Columbia HS Scholarship Fund Raises $19K for Needs-Based Aid

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Without the Columbia High School Scholarship Fund, many local students’ dreams of higher education would not be coming true.

“We have heard numerous times from students throughout the years that our scholarships are often the very thing that helps surmount their financial hurdles,” said Joan Lee, President of CHSSF. The funds help in make-or-break ways, sometimes supporting the aspects of education beyond tuition: “Being secure knowing that they can purchase books is mentioned most often,” said Lee.

The good news is that the CHSSF will continue to be able to provided dozens of scholarships again this year thanks to efforts like the annual cocktail reception which took place at the home of Tom Kerns and Jeanmarie Hargrave Kerns on Saturday, September 26.

“We are happy to report that the evening brought in $19,000, all of which will go directly to need-based scholarships for the Columbia High School Class of 2016. We are very grateful for the generosity of our supporters,” wrote CHSSF Trustee Cecelia Cancellaro.

Last June, the fund distributed more than 100 scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, to graduates of Columbia High School.

The speaker for the September 26 event was scholarship recipient Mary Okorie, who is studying for her Masters in Chemistry at Seton Hall. Okorie is one of three sisters, all of whom have benefited from CHSSF scholarships.

CHSSF Trustee Madeline Tugentman said the evening was a testament to the special qualities of Maplewood and South Orange: “All I can say is that the two towns rally together to help our children!”

Sponsors for the evening were:

Sarah Maloney of Finance of American Mortgage, Allison Ziefert of Keller Williams Midtown Direct Realty, AYCO, A Goldman Sachs Company, Robert Graham of Fidelity Investments in Millburn, James Lee, M.D., Robert Northfield of Keller Williams Midtown Direct Realty, Lissette Morales and Omari Frazier of Investors Bank, David Katz and Synergy Home Care, Leah Gomberg and Sweet Life by Design, and Suzy Fryer from Liberty Mutual.

Find out more information about CHSSF or make a donation at

Click on any photo below to see a slideshow of images from the evening fundraiser.

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