Applications for college scholarships from the Staples Free School Fund for the 2020-21 school year are available online at StaplesFreeSchool.org. Applicants must be Easton residents who plan to attend an accredited four-year college, community college, or university within the United States.
One half of the award is a scholarship; the other half is a loan due without interest within seven years of the date of receipt. Applications must be received by Friday, May 1. Details are available on the Staples Free School website at StaplesFreeSchool.org. Scholarships granted for the 2019-20 school year totaled $30,000.
Staples Free School Fund awards may also include a public service scholarship in honor of the late Anne Lindquist, a trustee of the fund and vice-chairman of the board at the time of her death. Lindquist was a devoted volunteer to Easton over many years, and the scholarship in her name is offered to students who have given time to local charitable causes. Details are available on the website.
The Staples Free School was established in 1781 by Samuel Staples, who donated land and other assets for the funding of a secondary school for the residents of Easton, then known as North Fairfield. “Staples Academy” prospered until 1895. After its closing, public school classes continued there until the construction of Samuel Staples Elementary School in 1930.
The old Staples Academy building now belongs to the Congregational Church of Easton and is still in use. In the 1930s, the Superior Court authorized the trustees of the Staples Free School Fund to offer college scholarships. Over time, bequests, memorial funds and citizen donations have enhanced the fund, and new donations are most welcome.
The Staples Free School Fund is administered by a board of trustees headed by Chairman John Harris. Other members of the Board are Vice Chair Andrew Kachele, Treasurer Carolann Vassallo, Secretary Edward Roche, and Trustees Seth Cooper, Gary Haines, Todd Johnston, Allison Taylor and Dori Wollen.
Additional information about the fund may be obtained from Sherry L. Harris, foundation manager, at StaplesScholars@yahoo.com.