Grand Island Foundation News Webpage

Grand Island Foundation Web Page

P.O. Box 1183, Grand Island, NY 14072
716-773-7265

Board of Directors

Mrs. Myrna Blair, Mr. Noel Blair Jr. ('86),
Mrs. Sidney Cohen, Mrs. Sally Gollwitzer Goris ('74),
Mrs. Maura McCowan Rustowicz ('81),
Mrs. Susan Campbell
Mrs. Nancy Major
Dr. Karen Karmazin
Denise Bonsack Dunbar ('75)






Grand Island Foundation Presents 1st Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony - 2007

  
(Left) William Whitford, Lee Zeplowitz, Neil Tetkowski, James Desemone
(Right) Dr. James Desemone with Foundation President Sally Goris and Emcee Mary Friona from WGRZ Channel 2 in the background.
Jodi Robinson Photos - Click for larger view


Shown left are members of the Grand Island Foundation Distinguished Alumni Committee: Sally Goris, Myrna Blair, Julie Bowen, Maura Rustowicz, Joanne Kud, and Jacque Royal.
Click photo for larger view


   The Grand Island Foundation (for Education) began a tradition on Friday, April 20, 2007. The 2006, first class of Distinguished Alumni was honored at an afternoon assembly. The Grand Island High School Jazz Ensemble performed as a prelude to the assembly. After opening remarks by Foundation President Sally Goris, special guest and WGRZ TV personality Mary Friona introduced the inductees.
   Dr. James Desemone, class of 1975 began by thanking a few of his Grand Island teachers, chemistry teacher Norman Wessel for attention to details and his love of teaching, and trigonometry teacher Peter Prozik for his enthusiasm for teaching. Dr. Desemone says he has incorporated the attitudes he learned into his life as a endochrinologist and a professor of medicine at Albany Medical College.
    Artist Neil Tetkowski, class of 1973, gave a power point presentation of his Common Ground World Project, an international non-governmental organization that uses arts and education to focus attention on global environmental concerns. He also thanked former GIHS art teachers William (Bill) Maggio and Lyn Laman, along with his mother Lee Tetkowski for his interest in ceramics and sculpture.
   William Whitford, class of 1973, mentioned the above art teachers and Paul Hauser as inspiration in high school where he spent most of his energy on artistic sculpture and the humanities. After graduating with a master's degree from the University of Buffalo, he participated in cancer research for 17 years at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He is presently on staff at the University of Utah. Mr. Whitford also gave a power point presentation,titled, "What A Researcher Does."
   Financial Advisor Lee Zeplowitz, class of 1976, gave a moving speech on the fact that "life is hard, but it's worth it." He advised the audience, especially the students, that through "being humble, self sacrifice and hard work" you can attain any dream you set your mind to. Above all, "believe in yourself."
   The following serve on the Grand Island Foundation (for Education) board: President Sally Gollwitzer Goris, Vice President Maura McCowan Rustowicz, Secretary Susan Campbell, Treasurer Myrna Blair, Noel Blair Jr., Lee Cohen, Nancy Major, Dr. Karen Karmazin and Denise Bonsack Dunbar.





Distinguished Alumni To Be Recognized At GIHS Assembly
Grand Island Foundation (for Education)
Honors Four Grand Island Senior High School Alumni - April 2007
                            

Neil Tetkowski (Class of 1973), Dr. James Desemone (Class of 1975), William Whitford (Class of 1972) and Lee Zeplowitz (Class of 1976) will be recognized as Distinguished Alumni Friday, April 20 in the high school auditorium.

