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Maroon & Gray Society Banquet Raises $60,000 for New State High Band Uniforms

by on May 26, 2018 5:00 AM

The inaugural Maroon & Gray Society banquet last weekend not only recognized outstanding State College alumni and teachers, it also raised big money for much-needed new uniforms for the State High Marching Band.

A new signature fundraiser for the State College Area School District Education Foundation, the banquet brought in more than $60,000 for the band's new threads. Paul Leskowicz, SCASD director of music, said most of the band's current uniforms are nearly 25 years old. Some have missing or loose buttons and broken zippers, while some students have resorted to duct tape to maintain hems.

The Education Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2015 for private fundraising for student experiences and learning opportunities not regularly supported in the annual district budget. In addition to the Maroon & Gray Society banquet, the foundation raises funds from businesses making contributions through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, as well as from donations from individuals, families and businesses.

The Maroon & Gray Society, which was established last year to recognize alumni in areas such as business, the arts, academics and athletics, as well as school groups and retired faculty. This year's inaugural inductees honored at include:

- Matthew Berrena, a 1979 graduate, is a retired Army Ranger who has been inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. He still remains active in the local community as a volunteer.

Joe Boris is a retired teacher and a long time director of the popular intramural basketball program at the high school.

- Marion Bressler (posthumous) taught history from 1960 to 1983 and was credited with introducing AP History to State High and also served as SCAEA President for several years. 

- Bob Drafall directed the Choral Program for almost 20 years and served as the Music Coordinator until his retirement in 2015.

- Carol Gentry taught English at the high school from 1969 to 1999 and was beloved by her students and fellow teachers.

- Steve Gentry is a 1965 graduate who was an accomplished athlete and state champion runner who was featured in Sports Illustrated. He went on to become a teacher and coach at State High. While a track and field and cross country coach, his teams won multiple state championships. 

- Rich Victor was the music coordinator and marching band director. Both programs won numerous awards during his tenure.

- The 1979 baseball team won the 1979 PIAA Class 3A championship by beating Chambersburg 2-1 in the state finals.

All past SCAHS Alumni Association distinguished alumni.

More than 200 people attended the banquet, which was emceed by radio broadcaster Jeff Byers. In addition to remarks from Superintendent Robert O'Donnell, foundation leaders, Leskowicz and marching band student President Sam Schneider, the night included performances by the State High Jazz Combo, Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Singers. The Marching Band made a surprise appearance, as well, closing the night with the State High fight song.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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