Passion for education leads Schwabenbauers to create scholarship


by Megan Sorokes
Olean Times Herald

With a love of education and desire to help students succeed, Ben and Rose Schwabenbauer decided to create a scholarship through the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation for future teachers.

“We wanted to help because (school) is so expensive,” Mr. Schwabenbauer said. “Students have to take out loans and, even with two parents working in a family, it’s extremely expensive. It’s so different today.”

Mr. and Mrs. Schwabenbauer met at Clarion (Pa.) State College in 1964 while pursuing degrees in elementary education. Both taught in the Olean City School District until their retirements.

“I taught fifth- and sixth-grade students for 41 years at Ivers J. Norton,” Mr. Schwabenbauer said. “Education is a goal that many have and should have, and Rose feels the same way. It’s just rewarding.”

Mrs. Schwabenbauer, who retired in 2002, added, “One thing I feel is that education is something no one can take from you. It’s very important, and once you have it, no one can take it – no matter how good or bad things get.”

The two credit their parents with teaching them the importance of an education. Mr. Schwabenbauer said their parents obtained very little schooling but worked hard to ensure their children had the opportunity to learn.

“Our parents felt the most important thing was education,” he said. “They instilled it in us, so Rose and I continued with that. We have a deep love of education and its importance. It doesn’t matter what we do, education broadens our horizons.”

Karen Niemic Buchheit, executive director of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, noted, “Ben and Rose’s passion for education is evident. They now want to pass on the torch to future generations.”

The Ben and Rose Schwabenbauer Educational Scholarship will be available to seniors graduating from Olean and Otto-Eldred high schools who are attending a four-year college to pursue elementary education. The candidate will also need to demonstrate academic success with a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher, be in the top 25 percent of his or her class, show financial need and be involved in community service. He said vonlunteerism is important because of the opportunity to interact with others.

“It’s so important, doing something for the community,” he said. “It gives you a good feeling and gives you a chance to meet people. I love meeting people because everyone has something to offer and we can learn from them.”

The community is welcome to donate to the Ben and Rose Schwabenbauer Educational Scholarship by contacting the Community Foundation, 120 N. Union St., at 372-4433 or online at Mr. and Mrs. Schwabenbauer hope others will also consider creating scholarships to help students pursue an education.

“I want to encourage others to do this or to contribute to a scholarship,” Mr. Schwabenbauer said. “Scholarships are close to my heart. They’re important and help so much.”

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