Widger Presented Plaque at Alumni Banquet

By Mary Fox

The crowd was not as large and the chatter not as loud as last year, but it was the same happy sounds of classmates getting together to enjoy a dinner and reminisce about school days at Ellicottville Central School.

The annual ECS alumni banquet was held at Tannenbaum Lodge at Holiday Valley on July 18. It is the tradition of the Alumni Association to bring together each year all graduated classes from ECS and to honor the five-year classes.

The oldest class present was the graduation class of 1940, represented by Lucille Harris and Marjorie Fitzpatrick.

“It’s nice to see all those kids I taught in school,” said Lucille who, after graduation, became a home economics teacher at ECS.

The honored class of 1949 was represented by James Morton who was celebrating his 65th year since graduating from ECS. His advice to graduates aptly applies to us all.

“If you want to do something, do it now ‘cause it can be too late,” he said.

Other honored classes with members present were the Class of 1959 and the class of 1964.

“The greatest goal of the Alumni Association,” said John Burrell, Alumni Association president, “is the awards we give to graduating seniors.”

Last year, the Alumni Association was able to give two $300 awards. This year two $1,000 awards were given from the association’s awards fund.

The Class of 1963 pledged last year to honor their 10 deceased members by donating funds for the awards.

“Through the generosity of our classmates,” said Charles Marsh, “we made it possible to offer two $1,000 awards this year. The Class of 1963 pledges to give $1,000 to the Alumni Association each year for as many years as possible and challenges other classes to do so.”

Marsh said he has given to his college for years and thinks his money will serve a better purpose given as an ECS Alumni Association award.

“It’s a way to give back to the community and to our students,” he said.

The awards were given for all-around academic achievement, extracurricular participation, community involvement and leadership. Last year’s recipients of the Alumni Association awards were Shannon Wilson and William Murphy. They presented this year’s awards to Gwendolyn Brown, daughter of Chris and Vicky Brown, and Emily Timkey, daughter of Paul and Joanne Timkey.

“There were a lot of very smart, competitive kids this year. For a small school, there is a lot going on,” said Emily’s father, Paul Timkey. “All of the class graduated, an outstanding achievement compared to many other schools. Out of the 56 graduates, 46 went all through school together. “

In her senior year, Emily Timkey took college courses on Anatomy and Physiology and Medical Terminology, through the New Vision program for which she received college credits. Emily plans to attend SUNY Geneseo this fall to major in biology. Her goal is a career in the medical profession.

Emily worked with the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program. She was a member of the Odyssey of the Mind since fourth grade. In her junior year, her group went to the world competition.

“I learned teamwork and getting along with other people,” she said.

Gwendolyn Brown also participated in the New Vision program taking College English and Independent Study for Art. Both girls were members of the student council and National Honor Society as well as many extracurricular activities.

Gwen will be attending Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto. Her goal is to be a museum curator. One thing she liked about going to school in Ellicottville was being able to have one-on-one time with her teachers.

Mark Ward commented on the unique decorations for the prom this year made by Gwen, her twin Isabella and their mom Vicky.

Shannon Wilson has completed her first year at D’Youville College, the first of five years, to become a dietitian.

“I miss my cool teachers and friends, but it’s great to be out on my own,” she said.

Bill Murphy spent last year at JCC Olean taking core classes. Starting this year, he will be attending Clarkson for three more years for a mechanical engineering degree.

One thing Bill liked about going to ECS was the closeness with other students.

“Not only did we get to know kids in our own class, but practically the whole high school,” he said.

Ward gave credit to Chris Matthews, the AV teacher, for putting all the ECS high school yearbooks on CDs. Each spans several years. They will be available for $5 at the reunions.

Burrell presented a plaque sporting a large ECS Eagle to Pete Widger “in appreciation of his outstanding leadership as president and member of the Alumni Association.”

The evening ended with a discussion about how to get more alumni to participate.

“Let’s all work hard to get more people out next year,” said Burrell. “It is the perfect opportunity to catch up with your classmates as well as friends you made in other classes.”