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Hughey Family Award for Resilience established to support OHS grads

Thu, Oct 31st 2019 02:00 pm

Ellen Hughey Reynolds credits a meaningful portion of her life’s success to the education she received, in both academics and life in general, at Olean High School.

In appreciation of that education, she has established the Hughey Family Award for Resilience at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to honor her family and express gratitude for the education her family received at Olean High School.

“Early in my career, it was apparent to me that I had received a terrific education, a grounding, in high school. I had my four-year degree and a degree beyond that, and I was working on Wall Street, but the Olean foundation was key,” said Hughey Reynolds, who had a long and successful career in human resources and management. “And not just in terms of academics, but also in terms of civic values and appreciating the individuality of students.”

Hughey Reynolds, her three siblings, and their mother all attended Olean High School. Without that solid education, she said, their future success may not have been possible.

“I feel strongly that the caliber of the academics was very high,” she said. “Equally important, we were expected to perform up to our potential and to demonstrate good values.”

Education was about more than academics, she said.

“Olean placed a value on being a well-rounded student, which communicated to us that it was also important to be a well-rounded person,” she remembered. 

The Hughey Family Award for Resilience will support Olean High School students pursuing post-secondary education (including 2- and 4- year institutions or vocational schools), with an emphasis on a student who demonstrates resilience.

The award will be a minimum of $500 per student and is renewable for up to four years. The student recipient must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.

Most importantly, though, the student’s goal statement in the application must demonstrate resilience by stating how s/he has overcome adversity with grace, carried on despite disappointments, failures, or hardships, or, if lucky enough not to have personally experienced a hardship, must state how s/he has demonstrated compassion and support of those who have had such challenges.

“The focus on resilience is because the older I get, the more I believe that the difference between success and failure is often perseverance,” she said. “It’s thinking, ‘Okay, that happened, but I am going to carry on. I am not going to give up or feel ‘less than’ because I have encountered this challenge. I am going to figure out how to make lemonade out of these lemons and not to be overwhelmed by what appears to be defeat.”

Hughey Reynolds felt compelled to include a component celebrating resilience in the scholarship because it was a character trait valued by her family, and honoring her family is at the heart of this scholarship fund.

“As you get older, you are in a position to do something other than just have good thoughts and feelings about how others contributed to your development,” she said. “You can do something tangible.  This scholarship is an external expression of the love I have for my family and the deep appreciation I feel for OHS. I trust it will also lend a helping hand to someone who needs and deserves it.”

CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit expressed the foundation’s appreciation for such a thoughtful scholarship.

“It touches you to see an Olean native and OHS alumna decide to give back to the community where she grew up in such a meaningful way and with such sincere intentions,” said Buchheit. “As financially beneficial as the scholarship will be, it will be equally inspiring to student recipients, and we at the Foundation hope it will encourage and celebrate resilience, perseverance and compassion in a special group of students.”

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of setting up a scholarship, contact the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation at 301 North Union St., Suite 203 or online at cattfoundation.org.

For 25 years, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has been the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas,  including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).