Lakewood PTA Scholarship Fund
On a stormy night on December 12, 1916, fourteen people met and organized the Lakewood Parent Teacher Association.
During those early years, an endowment fund began and in 1925, Leslie Wilcox was awarded the first Lakewood Parent Teacher Association Scholarship.
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation is pleased to announce the transfer of the assets and administration of the Lakewood Parent Teacher Association Scholarship to its care. The scholarship will continue to carry out the intent of its founders. This year, the Lakewood PTA Scholarship will present its 93rd award.
From 1922 to 1926, Mrs. Lucy Jackson Gardner served as president of the Lakewood Parent Teacher Association. According to the history of the Lakewood PTA, “Mrs. Gardner was a most vibrant and dynamic personality in our midst during the 1920’s.”
Under Mrs. Gardner’s leadership, affiliations were made with state and national associations, the speakers explained PTA programs, the work of the Home Bureau Organization and the County Agency for Dependent Children. The PTA supported lecture courses, school productions and plays, along with $75 pledged towards a 1923 trip to Washington, D.C. for the high school seniors.
Due to Mrs. Gardner’s vision and hard work, the scholarship endowment fund began with funds raised by selling orange marmalade, jellies and jams. A total of $1,400.00 was pledged to initiate the fund. The scholarship fund was designated to benefit a senior high school student having high scholastic standing upon graduation in pursuit of a four-year college degree.
In her honor, for many years, the fund was known as the Lucy Jackson Gardner Scholarship of the Parent Teacher Association.
In 1948, the first year of the merged Lakewood and Celoron Schools, Ashville resident Robert Miller was awarded the Lakewood PTA Scholarship. Son of Leon and Retta Miller, he told this story about how the scholarship gave him an opportunity he thought was out his reach.
In June of 1948, Robert Miller concluded he would attend a short-term institute of higher education. This was a practical decision founded on his monetary situation. Although an excellent student, a four-year degree seemed out of the question. Upon notice of receiving the Lakewood PTA Scholarship Fund, he determined that with hard work, it was fiscally possible to pursue a four-year degree. In a matter of days, he applied and was accepted at the University of Buffalo. Together with the scholarship funds, working and a weekly loan from his parents, he graduated with distinction in 1952. He also attended graduate school at UB and received his MBA in 1954.
Following a stint with the US Army, serving with the Audit Agency, he worked for NYS in the Department of Taxation and Finance and the Department of Transportation for 30 years.
One could say, the investment in Robert Miller’s education began with the 14 people meeting on a stormy night in 1916.