‘Alum Chums,’ CEF launch fund to support Claremont High School thespians

A group of Claremont High School alumni, calling themselves “Alum Chums,” have come together to help ensure CHS students can take advantage of valuable enrichment opportunities.

In partnership with Claremont Educational Foundation, the group has created an endowed fund that will provide financial need-based assistance to CHS students who wish to attend arts related programs such as the International Thespian Festival.

The group’s long-term goal is to raise $100,000 through the Don F. Fruechte Arts Fund, named in honor of CHS’s first theater director.

In the short term, Alum Chums are raising immediate funds to assist 15 CHS students who have applied for assistance to attend this summer’s International Thespian Festival.  The ITF is the country’s premier summer teen theater festival. The yearly event brings together more than 4,000 students from the United States and hundreds from around the world. Over the years, CHS has taken three productions to the ITF main stage, which selects only eight shows each year.

“Attending the ITF can be such an important part of a theater student’s high school experience,” said CHS theater director Mohammed Mangrio. “Hundreds of CHS theater students have found their college programs through the ITF college audition process, a key opportunity available at the festival.”

Registration for the weeklong festival is $1,600 for theater students and includes housing, meals, and airfare.

“Participation in this event has changed the lives of so many CHS students,” said Michael (Krieger) Alden, 1974 CHS alum and member of the Don F Fruechte Arts Fund Gift Committee. “We want to make sure experiences like this are available to all CHS students, regardless of their ability to pay.”

The Don F. Fruechte Arts Fund will be CEF’s first permanently endowed fund for a program to benefit CUSD students. Annual scholarship grants will be administered by CEF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports enrichment programs in the district.

“CEF has a long history of supporting art, music, and technology programs that benefit students in the district,” said CEF President Emily Cavalcanti. “When the Alum Chums approached us to manage their donations so they can support CHS students in need through an endowment, it was a natural fit with our mission. We’re thrilled to be able to help this generous group of donors provide a valuable enrichment experience for CHS students.”

Tax-deductible donations can be made at tinyurl.com/FruechteFund.


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