A Delaware County couple will donate a total $8,500 in scholarships to the entire graduating class at Franklin Central School in honor of the seniors’ perseverance throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of awarding one graduating student with their annual $500 perseverance award, Franklin residents Frank and Jennifer Walker announced they will award the scholarship to each of the district’s 17 seniors.
“Normally we give out one scholarship to a senior that the school picks, but due to the coronavirus situation, their year has been something out of the norm,” Walker said. “They’ve all persevered this year.”
Walker said she and her husband, a 1976 graduate of Franklin, have sponsored the scholarship for at least a decade.
“We started it because we don’t have any children of our own,” she said. “Frank actually really hated school, but his mom pushed him to finish. We didn’t design it to be for the smartest kids in school — it’s for the kids who persevere.”
“The generosity of the Walkers is a great example of the heart and spirit that makes Franklin a special place,” said district Superintendent Brad Zilliox. “The entire school community is so appreciative of this kind of gesture, especially during this time. Franklin is a hard-working and tight-knit community that takes care of its own. When there is a challenge or someone local needs a little boost, the Franklin community rallies with support every time.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all New York state public schools, which have been on hiatus since mid-March, will remain closed through the remainder of the school year.
“We are not sure that we can fully describe how badly we feel that the class of 2020 is missing these final few months of their senior year, Zilliox said. “Our district is fully committed to making sure they have every opportunity to experience the traditional events that come with being a high school senior. How these events look and when they will occur are unknown at this time, but we are dedicated to finding ways to make it all work.”
“The Walkers have added a silver lining to the mix during a difficult time for all our seniors and their families,” he continued. “For that, we will be forever grateful.”
“This isn’t something we do for publicity,” Walker said. “Everybody can do something extra for somebody in need. We can all give back something.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.