In support of scholarship(s)

May 4, 2024

By Ken Anderson Columnist

Not too long ago, I went to the annual Phonathon of the Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle at the cafeteria of the new high school — a term that grates a little for people who, like me, went to the new high school originally built in 1960 and populated by the classes of 1961 through 1964.

The Phonathon was kicked off by Priscilla Guiney, a trustee, who welcomed the students (National Honor Society and track team members, as well as students seeking community service credits), provided background on the Phonathon, and thanked participants for their time. 

Bee Loprete then trained students on the mechanics of the call and brought up a student to do a simulated call. The students generally used cell phones, but in the good old days, the Phonathon was held at the Fenn School, where we relied on a bank of landline phones.

Students served for one of three shifts: Sunday from 12 to 3 and 3 to 6, and Monday from 5 to 8. They worked from a massive pile of sheets with donor history and demographic information. The results were dutifully recorded, and Al Powers carefully processed the sheets.

Concord-Carlisle High School senior Faith Clark, teacher Hanna Bruno, and senior Elijah Ramos at the 2024 Scholarship Fund Phonathon. Courtesy photo

The Fund was established in 1966 for the express purpose of providing need-based scholarships to students who had attended schools in Concord and/or Carlisle. Students are eligible for aid for up to four years of undergraduate work.

Scholarships are awarded in honor of prominent educators and citizens of the towns. 

My involvement began when I, with the help of two friends, raised enough money to establish a scholarship fund in honor of Norton Levy, one of many extraordinary educators and a longtime math teacher at CHS and CCHS. 

Over his career, Norton started interscholastic math teams, tutored exceptional math students to reach their full potential, and, in my senior year, led our math class, which had a number of juniors, to a class average on the Advanced Math Achievement Test of 795 out of 800.

An invitation to join the Fund’s board of trustees soon followed — an invitation I gladly accepted.

Working on the Scholarship Fund is very fulfilling, as we all know that education is the key to advancement in this world.  

While I did not personally receive assistance from the Fund — I am way too old — I know it has helped many young people realize their dreams. 

Sam Presti with the author. Photo courtesy of Ken Anderson

A dear friend and one of the hardest working people I know, Sam Presti, received support from the Fund.

He has rewarded us, not that we are looking for a reward, by achieving a leadership position in one of the most successful professional sports organizations in the country as well as endowing a scholarship in honor of two high school basketball teammates. He is now the executive vice president and general manager of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

The board of the Fund is made up of a diverse group of committed citizens and educators, all of whom volunteer their time.

Some board members have served for more than 30 years. (I’m looking at you, Al Powers.)

I remember seeing a bill for $2,800 or so for a year at my college. My daughter went to the same school 20-plus years ago, and the bill was north of $45,000. Now, it is on the order of $75,000. 

Clearly, our kids need our help.