   The Distinguished Alumni Committee of the Grand Island Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of four former Grand Island Senior High School students as the first Distinguished Alumni. These individuals have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society, and provide a role model for current high school students while concurrently promoting school spirit and pride in the school.
   The alumni award has been a goal of former Foundation president Mrs. Myrna Blair. The Distinguished Alumni Committee was formed one year ago by the Foundation through public soliciting of community members. The committee has been meeting for the last year setting criteria, publicizing requests for nominations, and planning an appropriate ceremony.
   Through the cooperation of high school principal Mrs. Sandra Anzalone, an assembly has been planned for Friday, April 20, 2007 at 12:45 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The student body will attend and all community members, family and friends are cordially invited to come to share in the excitement and hear the recipients speak of their achievements.
   The following will be honored:
• Dr. James Desemone, class of 1975, associate professor of medicine, Albany Medical Center, Director, Goodman Diabetes Service Division of Endocrinology
• Neil Tetkowski, class of 1973, director of the art galleries at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, artist of "Common Ground World Project"
• William Whitford, class of 1972, Senior Manager for Research and Product Development for HyClone Laboratories in Logan, Utah
• Lee Zeplowitz, class of 1976, founder and president of The Zeplowitz Group in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania






Do You Know An Accomplished Or
Distinguished Alumnus From Grand Island High School? - 2006


   The Distinguished Alumni Award Committee of the Grand Island Foundation (for Education) has been busy with the preliminary work of initiating an annual award to outstanding Grand Island High School alumni. In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class of Grand Island High School, the committee would like to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society, providing a role model for current high school students, and concurrently promoting school spirit and pride in the school.
   The committee expects to honor these individuals at a spring 2007 assembly at the high school. These role models will be invited to return to the school and speak to the student body about their experiences. The recipients' names will also be permanently displayed in the Viking Mall.
   Please consider nominating. Anyone can submit a nomination and forms are available on the school district web site. Hard copies available at the district office. Deadline for submission is December 31, 2006. Contact Sally Goris for further information at 773-1449, or e-mail sgoris@verizon.net.
   Click "Distinguished Alumni Award" for more information and criteria for choosing those to be honored.






Grand Island Foundation Receives Donation From Class of '76 - 2006


(left) Foundation President Sally Goris with Class of 1976 reunion committee members Kathy McNally and Maureen Kielt.
Jodi Robinson Photo

    Members of the Grand Island High School Class of 1976 enjoyed their 30th reunion this past July and raised funds for the Grand Island Foundation (for education). Class member Lee Zeplowitz, now living in Philadelphia, kicked off the fundraising with a $1,000 donation in the spring and another $1,000 was raised through donations of fellow classmates. On Wednesday, September 13, 2006 the reunion committee presented Foundation President Sally Goris with a check for $2,000. The Foundation's goal is to obtain and administer funds raised through donations in order to enhance the school district's educational and enrichment programs not covered by tax dollars.




Grand Island Foundation (for education) Names New Officers - 2006


Education Foundation's new president Sally Goris.
   July 20, 2006 . . . The Grand Island Education Foundation, at its recent reorganization meeting, elected Sally Goris president of the Foundation's board of directors and immediate past president, Myrna Blair, treasurer. Continuing as vice president and secretary respectively are Maura Rustowicz and Sue Campbell.
   The Foundation's goal is to obtain and administer funds raised through donations in order to enhance the school district's educational and enrichment programs not covered by tax dollars. Now in its seventh year of fundraising, almost $20,000 has been made available to students through teacher grants.
   This summer the Foundation will once again approach the community by letter to ask for its support in enhancing the curriculum. Contributions in any amount may be sent to Grand Island Foundation, P. O. Box 1183, Grand Island, NY 14072. The Foundation is chartered as a non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible.
   In addition to its fundraising efforts, the Foundation is establishing a Distinguished Alumni Award in conjunction with Grand Island High School's 40th anniversary of its first graduating class. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor outstanding high school graduates who have excelled in their professions and/or made significant contributions to their communities.
   Those selected will be honored and their names will be displayed permanently on a Wall of Fame in the high school's Viking Mall.
   The Foundation is soliciting community members and/or alumni to join the organization committee. This committee will assist Foundation board members to establish criteria for nominations, the selection process, and venue options. For more information contact Sally Goris, 773-1449 or e-mail "sgoris@verizon.net".





Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Nominations, Financial Support - 2006

   June 30, 2006 . . . The Grand Island Foundation (for education) has established a distinguished alumni award committee to recognize outstanding alumni from Grand Island High School and is now requesting nominations. Criteria for this award are
• has been an alumnus of GIHS for a minimum of 10 years
• has made significant contributions to their community and/or in their chosen profession
    The award recipients will be honored in the spring of 2007. Click
Alumni Award/GI Foundation for complete information.
    Click for Alumni Award Form.
   Scroll up to July 20, 2006 article for additional information on the Distinguished Alumni Award.





Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Planners - 2006

   May 11, 2006 . . . The Distinguished Alumni Award Committee of the Grand Island Foundation (for Education) is looking for interested individuals to join them in planning activities for the first Distinguished Alumni Award for Grand Island High School graduates. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 at the home of Sally Goris. Call 773-1449 or e-mail
sgoris@verizon.net for further details.





Plans To Establish GIHS Distinguished Alumni Award Under Way - 2006

   May 11, 2006 . . . The Distinguished Alumni Award Committee of the Grand Island Foundation (for Education) has been busy this spring with the preliminary work of initiating an annual award to outstanding Grand Island High School alumni. In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class of Grand Island High School, the committee would like to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society, providing a role model for current high school students, and concurrently promoting school spirit and pride in the school.
   The committee expects to honor these individuals at a spring 2007 assembly at the high school. These role models will be invited to return to the school and speak to the student body about their experiences. The recipients' names will also be permanently displayed in the Viking Mall.
   Nomination forms will be available by fall on the school district web site and hard copies will be available at the district office.
   The committee's next meeting will be held Wednesday, May 24. Any individuals interested in working on this committee are asked to call Sally Goris for further information at 773-1449, or e-mail
sgoris@verizon.net.





Grand Island Foundation (for Education) Names Two New Trustees - 2006

   February 16, 2006 . . . The Grand Island Foundation (for Education) has appointed two new members to its board of directors. Islanders Sue Campbell and Nancy Major have joined the Foundation, which seeks to raise private funds for educational and enrichment activities on behalf of the Grand Island public schools.
   Both women have been actively involved in educational activities.
   Sue Campbell, a language arts teacher at Connor Middle School, coordinates the districtís English-Language Arts Department, is a member of the annual professional performance review committee and the curriculum development committee. She is involved with the Niagara Frontier Reading Council, the NYS and International Reading associations, and serves on Kaegebeinís Shared Decision-Making committee. She also participates in PTA activities, served as PTA Council president and is a PTA officer. In addition, she is enrolled in graduate courses beyond the masterís degree.
   Nancy Major currently teaches at the Grand Island Cooperative Nursery School. Each of her four children is enrolled in a different Island school and she is an active PTA volunteer, and was president of Sidway PTA. In addition, she has been involved with Cub Scouts, is a religious education teacher, an active hockey mom, a member of Band Boosters, and has been an organist at her church. A former high school biology teacher for five years, she resigned to raise her family.





Grand Island Foundation To Honor Distinguished Alumni - 2005

   December 15, 2005 . . . In conjunction with Grand Island High School's 40th anniversary of its first graduating class, the Grand Island Foundation (for education) is establishing a Distinguished Alumni Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor outstanding graduates of Grand Island High School who have excelled in their professions and/or made significant contributions to their communities. Those selected will be honored in the fall of 2006 and their names will be permanently displayed on a Wall of Fame in the High School Viking Mall.
   At this time, the Foundation is soliciting community members and/or alumni to join the Organization Committee. This committee will assist the Foundation board members to establish criteria for nominations, the selection process, and venue options. For more information, contact Sally Goris, 773-1449, or e-mail
sgoris@verizon.net.





