To reduce the cost of education for students Frank Schmuck founded a Dollars for Scholars Chapter more than 10 years ago. Since then hundreds of students from the Tempe Union High School District have received scholarships enabling them to continue to learn a subject or trade.
“Your vote for Frank Schmuck is an investment in the future of Arizona. I’ve been well acquainted with Frank who is the founder of the Tempe Dollars for Scholars Organization. Having worked with Frank on this Board I know him as a very hard working, caring and dedicated individual. Frank Schmuck deeply believes, as other great leaders of our country have believed, that a republic form of government must have an educated populace in order to continue to exist. As an educator and lifelong resident of the State of Arizona, I ask you to vote for Frank Schmuck for Arizona Senate in Legislative District 18 because he cares about our students and our teachers and will do what is right.”
Dr. Ralph Goitia, EdD
Arizona Associate State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1965-1969
Superintendent of Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District 1958-1965
Superintendent of Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 1969-1976
Superintendent of Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 1976-1988
Setting a course to do good works
Decorated Gulf War pilot visits the ‘Scholarship City’
by Rick Snizek, Editor of The Fall River Spirit
Fall River, MA
August 11, 2005
He flew valiantly for his country during the Persian Gulf War and now Captain Frank Schmuck is streaking full-throttle across the sky - literally - in his quest to make higher education more affordable for young people. A Pennsylvania native now residing in Tempe, Arizona, Schmuck visited Fall River Tuesday at the invitation of Dr. Irving Fradkin founder of the nationwide Dollars for Scholars program to hear firsthand about the benefits of the scholarship program. Schmuck now a commercial pilot for Southwest airlines attended a luncheon in the Quewuechan club where he met with local educators and members of the Fall River Kwanis club, an organization with which he is president back home in Tempe. He made the visit during a 23-hour layover after shuttling a planeload of passengers to Providence.
“I’ve been fortunate.” Schmuck told the gathering. “I’ve been given a lot and I want to give back.”
The youngest citizen of Arizona inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame Schmuck serves with Arizona Senator John McCain‘s Service Academy Selection Committee. He is the co-designer of the 911 America United in Memory emblem. The emblem is shaped in the form of the Pentagon with the twin towers of the former World Trade Center standing tall in the middle. He first contacted Fradkin about two months ago while working on establishing a Dollars for Scholars program in Tempe.
“For him it’s all about putting service before himself,” Schmuck said of Fradkin.
“For Irving Fradkin to have raised as much money as he has and never take a dollar for himself – that’s service,” he added noting how Fradkin started Dollars for Scholars 46 years ago using none of the proceeds collected for overhead cost and continues the same practice today. Fradkin‘s tenacity in promoting the program has garnered Fall Rover the nickname “The Scholarship City.”
Fradkin started the program in 1959 as a young optometrist in the city. He would go around collecting dollar bills from as many people as he could with the money being used to fund scholarships for those students pursuing higher education after high school. One of Franken‘s proudest moments came from when former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself sent him a dollar for the cause.
Through the years Fradkin‘s promoted the program nationwide. So far, dollars for scholars has raised more than 1 billion and granted scholarships to more than 1 million students. He predicts that it will take only seven years to raise the next billion and serve an additional 1 million students.
“It’s about one man’s ability to inspire so many,” Schmuck said of what impresses him most of the program.
It was two years ago that Schmuck 39 first began to work on fund-raising for scholarships. The occasion was his 20th high school Reunion at Dallastown High School in Pennsylvania. A classmate Shawn McCoullough had recently died of brain cancer and he wanted to use the occasion to rally his fellow alumni in creating a scholarship in support of students graduating from the alma mater that had given each a start in life.
Back home in Tempe Schmuck who along with his wife, are very active in their church and community and wanted to establish a scholarship program there as well. So far he has gained the support of some of the highest-ranking officials and educators in the community in establishing a Dollars for Scholars chapter there.
“I could see he has a great love for humanity and intends to help other kids in Arizona,” Franklin said of Schmuck. “The quality of the individual and the questions he asked me when he contacted me indicated that he is a true American who wants to help kids of every creed, race and culture.”
Schmuck is a 1988 a graduate of United States Air Force Academy earning a Bachelor of Science degree with military honors. While studying at academy, he lettered in baseball and served a semester abroad as an Ambassador Cadet to the French Air Force Academy (L’Ecole de l’air). He served in the Air Force during the Persian Gulf War. In one anecdote from his experiences he mused at the change in political attitude some nations had experience since World War II recalling a visit to an air base in Germany for a load of armaments he was tasked with transporting to the Middle East.
“I stood on the tarmac waiting for Patriot missiles to arrive from the Germans to take to the Jews in Israel to defend themselves against the Iraqi’s,” he said. “How the world has changed and 50 years.”
During the conflict Schmuck nearly missed a deadly scud missile attack while landing in the airfield and Dahran in Saudi Arabia a missile launch from Iraq slammed into a housing complex at the base killing 27 of his fellow service personnel. He has also been commended for his performance on the battlefield in which he participated in the rescues of many wounded colleagues.
Fluent in French and conversational German Schmuck works in support of several humanitarian causes including aid to autistic children Lou Gehrig’s disease and assisting veterans with Gulf War related illnesses. He was awarded the 2003 ALS Association‘s national Rasmussen advocate award for his work with those afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
During his visit here Schmuck who with self effacing humor playfully joked about the travails he entered it academy given his last name was presented with citations on behalf of Mayor Edward M. Lambert and state Representatives David Sullivan, Michael Rodrigues and Robert Correia.
