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Published: Wednesday, 12/6/2000

2 Fostoria schools get trust award

FOSTORIA - Public and parochial schools here got not one but two windfalls this week.

Fostoria Community Schools and St. Wendelin Catholic School were awarded $92,000 from a foundation started by the late Henry H. Geary, Jr.

“It was a good-news week, all right,” said Sharon Stannard, superintendent of Fostoria Community Schools. “We were hoping for one gift but were not expecting the other. We're excited and very grateful.''

The money is from the Geary Foundation, established by Mr. Geary before his death in 1997 at age 89. The wealthy businessman and investor designated the funds to be used for the betterment of Fostoria.

“He wanted it to serve the community and we take that responsibility seriously,” said Rebecca Crawner, vice-president of Key Bank, which administers the Geary funds annually.

The schools received two portions of the foundation's earnings. Each district first received $21,000 from a discretionary pool distributed by the bank.

United Way of Fostoria annually receives another portion of the trust's earnings and distributes it. This year, it gave $25,000 to St. Wendelin on Monday and will present $25,000 to the public schools tomorrow.

The grant from Key Bank will be used by St. Wendelin to upgrade its library and enhance its music programs, Mrs. Crawner said. The public schools will use the gift from Key Bank to finance a mentoring program for kindergartners, Superintendent Stannard said.

The Fostoria Schools mentoring program is aimed at kindergarten pupils at risk of failing in school. It will match children with a person in the community for perhaps several years.

Both districts will spend the money from United Way on new technology.

“We'll use it in our interactive media technology program, to buy hardware and software at the high school,” Miss Stannard said.

It is coincidence that both pools of the trust chose to award funds to the schools, officials said.

“Mr. Geary wanted money to be used for art, religion, literature, or education purposes and we decided both education and religion could be served by donating to public and parochial schools,” Mrs. Crawner said.

United Way president Aaron Smith and vice-president Jaquie Botimer gave the $25,000 gift to St. Wendelin High School principal Mike Savona and elementary principal Kathy Herman.

The United Way agency serves 18 organizations in Fostoria but wanted to do more with the Geary funds, director Denny Studrawa said yesterday. “Our board decided to be proactive and help some part of the community that might not have asked for help.”

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