Scholarship foundation marks 25th year


The newest board members of the High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield are, from left, Bart Surrick, Paul Arancio, Michelle Mittola, Will Downey, and Jerry McTigue. Not shown is April Burggraf.

The High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield (HSSFF) is kicking off its 25th year with plans to seek new corporate sponsorships and individual contributions, award more scholarships across a wider swath of Fairfield’s college-bound students and cap it all off with a fund-raising gala next spring to celebrate a quarter century of service to the community.

The nonprofit HSSFF was founded in 1989 by Mary Kay Frost, who sits on the board of directors, and Barbara McMahon, who together saw the need to help Fairfield’s public high school students meet the rising costs of a post-secondary education.

“We didn’t have much to start with,” said Frost, who recalls those meager first days scraping together funds by selling pizzas at local carnivals. “But with the vigorous help of our then steering committee volunteers Bob Genualdi, Ann Flanagan, Eve Schare, Debbie Zeiff, Nancy Larsen and others, we were able to gain traction over the years and establish a large number of scholarships we give away annually for a variety of criteria, not solely academics.”

The total amount awarded over two and a half decades now exceeds $1.6 million. The scholarships are distributed to seniors during an awards night at each of Fairfield’s two public high schools, Warde and Ludlowe, usually the night before graduation.

To commemorate its milestone 25th year, the scholarship foundation has challenged itself to raise $25,000 in new contributions. (Donations may be made at A

Another area HSSFF would like to expand into is social media, hoping to attain 2,500 Twitter followers over the year (@ffldscholarship) and creating an active presence on Facebook by gaining 2,500 “likes.”

The all-volunteer board has welcomed two new student representatives to assist in these efforts, Paul Arancio and Will Downey, both seniors at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

Additionally, a sponsorship drive will be launched to enlist corporations and local businesses to establish scholarships in their name, emphasizing that such generosity goes a long way toward promoting their brand in the community and making lifelong customers

Among the many grants HSSFF awards are memorial scholarships established by the families of deceased loved ones, PTA scholarships for graduates of Fairfield’s elementary, middle and high schools and scholarships funded by various community, alumni and business organizations.

Factors that will earn a student financial aid vary according to the wishes of each scholarship’s funding sponsor. These might include academic performance, financial need, music achievement, athletics, community service, ethnic heritage, choice of career or major and membership in a sponsoring organization, among others.

Because of the significant number and diversity of scholarships awarded, HSSFF encourages students to apply and parents to ensure their high school seniors’ applications are completed and submitted when due in the spring.

For more information about the High School Scholarship Foundation of Fairfield, how to establish a scholarship, apply for one, or make a donation, visit

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