Scholarships set up in honor of teacher who lost battle with cancer in 2003
By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Before Liz Kleese lost her battle with cancer in 2003, she and her friends set up a scholarship fund to help local students who were not necessarily the highest achieving, but the hardest working.
"She thought about it for a while and said that the gifted children are the ones that generally get scholarships, but there are so many children in school who work beyond their capabilities and they try really hard," said C.J. Borden, who was a friend of Kleese and is now treasurer of the scholarship fund. "Those were the ones she wanted to help because they didn't get help from anyone else."
Kleese was a teacher of gifted and talented students at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School.
Since 2004, the scholarship that bears her name awards three $1,000 scholarships to high school students at Stonewall Jackson, Central and Strasburg high schools each year.
The committee of about seven that runs the foundation is still made up of her friends as well as others who choose to donate their time.
"It's just a way of keeping her memory alive," Borden said. "She gave so much to the kids and to the school system."
This year's tea and silent auction event, "Hats off to Liz," will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Strasburg.
Admission tickets are $10 and available at Peoples Drug Store in Strasburg as well as at the door. Additional donations are also accepted.
The silent auction will include items that range from gift certificates and glassware to art pieces donated by local artists and even one of Kleese's own hats.
"She really liked hats," said Karen Whetzel, district 1 school board member. "They always have one of her hats that they auction off and that person keeps it for one year."
Borden said they usually raise between $2,000 to $3,000 with the auction alone, depending on the year.