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"We wanted to give back"

Dragon spirit was obvious at the 3rd Annual Night of Dragons Friday, but it wasn’t just because of the purple and white decor on the tables and the neon sign that welcomed attendees to the Crestwood Country Club.

It could be seen with a glance at the long table of silent auction gift baskets donated by numerous local small businesses. It was evident in the mix of those present, from alumni and teachers to business leaders and parents of past and current students.

And, it was obvious at a table filled with several members of the Class of 1978, who made it a priority to support not just the Night of Dragons, but to also fund a student scholarship of their own.

“High school was a great experience for me,” said Kirk Hawley, who played football in the Larry Garman era. “It was for all of us. We wanted to give back because of that.”

His table of classmates included Scott Currier, Rick Webb, and Greg White.

“This is a great place to raise a family, a place that supports kids, and a great place to work,” noted Hawley, who is employed by Watco Companies — a platinum sponsor of the event along with the Coleman Family Foundation and Freeman Health System. “The kids are getting a great education here, and we want to help them get to the next level.”

The evening was a success by all accounts, organizers said.

“Our renewable scholarship was funded for the third year and we are very excited and pleased with that,” said Foundation Board Vice President Jon Bartlow, who served as the emcee. 

“We had more sponsors and silent auction donations from local small businesses than ever before, which is a wonderful testament to the value that people in this community place on education,” Bartlow added.

Bartlow noted that he is one of several on the Foundation board who are not native to Pittsburg, but who feel strongly about volunteering to help students achieve success beyond high school.

This year, the foundation will award more than $100,000 in scholarships to more than 60 graduating seniors, and it recently awarded $18,000 in grants to 26 teachers representing every school in the district.

Chef Anthony Fischer, who oversees the culinary program at Pittsburg High School, was the recipient of a teacher grant this year, and led his students in preparing all of the desserts for Night of Dragons. The treats included pineapple upside down cake, german chocolate cake, and red velvet cake with a butter cream frosting.

He also donated a dinner for four and tickets to an upcoming PHS Theatre show to the silent auction.

“This is an opportunity to give back,” Fischer said. “This class helps build my students’ futures, and we appreciate the support.”

Ashlei Bockover said Pittsburg is fortunate to have the Foundation.

“I’ve been on both sides of the generosity of the Foundation,” Bockover said. “My children have received scholarships to help with the expenses of their education. And, as a teacher I have received grants to help with creating experiences for my students in the classroom. This organization truly impacts us all.”

Bockover attended Night of the Dragons with her husband, Kyle, as a way to give back. 

“I appreciate everyone who plays a role in the Foundation and provides these opportunities for our young citizens,” she said.

To date

Since it was founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $500,000 in scholarships and $200,000 in teacher grants. It also has helped with capital projects including the renovation of Hutchinson Field, the replacement of the PHS gymnasium floor, and the addition of the Megan Mallatt Activity Center at Pittsburg High School.


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