NILES - The Niles McKinley High School Class of 1951 will be participating for the 25th and last time in the Senior Recognition Day for Niles students on May 27.
Richard Bullock, a member of the scholarship committee, said the class began presenting a scholarship to a deserving senior in 1986.
He said the original award was for $200, and seed money at the time mainly came from two Niles businessmen and classmates, Don Livi and the late Tom Bowen.
The Niles Times / Bob Coupland
The Niles McKinley High School Class of 1951 will be participating for the 25th and last time in the Senior Recognition Day for Niles students on May 27. The class began presenting a scholarship to a deserving senior in 1986. Members of the scholarship committee are, from left, Harold Lemley, Donna (Bold) Bowen (wife of the late Tom Bowen), June (Thorp) Fowler, Don Livi, and Dick Bullock. Missing is Dorothy (Semple) Grosbeck.
''It was decided to continue this each year at the senior recognition day event,'' Bullock said.
This year, for the last year, two $600 scholarships will be given to graduating seniors.
He said funding will come from a request for donations to the scholarship fund on the 1951 class reunion form sent out every five years. Bullock said the classmates have been very supportive.
Bullock said after several years the award was increased from $200 to $250 and then later to $500.
Just prior to the class's last reunion in 2006, Harold Lemley, a classmate, suggested that the award be extended to 25 years to completion.
''The thinking was the classmates were getting older and a significant number had passed away,'' Bullock said.
Soon after the suggestion to extend the scholarship, the classmates came through in ''a big way,'' Bullock said.
Bullock said at the 2006 reunion, a form explaining the plans was sent to classmates.
He said with the cost of postsecondary education rising as it has, the $600 may not seem significant.
''As anyone who has borne the burden of education knows, every little bit helps. It can buy a book or two or some supplies,'' he said.
Members of the scholarship committee gathered recently at the high school. They said they hope to encourage other classes to take the baton and give back to their alma mater. Members said it takes only a few members to get a program started and can begin small.
''The awards have been given to both college and technical school trainees. Members of the class have been most generous,'' Bullock said.
He noted the class of 1951 only had 134 members, with most class members known as ''Depression babies'' born between 1932 and 1934.