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Fall 2014 Newsletter

To Our Family of Donors:

The WKHef has great expectations for our scholarship winners. Despite the many challenges our boys face, we are gratified that we have great accomplishments to report. Our scholars are moving beyond the effects of poverty, failing schools, and the lack of opportunities. They are excelling in school and headed for successful lives. This Fundfacts issue is jam packed with good news. Further down read about the success stories and the boy’s goals and dreams in their own words. Our newest Board member, Omar Griffin, is a WKHef alumnus. His success story was influenced greatly by our scholarships and the belief we had in him. His trajectory went from a child who came from an economically depressed area with underperforming schools to a fine college graduate with a job as a junior Q.A. engineer. His story encapsulates the great expectations and hopes we have for all our boys. Their successes are made possible by your donations. We are now offering scholarships to 29 boys (a record number).This is a great opportunity for us to make a difference in a lot of young lives. We are extremely grateful for your continued generous support.

Awards Ceremony, 3/30/2014:

The Awards Ceremony was held at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music to give recognition to the achievements of the boys and their parents. Our award ceremony is our time to express our thanks to the parents for their cooperation, efforts and support and to the boys for their hard work, good grades, and successes during the past year. The parents’ enthusiasm for the program and their pride in their children was very apparent at this event. Raymond and Adebayo on the piano, Naheim on the guitar, and Brandon a talented singer, all demonstrated their musical skills. Then multi-talented Kylon chanted a poem in Mandarin for us.

Omar Griffin, our newest Board Member had taken courses at the BCM when he was a WKHef scholar. He gave us a spectacular and spontaneous performance of a Chopin piece on the piano. The boys and their parents were every impressed. It was a memorable evening. Each scholar received an Award Certificate and a gift card to Barnes and Noble..

A Special Fundraiser:

A very special fundraiser, a costume cocktail party, was hosted by Board member Carol Retting and her husband Jim Bohovich. Jim is a wonderful chef and his delicious food and cocktails attracted lots of donations for the Fund. Many thanks Carol and Jim.

Success Stories:

DeAndre graduated from middle school and is now attending Grand High School also called the High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology. It partners with businesses and with top rated universities.

Kylon, who attends the High School of Math, Science and Dual Languages was accepted to participate in the Leadership Essential Conference in Washington, D.C. run by the Envision Organization. It is a national conference for young leaders. He was recommended by a teacher and was accepted because he achieved academic excellence and demonstrated strong leadership potential. The WKHef was proud to have financially sponsored his attendance at this exciting conference. We know that this is just a beginning step for Kylon who we are sure will become a very productive and successful adult. In addition to learning Mandarin in school we are sending him to courses in Chinese dancing and Chinese culture.

The Auction:
Our Famous Fun and Fabolous Event:

On October 17th, we held our Annual Auction. Lots of interesting and exciting items were donated to be auctioned off, including gift cards, a hand knitted afghan, original art, a handmade baby quilt and quilted bibs, Mary’s hand knitted felted bags, baked goods, collectibles, and gift baskets. There were tickets to two Broadway shows and season tickets to the Rockaway Theater group. There was also a silent auction and Cash and Carry table. There was a treasure waiting for everyone at the auction.

Our auctioneers Larry Deemer, Lou Schiro, and Tom Moore provided their usual entertaining commentary while auctioning off the items. Roger Sarmuksnis, our expeditor, kept every moving along smoothly.

Thanks to all who attended, donated and bid. It was a resounding success and all the proceeds go directly to the scholarships.

The Nora Ann Policastro Special Initiative Fund:

Len and Mary Ann Policastro established this fund within the WKHef to honor the memory of their daughter, Nora, who died of cancer in 1990 at the age of eight.

The fund is used to enhance and supplement the goals of the WKHef, most recently for book grants to our graduates who entered college.

We are very grateful that the Policastro family has chosen this meaningful way to honor Nora while continuing their commitment to the WKHef.

