POINT PLEASANT — With a spirit of pride in their school, the Point Pleasant High School Class of 1960 has announced the creation of a permanent scholarship in honor of departed classmates.
The idea came about during the group’s monthly meeting that began in 2015. The home-based monthly luncheon idea was spearheaded by classmate Diana Lewis Bragg who, according to class member Suzanne Dickens, chaired almost every Reunion Committee since the class graduated in 1960.
“The lunches gave members an opportunity to plan, socialize and reminisce about the class, upcoming reunions, and the highlights of classmates who have remained in contact,” Suzanne Dickens said.
When Bragg passed away in 2017, the home-group wanted to honor her, and through social media, newsletters, and telephone calls they raised enough money to establish the Diana Lewis Bragg Scholarship Award. The scholarship was awarded twice to a graduating high school senior who entered college with an interest in cheerleading.
Shortly after Bragg died, her lifelong friend and classmate Sharon Sauer Hutchinson passed away, followed by classmates Pat Wilson III, John Bowcott, and George Knapp.
Suzanne Dickens said the group knew that Bragg would want all of her classmates honored and included in any annual memorial, so they contacted her family and reached out again to classmates.
Along with her husband David Dickens, the couple aligned the group with the Mason County Community Foundation (MCCF) to hold, invest and administer the incoming funds. It took almost four years for the Class to accumulate enough contributions to build an endowment large enough to guarantee an award gleaned from its annual interest, and the class is pleased to announce the first scholarship will be awarded this year to a 2022 graduating senior.
Misty Hamon, MCCF executive director, said she was pleased to work with the Dickens and other members of the PPHS Class of 1960 to establish the scholarship. She advised applications are now available, and the MCCF will begin presentations at area high schools in the next three weeks for all scholarships the Foundation has available.
“Suzanne Dickens has been the driving force behind this scholarship initiative. So far $24,000 has been raised, which will allow for a permanent annual scholarship award of $1,000,” Hamon said. “But she isn’t finished yet, she plans to keep going to continue adding donations to the fund, since additional donations would increase the amount of funds available for scholarships.”
“The Class of 1960 is proud and honored to offer this annual award,” Suzanne said. “The award will not be based on athletic ability, career development, religion, musical skill or scholarship, although the recipient could certainly be adept in any of these areas. The award will be given to a graduating senior who has been determined by his peers and a committee of selected adults that consider the candidate as ‘most deserving’.”
Suzanne said the scholarship is available to students entering college, vocational school, community college, military service or a specialized career development program. The selection criteria is to be based upon the respect the class has for the individual and their leadership which can be exemplified in the following manner: The award winner should serve as a role model, a person who is admired by their classmates for their character, or the ability to stand for a principle even in the face of controversy; they should be able to demonstrate a capacity to show empathy or to appreciate how difficult life can be for many in their school or community; community service, advocacy, personal sacrifice in service to another, or work toward the achievement of a common community goal.
When the annual award is granted, a list of departed Class of 1960 classmates who died in that year will be read in their memory.
Contributions to the fund are welcomed and can be mailed to MCCF-PPHS Class of 1960 Scholarship, 4 Orchard Hill, Point Pleasant, WV 25550.For more information on applying for the Class of 1960 Scholarship, contact the Mason County Community Foundation at 304-372-4500, or visit their website: www.mccfinc.org.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.