It was a fun and profitable night for all involved in the annual Clark Benefit Fund Ball in February. Organizers raised $18,000 and sold more than 200 tickets for the nearly two decade-old benefit, which every year awards scholarships and grants to community organizations. Since its inception, the Fund has given away more than $250,000 to groups from the Clark Senior Center to the library and the girl scouts.
The winners this year, Allison Calo and Peter J. Buckley IV, both Johnson High School seniors, received $1,000 each from the Beverly Ellenport Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is named in memory of Beverly Ellenport, who founded the Clark Benefit Fund in 1993. Ellenport's husband, Bob, matches the $500 from the Fund to make the scholarships an even $1,000. To apply for the scholarship, students have to have a B average, be college bound and show evidence of good citizenship and participation in community services.
Calo has been an active member of the Key Club, where she participated in various service activities such as volunteering for the river cleanup, assisting in town events, and helping with the annual at Johnson. In addition to her volunteer work, Calo has played soccer, softball and track, is a peer leader, and has maintained a 4.5 grade point average.
Buckley has also been an active member of the Key Club and currently serves as vice president. In 11th grade, he was given the Key Club Diamond Award for having volunteered more than 100 hours of community service. Buckley was also named Crusader of the Month for his service, has organized concerts where his band plays to raise money for Parkinsons research, and has a 3.2 GPA.
Amongst the most popular raffle items were a bike donated by Park Avenue Acura, a golf package from Hyatt Hills, and a ladies watch from AM Jewelers. The ball this year was Valentine's Day themed and guests were on the dance floor all night. "This was the first year since I’ve been on the committee that at end of night people came up and asked if we could extend the ball for another hour," said organizer Jill Burkhard. "Midnight strikes and people filter out. They actually wanted to stay."