The raffle was pulled on June 8th and the winners are:
Anna Colombo 1st prize, the IPad Mini
Eloise Larson Byers 2nd prize, Bose Soundlink
Sofia Taylor 3rd prize, $100
Thanks to all who participated in our raffle fundraiser and congratulations to the lucky winners!

Summer Fun:

The Berkeley Carroll Creative Arts Program (CAP) has always been a favorite with the boys. It’s a mind expanding, eye opening experience to take the fantastic and fun courses offered there. This year we sent 6 boys. Three of our other scholars attended the Dream Program that helps students in their quest to attend a specialized high school. We feel that our emphasis on maintaining good grades has helped these youngsters to qualify for the Dream Program.

New Scholarship Winners:

The Scholarship Committee worked diligently to select the new scholarship winners. This year 7 boys have been chosen. They were all highly recommended by their teachers and have excellent grades. The boys are require to maintain good grades, attend programs diligently, send us their report cards and write 2 progress letters to the WKHef yearly. We previously had 22 boys in the program and with the new 7 boys we are providing scholarships for a record breaking 29 boys!

The Brunch, 9/6/2014:

We hold a brunch each September to welcome the new scholarship winners and their families. Current scholarship recipients also attend and share information about the programs they have taken and the benefits of being a part of the WKHef. The older boys, who have become positive role models, inspire the younger ones.

Meet Omar Griffin, Our Newest Board Member:

We are delighted to announce that Omar Griffin, a former WKHef graduate, has joined as a Board member.

Omar was one of our scholars for 5 years. He took many classes at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and attended the Berkeley Carroll Creative Summer Arts Program. Discussing the progress he had made, Omar said that Berkeley Carroll opened his eyes to the diversity of the world and motivated him to complete school and follow a career path that would allow him to achieve a high standard of living. He did well enough in the earlier grades to qualify for Brooklyn Tech, went on to graduate college and now has a good job as a junior Q.A. Engineer for Nomorerack.

Now Omar feels that it is time to give back to the organization that helped him so much in his childhood. He states he wants to level the playing field by getting more minorities off the street and into college classrooms. He explains that he received many opportunities and skills that he might not have experienced if not for the WKHef.

We welcome Omar to the Board. He is the second former WKHef scholar to join. Henry Casimir joined last year. Together they want to give back by helping to guide the next groups of boys to achieve more success.

The WKH Endowment Fund Website:

Thanks to Omar we now have a professionally created, updated website!

In The Words of Our Boys:

Dear WKHef,
This semester I attended Pratt Institute. I took the drawing, painting and Printmaking class. Not only did I enjoy the class but I learned many new things about art. I was also accepted to a program called the Dream Program. This program is to help me get into specialized high schools. With hard work and dedication and the support of the WKH Fund, I could go far. I appreciate this program so much.

Sincerely, Jamil


Dear Mrs Hoerning,
I am looking to maintain my grades and do better in 3 subjects. I have an 89% overall average with good conduct. But my good grades do not satisfy me. I believe there is a lot of room for improvement. My focus is to improve ELA, Graphic Arts and Physical Ed grades.My guitar lessons are going great. I still take classes at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. My guitar lessons are with a new teacher. In conclusion I have set a new goal to accomplish. Getting higher grades is my top priority. In the meantime, I’m going to maintain my good grades and keep playing guitar.

Sincerely, Nahiem


Dear WKHef,
I am now a junior in high school and focusing on what I want to do in college. The school counselor took us to CCNY and St. Francis College to get information on what to expect for college. I really enjoyed the trips. I will continue to push myself in the classroom so that I can continue my education in a good college. I thank you again for the opportunities you give me.

Sincerely, Michael

Farewell to Jeanne-Beryl Metz:

We are sad to announce that Jeanne, an avid long- time supporter of our Fund and of the Auction, passed away on Oct. 17th, 2014. She contributed a lot of her hand knitted items to the auction over the years and we appreciated her enthusiasm and support. We will miss her greatly.

© 2014 Walter K. Hoerning Endowment Fund
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