BRISTOL - A college scholarship awarded to Eric Frenette by the Bristol Historical Society 15 years ago is being recycled back into the community.
“I was fortunate to get that scholarship,” said Frenette of the $500 scholarship from the historical society he was awarded upon graduating from high school in 2002.
Frenette, a self-proclaimed history buff, attended the University of Connecticut, where he obtained a master’s degree in school counseling.
Soon after, he began a job as a school counselor and moved back to his hometown of Bristol because of the local connections and ties that make up the close-knit community, he explained.
“Bristol has always had a special place in my heart. It has a unifying factor that brings us together,” he said. “I think it has to do with the climate that I, and many in Bristol were raised in. Our parents taught us a sense of community.”
Upon returning to Bristol, Frenette began volunteering at the historical society.
“I felt a civic sense of duty after college. I wanted to give back,” said Frenette, who is now the principal of St. Joseph School, a city private school that he attended as a kid.
“I learned the best way to show someone what you believe in is how you act,” Frenette said. “I felt the urge to give back what I can. I wanted to say thank you through actions.”
Frenette’s journey since graduating high school highlights the importance of the scholarship, explained Carol Denehy of the historical society.
“The historical society and Bristol are so lucky to have him,” said Denehy, who explained that she was lucky enough to have been volunteering at the historical society the day Frenette walked into the building looking to do the same.
The scholarship is awarded to a graduating student from a Bristol high school, Denehy explained. That scholarship is possible through the historical society’s Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner.
“It’s our Number 1 fundraiser of the year,” Denehy said of the pasta supper fundraiser. This year’s fundraiser is slated for Feb. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Nuchie’s Restaurant, 164 Central St., she added.
Students interested in applying for the scholarship are asked to fill out an application and write an essay that will be reviewed by the historical society’s scholarship committee. The $500 scholarship is then awarded to a student at a banquet in May.
Anyone who is interested in attending the fundraiser can call the historical society to put their name on the list. Tickets are $20 and some will be sold at the door.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-801-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org