects Chappaqua Central School District educators’ creativity, imagination and dedication with community support, engagement and investment. The result: CSF empowers educators to improve the quality of education by making innovation possible throughout the district. Since 1993, CSF has invested nearly 4 million dollars through the funding of over 340 educational grants positively impacting every school, every grade and every student in the District. chappaquaschoolfoundation.org.
Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund
Sending a child to college can be a significant financial challenge. Since its founding in 1946, the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund (HGSF) exists to make up “the difference” between the actual costs of college and all other financial resources available to students and their families (i.e. loans, scholarships, work-study, student and parent savings) by giving grants to Greeley students and alumni to cover these financial deficits. HGSF is a nonprofit organization whose Board of Directors is composed of community members. It is funded by caring neighbors and members of the New Castle community who want to ensure that every student can realize their dream of a college education. hgsf.org
Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program
The Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program (CSSP) was founded in 1968 when two longtime Chappaqua friends despaired over the educational crisis in New York City. Now entering its 51st year, CSSP offers a bridge between the Chappaqua community and students from under-resourced high schools in the Bronx. It is an academic enrichment home stay program during the month of July when 24 rising sophomores, juniors and seniors stay with two different host families and take courses in STEAM, Shakespeare studies, creative writing and film making. Afternoons are spent taking tennis and swim lessons and engaging in community service and other workshops and activities. Students have attended many wonderful colleges and universities, and have gone on to join the workforce in a multitude of professions.
CSSP recently hosted its first annual college transition day for CSSP students entering college in the fall; an active Alumni Association has been formalizing a mentoring program between CSSP alumni and students in college. chappaquasummerscholarship.com
Courtesy of the Chappaqua School Foundation, Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund and the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program.
The 9th Annual Spelling Bee Raises over $22,000 to Benefit the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund
The eve of Election Day in Chappaqua was quiet, dark and rainy. Students were still acclimating to losing light early in the night, since time had fallen behind by an hour the day before. Schools would be closed the following day for voting that had been anticipated for two long years. The streets were calm, yet the Horace Greeley High School gymnasium was alive with eagerness and anticipation.
Students, faculty, parents and community members were gathered together in a united purpose. It wasn’t for a basketball game or a wrestling match. The words that best suit this event were not Lay-Up or Pinfall. They were words like “crustacean”, “tinnitus”, “chrysanthemum”, “pharaoh” and “perspicacious”.
The mascot of the night was not a Quaker; it was a Bumble Bee. The event taking place was the 9th Annual Spelling Bee. The excitement in the gym was palpable.
The “Bee” is an upbeat and lively event enjoyed by participants and spectators alike. It is organized and run by Horace Greeley High School’s SHARE (Students Have a Responsibility Everywhere) student community service volunteer group. The proceeds raised benefit the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund (HGSF), which is an organization that helps Greeley graduates fund their post-secondary education. Competing teams were comprised of families, students, members of the community and faculty. There are no restrictions on who can participate, all are welcome.
There were two energized and playful four-feet-tall bumble bees buzzing around, generating enthusiasm. There were balloons, refreshments and prizes. A row of tables crossed the middle of the gymnasium floor displaying white boards, markers and bumble bee-shaped erasers for each team. Two feet in front of these tables were chairs facing the contestants; they were seats for the judges. Behind the contestants was a single microphone for the word pronouncer and a projection screen for the words to be displayed. Along the back wall was an animated crowd cheering in the stands.
The Horace Greeley Spelling Bee showcased students working together to create a fun and inclusive event with the goal of helping their fellow students pay for college.
The over 60 teams were distinguished and recognizable in their cleverly themed costumes such as The Bee Gees, The Hip Bees, The Vocabulary Vampires and many more. The building excitement suddenly gave way to silence as a pause for the national anthem marked the official start of the competition. Finally, the 9th annual HGSF Spelling Bee was underway.
The event was divided into rounds. Representatives from the School Faculty competed first, followed by competitors from the Middle School level, the High School level and then the Community. Lastly, there was a championship round between the winners from all competing levels to determine who would earn the ultimate prize of the trophy and winning title.
Words were called out by the pronouncer, then written on white boards by the contestants. Judges held up green or red cards to indicate if the word was spelled correctly or not. At the end of each round the judges would display a number to show how many words each team spelled right. Ties moved onto a sudden death elimination. Prizes, such as bee themed water bottles and stuffed animals, were given to the winners of each section and awarded to teams with the best costumes.
As the closing round drew to completion, the tension in the gym heightened. The pronouncer’s voice called over the microphone with a final “Boards Up!” The two remaining contestants raised their white boards, but only one showed the word “CATARRH” spelled correctly. The 9th Annual Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund Spelling Bee was over. Team Hmm, a trio of Chappaqua teachers and previous winners Helen Harrison, Michelle Ramahlo and Maria Sanderleaf, was awarded the coveted trophy and the title of Queen Bees.
The Spelling Bee requires skill to win; “effervescent”, “bourgeoisie” and “cayenne” are not easy words. But this event is about so much more than determining who is the best speller. The competition was ultimately created in support of a cause close to our town’s heart: education. Seth Berk, a second-year competitor who doesn’t consider himself a particularly skilled speller, remarked that he was “very happy to humble himself in support of the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund; a great cause.” In total, over $22,000 was raised, making it the most successful Bee to date.
Ironically, the HGSF Annual Spelling Bee can be summarized with a word that is not difficult to spell: “Community”.
Congratulations to the participants and the winners and especially to the SHARE students who did an un“bee”lievable job organizing this very special event.
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
By Grace Bennett
At a late March annual fundraiser for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund (HGSF): In a packed Mount Kisco Country Club ballroom, an outpouring of affection and appreciation was extended toward honorees John Re, recipient of the Horace Greeley Ed Habermann Award, and to Pat Pollack, recipient of the Horace Greeley Award of Distinction.
Notably, each honoree spoke of values HGSF extolls: that of the importance of community involvement and how to let our kids know we believe in them and in their dreams and aspirations of who they can become.
In her remarks, Pat Pollack quoted Brooke Hampton: “Speak to children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical beings on earth for what they believe is what they become,” recited Pollack, a long time nurse in the Chappaqua school district, and founder of New Castle Cares. A video montage, featuring fond reminisces from grateful students, family, neighbors & colleagues, preceded Pollack’s remarks.
For John Re, a long time and award-winning AYSO soccer coach, and founder of the town’s beloved Dawn’s Ray of Hope, Inc., living in a community is all about getting involved. “For me, I thought it obligates you–to be involved,” he stated. “You don’t get to complain about the way things are or the way things are being run unless you are willing to do the work, to put yourself out there, to put in the effort, in order to make a difference.”
According to Alan Nadel, President of the HGSF, the Fund started informally in 1946 when the senior class raised $300 to help students pay for college. Annual fundraisers followed. Over the past 10 years, the HGSF has awarded grants totaling $1,786,000 to 287 Greeley Alums.
“The board works hard each year raising money which, after expenses, is all awarded in grants,” he said. Last year the HGSF awarded $223,000 to 29 Greeley alumni.
The demonstrated need for these 29 grant recipients was over $450,000. “We weren’t even able to cover half. Every year the HGSF works hard to bridge this gap,” said Nadel. “There is clearly need here in Chappaqua, despite the fact that it is an ‘affluent community.’ Need arises for many unexpected reasons including family illness, divorce and death. College is expensive!”
To learn more and/or contribute, visit www.hgsf.org.