“Necessity is the mother of invention,” the popular paraphrasing of Plato, came to light in more ways than one over the Independence Day holiday weekend in Marion where red, white, and blue luminaria adorned residents’ fences, steps, and stone walls along Front Street and in public places such as the Music Hall and Old Landing.
The dazzling display that even gave docks and jetties a nighttime outline may never have happened had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic’s cancelation of many traditional activities such as the December Holiday House Tour and the Sippican Woman’s Club’s signature fundraiser.
The organization’s ongoing mission of awarding Marion residents college scholarships resulted in a new tradition: the Illuminate to Educate Scholarship Fundraiser. Since June 1, luminaria kits were purchased at a cost of $25 at local shops and online at sippicanwomansclub.org. On July 4 and 5, approximately 3,200 luminarias went on display.
July’s stormy weather did not clear up until the Sunday evening (July 4), just in time for the colorful bags housing battery-operated lights to shine. Small baggies were provided with the kits so owners could weigh them down with rocks or sand.
“We were really pleased with the effect…. That’s what we were hoping. We were on edge all weekend,” said Lee Williamson, vice president of fundraising for the Sippican Woman’s Club. “Our goals were two-fold – find a way to raise money to continue our 50-year tradition, and start a new tradition in Marion to focus on our community spirit and emphasize the beauty of our town.”
The SWC’s traditional Holiday House Tour typically results an annual donation of approximately $10,000 toward scholarships.
“The money is still coming in, so we think that we’ve met that goal or are close to it,” said Williamson. “We’re really grateful to our sponsors; several local businesses contributed. We also had generous anonymous donors, one (donation) from a donor whose daughter had received the Sippican Woman’s Club scholarship in the ’90s.”
Students submitted applications in April via their schools’ guidance offices, so the funds will be awarded in May 2022. Approximately 20 Marion residents attending Old Rochester Regional, Tabor Academy, and Bishop Stang have been named recipients. Upper Cape Tech and Falmouth Academy students from Marion are also eligible for these awards.
“This year and last were tough on students; because of COVID, there were no internships,” said Williamson. “We’re hoping to run this fundraiser again and hope that more people will join in after seeing (the holiday weekend display).”
Listed below are the 2021 Sippican Woman’s Club scholarship recipients.
ORR: Rachel Fantoni, Sydney Feeney, Isabelle Kelly, Katelyn Luong, Abigail McFadyen (Lu Chevrier Award), Rachel Pina, Daphne Poirier, Raegan Rapoza, Mason Tucker, and Emma Williamson.
Bishop Stang High School: Sophie Lynch.
Tabor Academy: Charles Crowley.
Continuing education students: Isabelle Cheney, Kathryn MacLean, Madisen Martin, Alexa McLeod, Lauren Pina, Catherine Russo, and Georgia Toland.
Alice Ryder Book Award: Nicolas Huaco.
By Mick Colageo