2017 Annual Elks Scholarship Ball Continues the Tradition of Making Achievement a Reality
SARATOGA SPRINGS – For some of us, the fortunate ones, the playing field that we call “life” is level – smooth as glass, as far as the eye can see. These people have the equivalent of an “all access pass.” They get on the field, and show the world what they have to offer.
For others, just as talented and brilliant as the fortunate, getting on the field is the whole issue. Without access, without getting on the field, they can never hope to be an All-star.
Sadly, talent alone, sometimes is just not sufficient. Brilliance, like a young tree, must be planted in the proper soil for it to grow to its full potential.
We all know this. It is why many in our community who have achieved – those who were helped along the way, and those who never needed help – give back to others.
One organization that has given back – for decades – yet almost completely under the radar – has been the Frederick Allen Lodge #609 and its women’s auxiliary, The Mary A. Carter Temple #362 (AKA the Elks), both housed at 69 Beekman Street. Through its Annual Scholarship Ball, the Elks have given life to their long-standing (this branch has been with us since 1925) mission to “…cultivate the principles of Charity, Justice, and Brotherly and Sisterly love.”
More to the point, the Elk’s Scholarship recipients get access to the field, and that fertile soil they need, to be the best that they can be.
And yet, from a mass media perspective, these good works have largely gone unnoticed relative to other (worthy) charities and causes. It’s almost as if it were a secret.
Well, today I declare: Secret no more!
Why? Because there are too many good stories to tell.
Maya Clarke-Brunetto. The 2016 Scholarship recipient is a Saratoga Springs High School graduate, and like previous recipients, was nominated by her SSHS guidance counselor. and selected by a panel of school officials. “I had no idea,” Maya said brightly, “I was just told that I had won a scholarship and that I would find out at the graduation ceremony,” In truth, Maya picked up a couple of them, including the Elks’. With these in hand, she was able to enroll and attend her number one school choice: Dartmouth College.
“Oh, yes it made a big difference.” Maya said. “It relieved a lot of the financial stress that I would have had. Transitioning to college life was much easier, and I was able to better concentrate on my studies.”
Maya will be attending the 2017 Scholarship Ball on June 16 (see details here). She will be one of the featured speakers, and deservedly so. Now concluding her second semester as an engineering major, Maya notched an impressive 3.33 GPA in her first at the prestigious campus in Hanover, NH.
Let me assure you, there are 3.33’s and then there are 3.33’s at Dartmouth.
And then there is Maya’s 3.33 at Dartmouth.
She listed some of her classes that first term. “Well, there was Calculus of Vector Value Functions,” Maya said, “and Problem Solving via Object Oriented Programming.” This would be math and computer science for those keeping score at home.
“Oh, and I took a first-year writing seminar,” she said.
Aha! Of course, she made it easy on herself here. No doubt filling this requirement with ponderous poetry, or some such, to make her load lighter.
“I concentrated on Brain Evolution. From a psych perspective.” Maya added, helpfully.
Well, who could not be in favor of some brain evolution, folks? And tell me we don’t always need more of it!
This is where your money goes when you buy a ticket or donate – as pure and simple as I can make it. To young brains’ evolution. For the benefit of society.
And lest you think that Ms. Clarke-Brunetto is just a brainy bookworm, note well that she is also a member of Dartmouth’s Chamber Orchestra Club, where she plays viola, and makes time to enjoy the beauty of Hanover by hiking and other outdoor activities. “I love Dartmouth life!” Maya said. She is looking forward to moving off-campus, and growing into what you expect to be a very bright future. I can’t wait to hear what she has to tell us on June 17, and for the next steps of her life to be played out.
Michelle Conde. 1979 Elks scholarship recipient. Class of 1982 Skidmore College with a degree in Chemistry. Masters from SUNY New Paltz in Mathematics education. Michelle was in town for her 35th Skidmore reunion last weekend, and we visited briefly amid the flurry of activities that such reunions have.
She took the time, because 38 years ago, someone took the time for her.
“I remember thinking,” Michelle said, “how expensive books were and paying for them would have been difficult. Even back then, they cost about $600. My Elks scholarship made that easier.” In those days, the scholarship was about $250, but has grown over time, as have prices of things. But Michelle is a living example of the tremendous impact an investment in the right person, at the right time, can have.
Now settled in North Carolina, Michelle has devoted herself to helping others in the classroom. She has been teaching High School Math and Science for over 27 years in the town of Apex, and for the past two years has been a Math Support Specialist for Grades 9-12, targeting those who might otherwise fail. “When I see students succeed, I know we all succeed,” she said.
When you level the playing field, you set up conditions that broaden people’s horizons. For decades, The Annual Elks Scholarship Ball has been doing just that.
The 2017 Scholarship Ball is on Friday, June 16. A video describing other event details is here
To buy tickets, donate, or for more information contact:
Bill Stanley | 518.769.4581 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Reed | 518.583.2999 | email@example.com
Ken Klotz | 518.587.1534 | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 7, 2017