Parkway Alumni Association seeks applications for ‘Granting Dreams’
By BONNIE KRUEGER
In 1991, Mark Lincoln (Parkway North ‘76 graduate) and two of his former classmates, Steve Friedman and Mark Kaltenrieder, formed the Parkway Alumni Association. Classmate Jan (Wall) Misuraca joined the mission and, in 1993, they expanded the organization’s board to include Parkway high school graduates and a few Parkway teachers totaling 24 people.
Twenty years later, this not-for-profit organization continues to support Parkway reunions, grant student’s dreams, celebrate the success of former graduates and honor teachers who are exceptional in their jobs.
“While we are a separate corporation from the Parkway School District, we are closely aligned with their school board and the administrative staff,” explained Jan Misuraca, executive director of PAA. “Dr. Keith Marty, Parkway’s superintendent, is behind our mission 100 percent and supports our programs.
“Our current board is great. We have every decade of graduates represented since Parkway’s founding in 1954 and representation from four high schools (South, West, North and Central) and retirees. Our youngest member graduated in 2004 and our oldest graduated in 1965. Having a board that is diverse in many ways brings great energy and ideas to the group.”
A very successful program for the PAA is Granting Dreams.
Students are encouraged to submit requests for a financial gift up to $250 or for a community resource grant. The applications need to demonstrate a commitment to furthering skills, acquiring knowledge or experience, participating in school-related activities, or those that involve the community. Last school year, 221 grants were awarded totaling over $20,000.
Since Granting Dreams began in 1996, the Alumni Association has awarded over $225,000 in monetary grants that are awarded out of eight funds, including seven memorial funds. The memorial funds were created by family or friends who wished to honor their memory of deceased Parkway graduates or teachers.
“Each year the families and friends raise money to support their existing memorial funds, which in turn are used to fund the Dream Grants. It’s a wonderful way to continue honoring the memory of those former students and staff members,” Misuraca said.
The Granting Dreams Program is one of Misuraca’s favorite programs.
She recounts the story of a young girl named Nicole, who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Nicole had applied for (and received) a Dream Grant to attend a sleepaway camp to learn how to live with diabetes and meet other kids with the same challenges.
Many years later, while still in Parkway, Nicole reapplied for a grant to attend the camp; however, her application was so that she could become a camp counselor and help others learn to manage their diabetes as well as she does.
“The ripple effect of Granting Dreams is the beauty of the program,” Misuraca said. “We listen to children and help them find their niche and go after their dreams.
“It is also community building. This may be the first time some students realize how much people outside of their own family care about them and believe in them. They feel the support to take a leap of faith and it builds up their confidence to continue trying new things.”
The Granting Dreams program application is available now on the Alumni Association website (parkwayalumni.org). The deadline is 4 p.m. on Feb. 1.
Any full-time Parkway student can apply.