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Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scholarship funds honor, serve

At the end of last week’s column about a marvelous humanitarian effort, the establishment of the Nancy Theiling Thuma Foundation to award scholarships to deserving graduates of South High in Willoughby, I promised a few words about three similar programs involving the school.

They are the Arthur S. Holloway, Romeo Pallante and Pat Totedo funds. All four, including the Nancy foundation, are named for highly admired individuals who were positive forces in the community.

The Friends of Arthur S. Holloway Scholarship Fund was established by 10 fellow members of the Willoughby Rotary Club who were close to the former superintendent of schools in the Willoughby-Eastlake district and wanted to preserve his memory by awarding financial help to graduates of both South and North highs.

Art was a past president of Rotary. He was a community leader in many ways. It was felt that a scholarship bearing his name would be a fitting tribute to a man who was so greatly loved and who left such a lasting imprint on the district.

So 10 of his friends got together and put in motion the program than was certified May 3, 1998 to give financial aid to graduates of both schools.

Art was impartial in his devotion to the two schools. When he attended football games he wore a jacket that was half North and half South – North orange on one side and South blue on the other.

Thus it was decided to divide the scholarship funds equally beginning in 1988 with one winner from each school. The awards began modestly with two $500 scholarships, rising as high as $2,400 in 1997, when the stock market was providing excellent returns on the fund’s investments.

Since then the awards have fluctuated as the market has risen and ebbed. The total number of scholarships now stands at 48, representing $62,100 in grants.

A wide variety of institutions has welcomed the North and South scholars. The cross-section includes Lakeland, Kent State, Ohio State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Akron, John Carroll, Hiram, Oberlin, Northwestern, Miami, Gannon, Cleveland State, Ohio Wesleyan, Dayton, Toledo and Ashland.

The fund now has assets of $79,378 and new contributions are received each year.

The original incorporators of the fund included Bob Riggin, who remains as president, John Nelson, who remains as treasurer, Dr. Walter Sargent, Dr. Paul Ferris and myself. Four are deceased: Dr. Jim Oddis, the Rev. William P. Gross, Marion Beloat and Dr. Charles Hoffecker.

The 10th trustee, Pete Jurjans, moved to Latvia. Because we wanted an attorney on the board, Pete was replaced by Barry Byron. After his passing, he was replaced by his son and law partner, Steve Byron. So we still have an attorney on hand, although we don’t anticipate any legal entanglements.

Clark Hill has been added to the board, which will soon fill a couple of vacancies from among active Rotarians.

Contributions can be sent to Bob Riggin at 38171 Pleasant Valley Rd., Willoughby Hills, OH 44094.

The Romeo Pallante fund got an enormous amount of publicity a year ago when we launched it with a huge concert in the Performing Arts Center at Mentor High in honor of the man who was vocal music director at South High, the Lakeland civic chorus, the Willoughby Methodist Church, the Ohio Bell choir and virtually anywhere else where as many as two people could get together and hold the same note for five seconds.

The concert did well. It endowed scholarships at both South High and Lakeland Community College. The concert was such an outpouring of love and affection for the adored Ro Pallante that people are still talking about it.

The other scholarship is fairly new. It honors Pat Totedo, long-time president of the South High Boosters Club and who was honored in 1988 as a Distinguished Citizen by the chamber of commerce.

It was established by his family to continue the legacy of Pat and his spirit of giving back to the community by providing financial aid each year for a South High graduate seeking to further his or her education.

The first Pat Totedo scholarship was awarded this year.

If you would like to make a contribution to any of these scholarship funds, give me a call and I will point you in the right direction.

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