Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent
The Gresham Scholarship Fund is in its 16th year of raising money for for graduates of Gresham Community School.
It was started by former teacher and principal Bob Klopke, who is president of the fund. He got the inspiration from another fundraiser.
“I watched what was going on with Dollars for Scholars in Shawano,” he said.
Since its start, the Gresham Scholarship Fund has provided 183 students with $154,700 in scholarships. The scholarship amounts have grown from $400 in 2002 to $1,750 the last two years.
GSF has also awarded 11 community scholarships to graduates who want to get more education after being out of school for a time.
“I spent my life in education,” said Klopke, who spent his entire career at Gresham — 18 years as a teacher and 14 years as principal.
The group’s annual banquet will be held March 25 at Pine Hills Golf Course. Vicki Pleshek Cary, valedictorian of the Class of 1978, will be the guest speaker. She teaches at Buffalo High School, a rural area 25 miles from the Twin Cities.
Klopke said people dress casually for the banquet and everyone has a good time. Individuals and businesses donate items for raffles, auctions and games.
The GSF also holds a raffle in late summer and early fall for which they sell 1,500 tickets.
“That’s been pretty well received,” Klopke said, noting many raffle winners donate the money back to the fund.
There is also is a Wildcat Club. People commit to donating $500 or more to join.
The donations and profits from the fundraisers are put into the endowment fund.
“We want the future generation to be well equipped to compete in the world,” Klopke said.
Other board members are Gail Kling, first vice president; John Bauman, second vice president; Esther Huntington Schutt, secretary; Jennifer Hoffman, treasurer; Curt Knoke; Debra Schroeder Fischer; and Denise Huntington.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Gresham Scholarship Fund annual banquet
WHEN: Reception 4:30 p.m., dinner 6 p.m. March 25
WHERE: Many Trails Banquet Hall, Pine Hills Golf Course, N9499 Pine Hills Drive, Gresham.
FYI: Reservation deadline is March 21. For information, call 715-787-3386.