Recently Falconer schools played host to the annual Patrick J. Morales wrestling tournament.
Sixteen schools from New York and northwestern Pennsylvania attended. Every year the tournament donates a portion of its proceeds to a group or individual who has come to their attention.
This year, over $900 was donated to "Denise's Determination," a fund overseen by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
Last summer, our friend and coworker Denise Tryon Brown passed away. Patricia Walker and I were determined to continue the support that Denise's special needs students received. Patty and I established the scholarship at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation in Denise's memory.
"Denise's Determination" is available to all Falconer students who have received any kind of intervention services. Such services include special education, physical and mental therapies and academic intervention through age 21. These are our at-risk students who need financial support through their post-high school education, no matter what that form of education may be.
Our first full scholarship will be awarded in 2013 with partial disbursements this June.
As always, I am speechless with the generosity of our Falconer community. I cannot say "thank you" enough to underscore how this fund will continue the education of some of our least fortunate students who, while faced with physical and learning disabilities, are often further disabled by financial need when they attempt schooling beyond public high school.
These kids will be able to apply for the scholarship every year until they are 21 years old.
I am awestruck by the love and support of this marvelous, generous community. Once again, I must give my deepest thanks to everyone involved in the Patrick J. Morales Tournament for their help as we all continue to make the future better for our children.
Once again, my most sincere thanks to the Falconer wrestlers, boosters, fans and friends for helping Patty Walker and myself keep Denise's goals alive.
Susan L. Leach is an English teacher at Falconer Central School.