Education Foundation To Supply Funds For Field Trips

   The Grand Island Education Foundation has allocated $500 to the school district to be used for field trips.
   Cuts in the 2005-06 budget had eliminated classroom field trips in order to keep the tax rate the same as last year. The cuts eliminated field trips to the Eco Island Nature Preserve, and to sites such as the fire hall, the library, government offices, museums, and the zoo, as well as to cultural events.
   Thanks to the response from the public to the Foundation's latest appeal, some money is now available to each school for limited trips.
   The Education Foundation solicits funds each year to provide enrichment and educational support for students.




Grand Island Foundation (for education) Mails Annual Request - 2005


Pictured is G.I. Foundation President Myrna Blair
mailing Foundation Requests.

   July 21, 2005 . . . More than 8000 pieces of mail were delivered to the post office last week as part of the Grand Island Foundationís yearly effort to raise dollars to support Grand Island students.
   With its zero-increase budget this year, the school district has had to reduce funding for such items as equipment, supplies and field trips. The Foundation, begun by its president, Myrna Blair, came about in response to a cut in field trips several years ago. Once again, field trips are on the chopping block.
   Hopefully the good will of Islanders and alumni will make it possible for the school district to continue to provide a quality education. This is the fifth year that the Foundation has solicited funds, and for the first time Sidway alumni were included in the mailing.
   Thanks to the generosity of Islanders in previous years, the Foundation has been able to supply equipment and material through teacher grants at all five schools and in all subject areas. Dollars received go directly to enhance and enrich programs.
   "We have supplied social studies DVDs, graphing calculators, biography books, art history videos, dry-erase boards, biology supplies, chemistry equipment, a laminator, reference materials, remedial supplies, earphones, overhead projectors, books for classroom libraries, cross-country skis, a digital camera, a camcorder, as well as other materials," a spokesman for the Foundation said this week.
   Islanders should have received a blue trifold with a return envelope from the Foundation. Those who did not and wish to contribute, are asked to contact Myrna Blair at 773-7288.


Grand Island Foundation Awards
Grants Totalling $6,300 To 14 Island Teachers

   The Grand Island Foundation has approved grant requests for $6,300.13 to assist Grand Island students. According to Director Myrna Blair, the foundation approved grants from 14 teachers.
   Funding approved for Sidway Elementary School includes:
• Karen Beacher, for two Kodak digital cameras, $655.50
• Jody Slipko, leveled books for independent reading, $379.50.
   For Huth Road Elementary:
• Celeste Angelo, four DVD players and to begin a DVD library, $490.
   For Connor Middle School:
• Katherine Chadwick and Nicole Oursler, 60 classroom communicator wipe-off boards, $280.13
• Susan Campbell and Carol Kimmerle, visiting author Gordon Korman, $1,000
• Sarah Bifaro, circle graph and graphing dry erase board, $300
• Craig Voigt, positive behavioral interventions and support, $325
• Debra Remson, Middle School musical, $400.
   For Grand Island High School:
• Mary Colpoys, NYS Living Environmental lab kits, $190
• Gregory Garzon and Jonathan Head, two organic distillation sets, $410
• Teresa Corso, graphing calculators for Learning Center, $600
• Deborah Billica, 10 graphing calculators, $1020
• Dana Allen, 250GB hard drive for G4 MacIntosh for iMovies, $250.
   Dr. Karen Karmazin, assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, said the district appreciates the generosity of the Foundation, and the dedication of the Grand Island teachers. ďThe application of grants by teachers demonstrates the extent of care, concern and extraordinary educational leadership which pervades all of our schools,Ē she said.



Grand Island Foundation Provides School Support


Pictured are G.I.Foundation president Myrna Blair
presenting a check to interim superintendent Dr. Vincent Coppola.
      Thanks to the generosity of the Grand Island community, The G.I. Foundation was able to fund seven teacher grants for the coming 2002-2003 school year.
   Grants will supply educational aids for social studies and science at Sidway; a printer and TI calculators for the high school Learning Center; art videos at Connor Middle School; hands-on materials to develop math skills at Kaegebein; 2nd grade chapter books at Huth; support for the middle school musical; and batteries for the Baby Think-It-Over dolls for the high school health course.
   The foundation works on behalf of the schools to attract private funds for educational and extra-curricular activity not covered by tax dollars. It is chartered as a non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible. The annual fund drives continues, and contributions can be sent to P.O Box 1183, Grand Island, Ny 14072. Pictured are G.I. Foundation president Myrna Blair presenting a check for almost $2000 to interim superintendent Dr. Vincent Coppola.



