Michael F. Paone Scholarship Fund

10 years ago my father Dr. Michael F. Paone lost his battle with cancer, his battle was not unlike the tens of thousands of others who have traveled the same road. He was a fighter who battled until his last breath.  A lifelong educator and musician he was carried out of his last classroom and carried away from the piano at his last gig because he continued teaching and playing long after his treatments had severely hampered his abilities.  He dedicated his life to teaching in his hometown of West Haven CT, in the West Haven School system for 35 years, he retired then took on a fulltime position at Notre Dame High School of West Haven (his Alma Mater ’61) all the while teaching and lecturing at Gateway, SCSU and other local colleges until his death.  He also Founded the West Haven Center for Coastal Ecology with his dear friend Gerry Frumento and his wife Nancy(http://www.whecocamp.com), a summer camp dedicated to providing science and ecology education to children in the community based on his passion for the conservation of the Long Island Sound.   In its 26th year, the Eco-Camp now being run by Gerri Frumento and Nancy Paone is very successful with enrollment but because they want to keep the tuition cost low to allow all kids in the community to enjoy this it is still in need of outside funding for operations.  

To say he dedicated his life to teaching is clearly an understatement.  With West Haven now as my hometown, when people meet me and recognize my name they quickly ask if I am related to the teacher Mr. Paone, and then proceed to tell me he was their favorite teacher and usually add in a story about how he inspired them and I can tell by the detail of their story that he had truly left a lasting impression on them, this happens often. 

He was also an accomplished Jazz piano player, a self-proclaimed “Saloon Singer”, the smile on his face when he was sitting at a piano with a scotch was unmistakably telling of a man that loved playing. Even at his darkest moment when his hands were failing him he found a way to adapt so no one really knew how it was affecting him.  With that being said, in what little time he had when he wasn’t teaching you could find him behind a piano at a bar in the New Haven jazz scene.

Then the cancer came, and his battle, and his death. 

With all the work he had done in his life educating and entertaining through science and music I wanted to continue to build his legacy so In the year of his death I started personally funding scholarships at West Haven High School in his name, one  for a basic senior scholarship then increasing the amount to2 scholarships to be given to 2 seniors, one for excellence in performing arts and one for interest in Science.   I will continue to fund these scholarships but now on the 10th anniversary of his death I would like to create a larger self-sustaining endowment fund in his name.   It is my intention that this fund will provide several small scholarships annually to students at both West Haven High School and also Notre Dame High School as well as provide the needed funding to sustain his Eco-Camp for many years to come.

If you ever met the man, had him as a teacher, heard him lecture on ecology, heard him play the piano or been on the opposite end of a spirited discussion with him, please find it in your heart to donate to this cause.   Amount is high, but that is what I have determined is necessary to fund an endowment that will be capable of providing scholarships and also grow thru the years. 



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Michael Paone 
West Haven, CT
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