For Wendy Blais-Meeker it was a special order to sit at the head table with Schmuck and Fradkin at the luncheon. Wendy will apply the $250 scholarship she was recently awarded through the American Dream Challenge an essay contest formed under the Dollars for Scholars program to her studies at UMass Dartmouth this fall. She is planning to study art, painting and Spanish as she develops the skills she needs to meet her goal of helping impoverished children in Mexico.
Schmuck presented Wendy with the model of a Southwest Airlines plane he flies as a symbol of her boundless future.
“He wants me to follow my dreams and go where they take me,” said Blais Meeker “We should follow our dreams and goals.”
Meeker herself was inspired by her Eastgate Christian Academy Spanish teacher John Pontes, who first opened her eyes to the lack of a future for many Mexican children.
“There’s such desolation, the kids are living in squalor,” she said. Blais Meeker has read Franklin‘s book about how the scholarship program came to be and derived inspiration from it.
“It shows that any one person can make a difference.”
‘Dollars for Scholars’ funds college dreams
By Joyce Coronel
June 9-22, 2018
For many high school students, a higher education— the key to a brighter future — is an impossible dream. Thanks to Tempe Dollars for Scholars, 275 students from the Tempe Union High School District have received the financial help to achieve their goals since 2006.
That’s because 12 years ago, Frank Schmuck, who serves on the board of Tempe Dollars for Scholars, met Dr. Irving Fradkin, the retired Massachusetts optometrist who in 1958 challenged others to give at least $1 to help local youth receive a college education.
Fradkin’s efforts resulted in the development of a nationwide program with 700 affiliates in thousands of communities across America.
The Tempe chapter of Dollars for Scholars, now part of Scholarship America, was founded in 2006 and has awarded some $173,000 in scholarships so far.
“The neat thing about the program is, they’ve never been frivolous with the money. They’ve always put it in the child’s name and delivered it to the institution they’ve decided they wanted to attend,” Schmuck said.
Although the deadline to apply for scholarships for this year has passed, Tempe Union High School students are encouraged to apply during the upcoming school year. This year there were hundreds of students vying for the 39 scholarships, each worth $1,000 or more.
Some colleges and universities have agreed to match dollar for dollar, thereby doubling the amount of the award. And while the organization is looking for applicants with good grades who don’t have the financial means to pay for post-secondary education, the selection committee considers each student’s particular circumstances.
“Good grades don’t necessarily mean you were a stellar student forever. Some of them have life-altering events. Some of their stories are heartbreaking to hear,” Schmuck said.
A few of the applicants are homeless.
“We’ve had students like that who lived out of the back of their car with their family. We’ve had students where the mother or father died,” Schmuck said.
At the award ceremony, a brief narrative about the recipient is read aloud to the audience and the individual or a representative of the organization that funded the scholarship presents a certificate to the student.
Schmuck said the sheepskin certificate is framed and includes the donor’s photo or logo so that years down the road, when the student has graduated, there will be a tangible reminder of how their dream was launched.
“They’re going to see that one day and say, ‘This helped me, and now I’m going to help somebody else,” Schmuck said.
At this year’s awards ceremony, each winner’s impressive accolades were read as they headed to the podium.
Connor Richards from Corona, for example, starred on the tennis team and was also active in numerous service clubs, all while maintaining a 3.97 grade point average.
He plans to attend Arizona State University and study software engineering.
Joshua Patterson of Marcos de Niza played baseball and was involved in several clubs and the National Honor Society.
He’ll be studying business management and play baseball at Kansas Wesleyan University.
Spencer Pote of Corona earned a 4.0 GPA, played in the marching and steel bands and was a National Merit semifinalist.
He plans to attend Cornell University and study biology with a specialization in genetics.
Esmerelda Hernandez of Tempe High was described as a person of integrity who has persevered through hard times. She plans to study physical therapy.
Madison Didea of Marcos held down a 32-hour-a- week job and played volleyball. A National Honor Society student, she’ll begin studying criminal justice at Chandler- Gilbert Community College this fall.
Several other TUHSD students received scholarships at the Dollars for Scholars awards ceremony.
Among them were Kevin Dunnahoo and Keionta Murry of Marcos who will enter ASU this fall; Benjamin Sandberg of Corona who plans to serve a two-year mission for his church and eventually go to medical school; Alyssa Winkler and Chloe Hettenback of Compadre who will attend Grand Canyon University; Marena Younan of McClintock who will begin studies at Mesa Community College; Elinor Griffin of McClintock who will attend the University of Arizona; Emma Barnes of Marcos and Lindsay Durland of Tempe High who will study at Northern Arizona University; Ryan Dinnan, Natalie Swanstrom, Hannah Eastwood, Alison Fahy and Nicole Neumann of Corona will each attend ASU; DaJae Doral of McClintock who will study at NAU; and Jose Renteria of Tempe who will enter ASU.
The Blake Norvell Smile Scholarship was awarded to two students: Tatum Stolworthy and Jordan Alperin of Corona.
Editors Note: This story originally ran in Wrangler News in 2015 but has been updated with details about 2018 Scholarship winners.