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Valley School to hold golf fundraiser at Laurel Valley

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By Peter Turcik
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Golf enthusiasts and supporters will tee off at Laurel Valley Golf Course on Sept. 26 for the ninth annual Friends of Valley School of Ligonier Golf Tournament, at Laurel Valley Golf Club, sponsored by BNY Mellon. The day's events will include a gourmet luncheon, a round of golf, a cocktail hour, silent auction and a dinner buffet with an award reception.

Proceeds from the tournament will go to benefit Valley School's scholarship program and professional development. This annual fundraiser is the largest event of the year for Valley School, according to School Head Clair Ward.

“Tuition only covers a portion of what it costs to educate a child. There is a pretty significant delta between what it costs and what we charge, so we make up that delta with things like the golf tournament,” Ward explained. “I think there's an increasing draw on financial aid as time goes by, and that's a national trend; it's not unique to us at all. With nearly 40 percent of our student body on financial aid, it's really necessary that we continue to offer that scholarship support.”

Each year a committee for the Friends of Valley School of Ligonier finds local donors for prizes such as a week in Aruba, which are auctioned off and awarded to golfers. Jill Frey, who is the committee chair and a current parent said many of the golfers in the tournament are not directly affiliated with the school, yet plan their calendars around the event for the chance to play on the professional level course.

“We also have a great bunch of people that come out and golf with us. It's a thrill to golf at Laurel Valley. A lot of people want to help out the school. We have alum and past and present parents on the committee and as golfers and friends in the community,” Frey commented.

In addition to providing scholarships to students, funds from the event are also used to allow teachers and staff to participate in professional development courses. In these programs, Ward explained, teachers travel outside the school to convene with other members of the educational and learn about new ways to present material to the students.

Ward said faculty members have come back from these courses and rewritten their curricula, which she stated is all part and parcel to directly enhancing the quality of the education Valley School offers.

“With the school being as isolated geographically as it is, it's important that the teachers get up and out,” Ward noted. “There is a totally direct correlation between the quality of education in a building and the amount of professional development opportunities that are afforded to the teachers and staff.”

During the social aspect of the event, a slide show runs showing student activities in the classroom as well as sporting events, which Ward said, shows donors exactly what their dollar is buying. Ward said she is frequently engaged by golfers not directly affiliated with the school who she says are eager to have conversations about the caliber of the education at the school, the difference the students make and where they will go on to after graduation.

Ward added that there is a great deal of mythology being promoted locally about the school; that it is very misunderstood. She said Valley School has joined the Rotary Club of Ligonier and other local organizations to make sure the community understands the schools identity and mission.

“The fundraising isn't about making the rich richer,” Ward asserted. “It is about subsidizing deserving kids and their education here. This is a huge contribution to this community –the local community, not just the Valley School community. Our families and our kids are living here.”

The deadline for registration is Thursday, though registrations will be accepted after, based on availability. For more information, visit, or contact Mallory Reese at 724-238-5028.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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