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Scholarship Recipients Listed

Camryn Rock received the Kent Alexander Scholarship.

Anna Pless and Nicholas Cooper both received scholarships from the Permanent Scholarship Fund.

Rachel LeBarron received the Chouffet & Pierce Woods Scholarships.

2017 CHSAA Reunion 19

Brent and Margaret Alexander attended to assist with the presentation of the  Kent Alexander Scholarship, created by Francis in memory of her son Paul (Brent’s brother).

Students are reminded that scholarship applications are available on this website:

CHS Scholarship Application.

Scholarship Application Now Available

Check out the “Scholarship Application” tab on the site–it’s now possible for students to download an application for the scholarships available from the Chester High Alumni Association! Note that applications must be returned by June 1.

Chester High Alumni “Come Home”

Chester – As approximately 100 Chester High Alumni and friends gathered in town, there developed a picture of history, nostalgia, and community/school spirit.  The annual reunion and meeting always draws a large number of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who attended or graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s meeting was held on June 26 at the restored Chester Train Station.

Special recognition was given to Aldo Bizzazarro from the class of 1938 who was present for his 78th reunion. Bizzazaro was given the distinct honor of leading the buffet line together with Eleanor Barrett Laurent and Harriet Kelso Gilman from the class of 1939. The delicious spread was prepared by Chester Foundation workers under the direction of Barbara Pease Huntoon.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that these reunions are “drifting in the direction of becoming as much a town event as a school reunion.” Noting that the Chester Foundation handled most of the meeting arrangements and food, he also pointed out that the Historical Society supports the occasion by offering special hours for alumni to visit prior to the reunion. “I think this is proof that small town America is alive and well, at least here in Chester,” he said.

The graduating class of 1966 celebrated their  fifty-year anniversary. Returning members included David Zucker, Karla Zmuda Franke, Maureen Austin Meirs, Robert White Jr., Paul Young, Judy Young, John DeMoss, and Dorothy Besaw Woodall.

The Association re-elected Walter Boomsma as President for his eleventh year. Also returned to office were Vice President Robert Goewey, Treasurer George Morey, Jr. Mary Story Burkholder was elected Secretary.

Janice Leone Brown was reelected and John Young was elected to the Board of Directors. Scholarship Custodians include Duane C. Pease, Elinore Whitcher Gordon, and Edward Woodis.

Scholarship awards were presented to Gabriella Ramires Lyons, Ben Van Henigan, Chelsea Edinger, Ben Jameson, and Lauren Venn—all 2016 graduates from Gateway Regional High School.

The Association has already started planning for the next annual meeting, scheduled for June 27, 2017. Members agreed unanimously to maintain the Chester location and time of the annual event because “it’s good to be home.” Those associated with or in some way connected with Chester and/or Chester High School are encouraged to be certain the Association has current mailing information by contacting Mary Burkholder, Association Secretary, 96 Llewellyn Drive, Westfield MA 01085.  The Association also maintains an informational website at https://chesterhigh.wordpress.com and a Facebook page.

Scholarship Custodians Appointed

February 10, 2016 Leave a comment

The Officers and Executive Board of the Association are pleased to announce the appointment of Edward Woodis ’65 as a scholarship custodian to complete the currently vacant term expiring in June 2016. We appreciate Ed’s willingness to serve and welcome his experience and enthusiasm!

We are also pleased to announce the appointment of Lin Whitcher Gordon ’65 as a scholarship custodian to complete the term of Mary Woodis Gleason who found it necessary to resign for personal reasons. Many thanks go to Mary for her service and to Lin for accepting the appointment. We now have a “full roster!”

Help Wanted!

November 19, 2015 Leave a comment

figure_help_wanted_400_clr_2561 Our association is very fortunate to have and manage a significant scholarship fund that helps a number of kids every year. The Association’s founders wisely kept the management of those funds separate from the regular business of the Association by creating a team of Scholarship Custodians to manage the funds and determine scholarship recipients.

We have an opening for a such a custodian. The work is not difficult or time-consuming–most of it is seasonal in nature and revolves around determining scholarship winners.  (There are guidelines for each scholarship.)

About the only qualification is you are a member of the Association. You also can’t old any other office in the Association. I suppose ideally one would live somewhat near Chester, but given telephones and technology that’s probably not necessary.

If you’re interested in spending a few hours every year helping out your alma mater and our future generation, please contact Walter Boomsma by phone or email (click link). You can also leave a message on the Chester High School Facebook page. Vacancies are filled by vote of the Executive Board. The term we are filling ends June, 2016 but we hope the person will be reelected and serve a three-year term.