G.I. Foundation Helps Fund Education Programs

By Lee Cohen

   Myrna Blair, president of the Grand Island Foundation, presents a check to Superintendent Paul Fields. The money, more than $1600, is earmarked to fund five teacher requests. Earlier in the year faculty had been invited to submit grant requests to the G.I. Foundation for items that would enhance or enrich the curriculum.
   Items to be funded are equipment for the high schol physical education winter program, art materials for the 8th grade Studio in Art course, videos for the high school earth science curriculum, supplies for Kaegebein students to use in an academic intervention program, and slides and other material for the Connor Middle School science curriculum to help the curriculum meet new state standards.
   The Grand Island Foundation will be holding a second fund drive this year, hoping to continue and expand its financial aid to the school district.



G.I. Foundation Awards Teacher Grants
   Thanks to the generosity of the Grand Island community, the Grand Island Foundation was able to award teachers more than $1600 for curriculum enrichment materials this year.
   The largest award, $1000, was for the purpose of cross-country skis to increase high school physical education offerings. Other grants were given for video tapes to enhance the earth science program at the high school: supplies to make possible a full 8th grade Studio in Art program; materials for the Kaegebein ACCESS program, which provides short-term help for students in academic difficulty; and for plant and animal cell models fsor 6th and 8th grade science.
   The Foundation, a not-for-profit organization was the inspiration of school board trustee Myrna Blair, who saw a need to attract private funds for educational and extra-curricular activities not covered by direct public tax support.
   Grand Island teachers were the first to contribute, raising $500 during a dress-down day. A brochure which was mailed to all Islanders last year explaining the Foundation, evoked a generous response, and the Foundation looks forward to continuing its fund-raising efforts on behalf of the students and teachers of the Grand Island schools.

You Can Make The Critical Difference. . .


Foundation members (left) Christine Learman and Myrna Blair and Dr. Paul Fields (right) are shown accepting a sizable donation to the Foundation from Richard Crawford Jr.
(Barbi Lare photo)


   The Grand Island Foundation is working on behalf of the Grand Island Central Schools to attract private funds for educational and extra-curricular activity needs not covered by on-going public support.
You can help!
   As a Graduate, you can best appreciate how your educational activities gave you a solid foundation for the future - and how crucial it is for today's and tomorrow's students to have similar opportunities.
   As a Resident, your property values are improved through the community's and school district's contributions to the overall attractiveness of Grand Island.
   As a Business Owner, your success hinges on Grand Island's ability to prepare well-rounded individuals, able to participate in a vibrant community.
   As a Parent, you want to ensure that your children continue to receive the very best education and extra-curricular activities available.

Become a partner. Click on form for a larger version



Grand Island Foundation Off To Good Start
   "We're truly gratified by the response to our announcement and our request for funds," commented Myrna Blair, speaking about the launching of the Grand Island Foundation.
   Dedicated to working on behalf of the school district to attract private funds for educational and extra-curricular activity needs not covered by tax-generated dollars, Foundation members mailed an introductory brochure to homeowners in late December.
   In response numberous Islanders as well as otherscontributed their tax-deductible gifts. In most cases the contribution was earmarked "as needed" but in some instances, specific areas such as music, arts, or library were mentioned and the Foundation will be honoring those requests.
   The Foundation board hopes to begin distributing dollars after spring break and will be notifying school staff about applying for grants from contributions received.
   The Foundation has cards available for those wishing to honor someone with a donation and also for those wanting to make an In Memoriam contribution.
   Those who did not receive a brochure or who want more information are asked to call 773-7265 and ask for Myrna Blair.


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