By Joanne Kosey
In 1987, then-superintendent of Riverside-Brookfield High School, Charles LeCrone, assembled a small committee of residents to form the Riverside-Brookfield High School Educational Foundation (RBEF).
The founding incorporators were, Sherlane Biskowski (then school board president), Janis McCarthy, Milton Nieuwsma and Caroline Tecson. Their objectives were to provide educational opportunities for students, staff and faculty while promoting student and community partnerships.
In 1989, the foundation held its first telethon and the effort was awarded a John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, the only high school in the country to receive the award.
The foundation continued its efforts through the volunteers who served as trustees for the foundation. The success of the foundation continued until sometime in the 1990s when lack of leadership discontinued the foundation.
In 2000, David Newman enlisted yours truly to see if we could revive the foundation as there was money in the treasury, so we did. A new board of trustees was assembled and the process proceeded to where we are today, producing a yearly telethon.
Through the direction of the RBHS faculty member Gary Prokes, numerous volunteers and the Foundation trustees, the telethon will air on Saturday, March 10 from 1 to 9 p.m. on Comcast Channel 16, U-verse Channel 99 or online at www.rbtv.tv.
Volunteers will by manning the phone bank to answer and make calls for pledges. Premiums will be available for purchase throughout the day and sponsors will be noted for their generosity.
Entertainment and interviews will air throughout the day though the efforts of Diane Marelli and Jacob Palka. Word is that Elvis (Michael St. Angel) will be in the house, former band teacher Kevin McOlgan will be on hand and the popular "school bus karaoke" is once again featured.
The telethon will also feature interviews with educational foundation grant recipients, who will talk about their experiences which could not have been possible without the generosity of the foundation and its donors.
The success of RBEF Telethon 2017 made it possible to award 51 grants totaling more than $28,000. This year the foundation hopes to raise in excess of $25,000. To learn more about the foundation or the telethon call 708-442-7500 or go to ww.rbef.tv.