OGDENSBURG — Jaedyn Awan, a senior at Ogdensburg Free Academy, has been named the recipient of the prestigious William H. Plimpton Scholarship in honor of the late teacher, coach and principal.
Miss Awan, the daughter of Colleen Ashley and Craig Awan, will receive the scholarship, which according to a description provided by the school district, is awarded to a student who, over a period of their enrollment “has demonstrated excellence and involvement in the many areas that encompass school and community culture. This student will have pursued leadership roles in school organizations and school government, will have participated to the extent possible, in the school’s extra-curricular and cultural venues and athletic programs and will have involved himself (herself) in community service.”
“The recipient of this scholarship is an individual who leads by example and has emulated the highest values and expectations that the school and community have determined to be the standards of excellence,” it continued.
Miss Awan plans on attending SUNY Canton in the fall where she will be majoring in Health and Fitness with a goal of becoming an occupational therapist. While at SUNY Canton, she will play lacrosse and soccer.
“I am honored to be named the 2023 recipient of the William H. Plimpton scholarship. This scholarship is a reflection of my high school career at OFA. My involvement with athletics and student service organizations has made me the person I am today,” said Miss Awan. “Their financial support will help me greatly as I pursue my education at SUNY Canton, where I will major in Health and Fitness Promotion with my goal to become an occupational therapist. While at SUNY Canton, I will also be a member of the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams because I want to continue my involvement in both athletics and the school community. I want to again thank the Plimpton and Munn families for their recognition.”
Miss Awan is a three-sport athlete at OFA, playing soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
A member of the OFA Key Club, she was elected as president for her senior year. She also serves as president of the Class of 2023 and Varsity Club, vice president of Student Council and is the treasurer of the National Business Honor Society.
Beginning with Miss Awan, the scholarship will be for $20,000 a year, totaling $80,000 by the end of four years of college. Previous recipients received $15,000 a year for a total of $60,000.
Recipients must remain a student in good standing for the four-year period and the school district will oversee the administrative aspects of the scholarship.
The William H. Plimpton Scholarship was first handed out to a graduating OFA senior in 2007 and is awarded every four years. Its inaugural presentation was made by both Plimpton and Steve Munn.
“These individuals have dedicated a lifetime of modeling those traits upon which are based the high ideals that have shaped our country. Mr. Plimpton and Mr. Munn also have a realization that our future is shaped by our youth who demonstrate that they, as they seize the baton of freedom, are entrusted with a most noble purpose – to guide and direct our country,” the scholarship description stated.
The scholarship was originally sponsored by Mr. Munn, a former graduate of OFA and protegé of Mr. Plimpton. Mr. Munn passed away in 2017. However, his daughters — Michelle Celestino and Robyn Gengras — will follow through with their father’s wishes and continue this scholarship in Mr. Plimpton’s honor. Mr. Plimpton passed away in 2020 and his sons Mark and Tom join Mr. Munn’s daughters in the awarding of this scholarship.
“My father and Steve Munn loved Ogdensburg, the North Country and OFA. They both understood the value of an education and what a difference it can make in people’s lives. My brother, Tom and I, are very thankful to Steve and his family for setting this scholarship up in our father’s name so he can continue to positively impact student’s lives for many years to come. We know that both dad and Steve would be proud of Jaedyn and all that she has accomplished. They would be excited to follow her as she takes the next steps in her life’s journey,” said Mark Plimpton.
Ms. Gengras said that her father starting the scholarship in Plimpton’s honor was a way to give back and “never forgetting his roots.”
“One of the greatest gifts I think my dad had was never forgetting his roots and where he came from and the mentors and the people who helped him along the way,” said Ms. Gengras, “he was so appreciative of the people who believed in him and this is a small way for him to pay them back and pay it forward. It manifested itself in a scholarship. When you’re a young person and don’t have a lot of resources. You need people to help you and you need people to believe in you. I think this is his way of hopefully paying that back.”
William H. Plimpton
Born on April 6, 1933 in Theresa, he was the son of the late William and Eleanor (Dobbins) Plimpton. He graduated from Alexandria Bay High School and continued his education at St. Lawrence University where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Education. He was a member of both the St. Lawrence University football and hockey teams. He later married his wife of 61 years, Sandra Steinkuller, on June 27, 1959 in Kingston, N.Y.
Plimpton began his career at Ogdensburg Free Academy as a World History teacher and football coach. He is credited with coaching Pete Gogolak, who went on to become the first “soccer style” kicker in the NFL with the New York Giants and the AFL with the Buffalo Bills. In 1962, he accepted a position at Elmira Free Academy and served as the EFA football coach, along with teaching World History, before returning to Ogdensburg in 1966 in what he described as the “best move of his life.” Plimpton took on the role of Junior High Principal at Ogdensburg Free Academy, which he maintained until his retirement in 1988.
Plimpton remained in education as the registrar of Mater Dei College in Ogdensburg. He officially retired on a full-time basis in 2000 to spend more time with his family.
Plimpton was a former member of the Claxton Hepburn Medical Center Hospital board, an active member of the Ogdensburg First Presbyterian Church where he was on session and the board of trustees. He was a former city counciler, a member of the “City Coalition,” along with Dick Lockwood, Ned Hackett, and Dick Dupont.
Plimpton was named to the St. Lawrence University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011 and was inducted into the inaugural class of the Ogdensburg Free Academy/St. Mary’s Academy Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Stephen Putney Munn
Munn was born on July 1, 1942 in Bay Shore, the son of Allen Munn, who passed away shortly after his birth, and was raised by Catherine (Putney) Munn, his strong and devoted mother.
He graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1960, St. Lawrence University in 1964 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1969. He was a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and inducted into the St. Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame for his college football accomplishments.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged after receiving the Bronze Star and the Army Commendations medals. Mr. Munn began his career at Shell, followed by Agway and then Carrier Corporation. He joined Carrier International as president in 1976, rose to chief financial officer of Carrier Corporation and then was president of Carrier Transicold. In 1988 Mr. Munn joined Carlisle Companies Inc. as president and chief Executive officer until 2001. He added the role of chairman in January of 1994 and served in that capacity until June, 2007. He remained on the Carlisle Board as Lead Director until his retirement in May, 2015.
Munn also served on the boards of Gannett Company and O’Sullivan Corporation. He was a director or trustee of 61 portfolios comprising Prudential Funds.