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Esky Class of ’59 establishes scholarship

Challenge goes out to all graduating classes

October 23, 2009
By Jillian Jamison, Daily Press

ESCANABA - In commemoration of their golden anniversary as graduates of Escanaba Area High School, the members of the Class of 1959 decided to an extra-special remembrance of their time as Eskymos. The classmates agreed to establish a scholarship for Escanaba high-school students who plan to pursue a post-secondary education.

Initially, the hope was to raise $2,000 toward their scholarship goal. Then, after the funds were place in an endowment fund, the annual interest would be presented in the form of a scholarship award.

The '59ers began to pay in to the fund in anticipation of their Aug. 7-8 class reunion. True to their motto, "Foward ever; backward never," the class continued to pay into the scholarship fund.

Article Photos

Photo courtesy of Lee’s Studio

Escanaba Area High School Class of 1959 graduates gather for their 50-year class reunion in August. Kneeling in front is Casimer Zappia. In front row, from left: LeRoy Cooper, Ken Hamilton, Nancy (Sinnaeve) Slagstad, Marlene (Sopina) Noyes, Alice (Gonsowski) Jensen, Carol (Borman) Thoney, Moni (Robinson) Abel, Carolyn (Erdman) Guiliani, Sharon (LaPalm) McMillie, Orvella (Tolman) Sedenquist, Phyllis (Bryers) DeMay, Roberta (Sodergren) Anderson, Karen (Bathke) Rossby, Patricia (Rosemurgy) Juul, Sue (Thompson) Gagan, Mary (Jerow) Dusenbery, Janice (Olsen) Stamper, Judy (LaVasser) Johnson, Jean (Peterson) Gardiner, Richard Arntzen, Virginia Clairmont, Sharon (Beckstrom) Lung, Kathy (Nelson) Strassburger, Rose Mary (Ambeau) Blake, Joan (Willette) Leadman, Joy (Peterson) Liebel, Barbara (Therrian) LaCroix, Susan (Douglas) Chamberlain, Richard Erickson, Richard Jones and Richard Courier. In second row: David Klasell, Jon Taylor, Melvin Hanson, Claudette (LaBay) Therrian, Margaret (Flannery) Englehardt, Carol (Coplan) Davis, Loreen (Jenkins) Mileski, Sally (Rockman) Sandoval, Beveryly (Alm) Snell, Dolores (Lorenson) Butler, Raino Maki, Barbara (Schils) Schwalbach, Susan(Pohl) Lee, Sherry (Chylek) Austin, Nora (Ebbeson) Rice, Judy (Pohl) Sandona, Donna (Budinger) Richer, Nancy (Stoneclift) Marenger, Mary Lou (Trygg) Wieks, Janet (Rouse) Radloff, Mary LeMire, Robert Clouse, Thomas Lavolette and Peter Hellesheim. In third row: Dolores (Larson) Dowling, Sharon (O’Neal) Lutz, Rowena Kickbush, Nancy (Buckley) Patterson, Carl Johnson, William LaMarch, Robert Gallagher, Jack Lindstrom, Cory Johnson, David Herbst, Bette (Sheedlo) Richards, Ruth (Anderson) South, Suzanne (Rublein) Victorson, Judi (Jensen) Orr, Lois (Cholger) Nordin, Jean (Aronson) Peterson, Lanny Johnston and James Barron. In fourth row: Morris Sorby, Leslie Scheuren, Gerald Groff, Gerald Rose, Dale Anderson, Norman Sopina, James Perle, James McDonough, Stuart Monson, Don Olstrom, James Schwartz, Ron Benjamin, Thomas Nelson, Kent Johnson, Gary Dahlvik, Dennis Victorson and Ray Seppanen. Not pictured: Richard Manske, Dale Juhl, Jaynis (Snow) Kristich, Robert Anderson and Donald Victorson.

How surprised they were when, during their reunion gathering, they discovered that they had paid in a total of $3,000 - $1,000 above their goal!

Since then, the classmates have continued to pay in to the fund, spurred on by the exciting prospect of making a marked difference in the academic life of a deserving high-school student.

To date, the Class of '59's scholarship fund has grown in excess of $5,600. True to its motto "Forward ever; backward never," the class, as a whole, remains determined to continue making that number grow ever higher.

"We are just so excited about this scholarship," said '59er Alice Jensen of Escanaba. "We know how important a college education is in today's world, and we also know how important a scholarship can be."

Jensen also noted that outside sources of funding can make all the difference in whether or not a high-school graduate is financially able to attend college - particularly during this economically stressful time.

Several of the EAHS Class of '59 members have vowed to donate either annually or bi-annually to the class's scholarship fund. Others have included the fund in their legal Will & Testament. Still others have asked family members and friends to donate to the fund in lieu of "that perfect gift" when birthdays/holidays roll around each year.

As Jensen remarked, "With this kind of enthusiasm, there's no telling how large this scholarship could grow."

In a written response to the class's scholarship contributions since their individual donations began pouring in, Escanaba Area High School Principal Doug Leisenring said, "Thank you for your generous gifts and hard work in creating the Class of 1959 Scholarship. With the ever-increasing costs of going to college, your commitment will help defray educational expenses in college for future graduates of Escanaba High School."

In keeping with the spirit of charitable giving and the good-old Eskymo spirit of competition, the EAHS '59ers are issuing a challenge to all other EAHS graduating classes to institute a scholarship fund of their own, on behalf of Esky seniors who desire a college education. The more classes that follow suit, the better. After all, regardless of how much money any class raises, there are no losers. Every senior who receives a scholarship will be a winner.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Class of 1959 Scholarship is welcome to contact any of the following scholarship board members: Gerald Rose, 384-6923; Nora Rice, 786-1359; Richard Arntzen, 786-7478 or (352) 208-0289; Alice Jensen, 789-2513 or (863) 852-3465; or Richard Courier, (707) 763-8195. To donate to the scholarship via the school, simply mail financial gifts to:

Escanaba Area High School

Scholarship Program

500 S. Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829

To speak with Principal Leisenring about the scholarship, call him at (906) 786-6527 or e-mail questions to

The members EAHS Class of 1959 thank all scholarship donors in advance for their generosity and their willingness to participate in this worthwhile cause.



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