School brings out the brass to kick off fund-raising effort

October 16, 2003|by DON AINES

SCOTLAND, Pa. - A little star power never hurts in helping to raise funds for a good cause, so Howard Bachman made use of his old school ties to draw a four-star name to kick off the $2.1 million capital campaign for Scotland School for Veterans' Children.

Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who led the 24th Infantry Division during the first Persian Gulf War and was drug czar during the Clinton administration, is the honorary co-chairman for the campaign and a former West Point classmate of Bachman, who is superintendent of the 108-year-old school for the children of veterans.

"Howie Bachman and I have been lifelong friends since we were teenagers," McCaffrey said. They both also taught at West Point, and were next-door neighbors and hunting buddies, McCaffrey said.


The retired general said there are "two other things important to us - young people and education." McCaffrey said he did a video for the school, and has written letters and made telephone calls to encourage people to give to the school, which provides a residential education program for students between the third and 12th grades.

So far, with the help of McCaffrey and a number of other Pennsylvania luminaries, the campaign already has raised $900,000 from individuals, businesses and organizations for the school's foundation. They included former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel, whom several at the event credited with helping to save the school when the state was considering closing it in 1990.

While state-funded, much of the amenities beyond schooling and housing are provided through the foundation. Bachman said veterans organizations across the state contribute about $80,000 a year to the school for those activities, but the population of veterans is aging.

By 2020, Bachman said the membership of those organizations will decline "a whopping 40 percent." Thus, the foundation is raising $1 million for a quality-of-life endowment for the students, $500,000 for college and post-secondary school scholarships and $600,000 to fix up the school's bowling alley, improve the student activity and fitness centers and build a picnic pavilion.

Bachman noted that 93 percent of the 340 students come from economically disadvantaged families, but 90 percent go on to college or trade schools.

"Education," Tyree Slappy, a senior from Philadelphia, said when asked what he liked best about the school. "You really don't have to worry about any distractions from your work like you would at a public school. The teachers and staff care."

"The values they instill in you prepare you for the future," said Slappy, who hopes to study finance and marketing next year at the University of Pittsburgh.

Britney Peterson of Chester, Pa., said the education and the security of the school were what she most appreciated.

Slappy said he hopes to enter public service some day, possibly politics.

"Basically, I want to help people because I feel I'm in debt to Scotland School for the help they have given me," he said.

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