Comin’ Home to Chester…

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Fifty Year Class of 1965 (L-R) Donald Austin, Julie Niskanen Swol, Annette Fimbel LaMountain, Ed Woodis, Walter Boomsma, Elinore Whitcher Gordon, Bruce Cooper, Donald Blanchard

Chester – As over 100 Chester High Alumni and friends gathered in town, there developed a picture of history, nostalgia, and community/school spirit.  The annual reunion and meeting always draws a large number of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who attended or graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s meeting was held on June 27 at the restored Chester Train Station.

Special recognition was given to Aldo Bazazarro from the class of 1938 who was present for his 77th reunion. Bazazaro was given the distinct honor of leading the buffet line together with Eleanor Laurent class of 1939 through the delicious spread prepared by Chester Foundation workers.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that these reunions are “drifting in the direction of becoming as much a town event as a school reunion.” Noting that the Chester Foundation handled most of the meeting arrangements and food, he also pointed out that the Historical Society supports the occasion by offering special hours for alumni to visit prior to the reunion. “I think this is proof that small town America is alive and well, at least here in Chester,” he said.

Nine former teachers also attended the annual event. Anthony Russo, former English Teacher and Vice Principal confessed to the group that while he’s never attended his own high school reunion, he has attended a number in Chester. He explained that Chester was his first teaching position and a big impact on his life. “Chester is family,” Russo explained. “I will never forget the support and connections I have here.” Russo joked that he wasn’t much older than his first students—the graduating class of 1965 and this year’s fifty-year anniversary class. Returning members included Bruce Cooper, Annette Fimbel LaMountain, Walter Boomsma, Julie Niskanen Swol, Donald Austin, Donald Blanchard, Edward Woodis and Elinore Whitcher Gordon.

The Association elected Walter Boomsma as President for his tenth year. Also returned to office were Vice President Robert Goewey, Secretary Annette Fimbel LaMountain, and Treasurer George Morey, Jr. Morey is the only treasurer the organization has ever had with a record of service spanning over sixty years. When introduced and acknowledged for his service, he replied, “I’ll keep doing this as long as I can.”

Brenda Davenport Budreau and Tino Cardarelli were reelected to the Board of Directors. Duane C. Please was reelected as a Scholarship Custodian. Scholarship awards were presented to Charlotte LeBarron, Nicolas McClafin, Sarah Otterbeck, Samuel Bean, John LaHue, and Spencer Rock—all 2015 graduates from Gateway Regional High School.

The Association has already started planning for the next annual meeting, scheduled for June 25, 2016. Members agreed unanimously to maintain the Chester location and time of the annual event because “it’s good to be home.” Those associated with or in some way connected with Chester and/or Chester High School are encouraged to be certain the Association has current mailing information by contacting Annette LaMountain, Association Secretary, PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011.  The Association also maintains an informational website at https://chesterhigh.wordpress.com and a Facebook page.

Scholarship Report 2010

Caleb Robitaille receives his scholarship from Maurice Pease.

During this year’s reunion Maurice Pease, Scholarship Custodian presented four scholarships on behalf of the Chester High Alumni Association, noting that while the economy isn’t great, we continue to be able to support deserving students from Chester. 

The Pearl and Raymond Choufett Scholarship was awarded to Caleb Robitaille. Pease noted that since this fund was created, scholarships totalling over $110,000 have been awarded. 

Scholarships from the Permanent Scholarship Fund are made possible from a number of sources included donations from alumni and life memberships in the Association. This year’s scholarships went to Steven Ellershaw and Catherine Donovan. 

Maurice Pease congratulates Steve Ellershaw. Catherine Donovan was unable to attend.

Pease yielded the floor to retiring secretary Edith Whitaker for the presentation of the Amelia Jones Scholarship to her grandson Korey Whitaker. Edith noted it was a special honor to do so “on behalf of the alumni and Association. Moe noted that the Amelia Jones Scholarship has awarded over $170,000  in scholarships since it’s inception. 

Edith Whitaker makes the formal presentation to Korey.

When I asked Moe how long he’d been handling the scholarship program he said it’d been “too many years to count” and all he could say is “since Rachel (Rachel Rose Doyle Meher) gave it up.”  Moe will continue to serve as a custodian, but has passed the chairmanship to Duane C. Pease.  Graduating students from Chester are encouraged to contact their guidance counselor for scholarship information. 

The “unaudited” balance of all scholarship funds managed stood at $157,236.38 at the time of the reunion. While this may at first appear to be a sizeable number, it’s important to remember in most cases we are only allowed to use the income from these funds; not the principal. 

As a personal note, I had one of last year’s recipients contact me and make a point of expressing appreciation explaining that were it not for the scholarship she received she would have had to drop out of college. 

We do good stuff! 

The current scholarship custodians are Duane C. Pease of Chester, Maurice Pease of Middlefield, and Bruce Cooper of Russell.