Karen R. Stanek Memorial Scholarship Fund
Est. 2019 as a scholarship fund by Fred Stanek in memory of his wife, Karen, to benefit graduating Seymour High School students.
Karen R. Stanek's connection with the Valley was impactful and deeply rooted, especially her work with students. When she passed away in March of 2019, her husband, Fred, established the Karen R. Stanek Memorial Scholarship Fund to memorialize her contributions to the Community and continue her passionate support of Seymour High School students.
A graduate of Seymour High School, Karen returned there to teach Social Studies for 35 years, including history, government and law courses. She received the Seymour High School Distinguished Alumnus Award during the 2016 graduation ceremony and the David A. Brumer Excellence in Education Award in 2002. She was also awarded the Vincentena Kobasa Excellence in Teaching Award posthumously in 2019.
Fred said, "She was very dedicated to the school and embodied the phrase, 'Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat.' She loved her students and wanted to see them advance as did I and our children, Courtenay Fisher, David, and Patrick. We were each certain that this Fund would be the appropriate way to honor her legacy."
Eulogizing her mother, Courtenay recalled, "As my brother David so aptly said, if Mom ever taught you in a class, coached you on a mock trial team, worked with you on Student Council, or helped you in one of the countless other things she was involved in, you were treated like her own child, and she loved you."
Given that Karen taught Social Studies and that Fred and two of their children are attorneys and a third child is a member of law enforcement, the Family decided the Fund should support students who want to teach Social Studies or enter the field of law. Fred continued, "She was very proud of her role as advisor to the High School Mock Trial Team. She led them to state championships, which they won in 1982 and 1983."
Karen was elected to four terms as a Selectman in Seymour to serve her Community. She also gave her time to the Board of Ethics, Board of Education, Seymour Parade Committee, and Commission on Aging. Karen always encouraged her students to become involved in their Community. Fred admired the way Karen always said she wanted to show her students that she meant what she taught them over the years.
She also served on the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) Board of Directors and, as such, Fred knew exactly what to do in order to establish a fund. "Karen and I both recognized the importance of giving back to the Community and I had assisted clients with this process before. It was very easy to set up the fund and will serve as a great way to perpetuate her love for Seymour."
As a result of how the Fund was established, the Community has been able express appreciation for Karen's presence in the Valley. Fred added, "She touched a lot of people during her lifetime, in so many different ways. More than 100 people contributed to this Fund in Karen's memory after her passing. My children and I are so touched by the Community's affection for Karen and support for the Fund!