From the lunch money collected in the Clear Creek High School cafeteria on December 8, 2003 to a stellar event at South Shore Harbour’s festive Crystal Ballroom, the Ray Joseph Hutchinson scholarship has grown beyond those who were there on day one’s wildest dreams. So far twelve scholarships totaling over $20,000 have been given to Creek students.
The scholarship began when the students in newspaper class went to collect money the day after Ray’s death. His teacher, Wynette Jameson, told Ray’s story and those students who remembered him skating around the journalism room in a yellow m&m suit with the ever-present camera he used as the newspaper’s head photographer went to the cafeteria with buckets. After learning of Hutchinson’s death, Ms. Jameson knew something had to be done to keep the light that Ray brought into a room alive. She, her students and Karen Permetti, CCISD Director of Public Information, decided to begin a scholarship in Ray’s name. They all knew howRay always helped others and it was their turn to carry on that tradition. LCIS principal at the time, Gail Love, who had been Ray’s senior principal, held a fundraiser on her campus and brought in over $1,200 in one day.
In May of 2004, the PALs program at Creek and their sponsor, Ms. Mary Latulippe decided to remember Ray with a tree planted by the CCHS baseball field. Ray had been a PAL who mentored fifth grade students. The ceremony brought together the entire campus as the PALs, newspaper, ROTC and art departments gathered together for the common cause. From the front page article in the Galveston Daily news about the tree planting, John and Betsey Ennis of BAMS and the Bay Runner, became intrigued with the young man who inspired such devotion. John Ennis wrote a brilliant editorial about the scholarship and students of CCHS and military duty.
After a few meetings of the Ennis’s, Hutchinson’s, Jameson and Permetti, the group got together with South Shore Grille owner, Mickey Wooten, to hold the first public fundraiser in September of 2004. Ms. Permetti agreed to have the Clear Creek Education Foundation act as fiduciary agent for tax purposes as the scholarship funds grew. John and Betsey Ennis almost double-handedly obtained and gave away all raffle prizes. Over $2,400 was raised that night.
In July of 2005, Roy Green, Cathy Alford and Matt Wev of South Shore Harbour Resort came on board with the help of the John and Betsey. The first Salute to Heroes was at the Harbour Club and raised over $4,400. It was an amazing event. Mickey Wooten and the Ennis’s put on another benefit at South Shore Grille in October of 2005 which raised over $2,000 even on the night of the Creek v Lake football game.
In February of 2006, Karen Permetti’s innovative No Run Fun Run brought in over $4,000 from T-shirt and sponsor sales. Again the South Shore Harbour trio of Roy, Cathy and Matt stepped in with a Finish Line party at the Harbour Club for participants to meet and refresh. In July, Salute to Heroes 2 brought in more people and over $8,000. Ann Hacker, League City business woman donated a vintage automobile to raffle off at the SSHR dockside Food and Wine Festival in October. That event raised several thousand more to add to the 2006 total.
With the funding doing well, 2007 has been a year of change. The Hutchinson’s formed their own Ray Joseph Hutchinson Foundation to continue funding of the scholarship and take much of the fundraising responsibilities off of students and employees of CCISD and turn to corporate donors. South Shore Harbour Resort, Black Rose Steel, Hometown Bank and Harper & Pearson Company, P.C. are listed at the new website www.rjhfoundation.org . More corporations stepped in at Salute to Heroes 3 in July of 2007 and profits rose to over $20,000. A “Making a Difference” golf tournament will take place on November 5 at South Shore Harbour Country Club.
Thus continues the saga of the scholarship begun by kids, their teacher and a Public Information Director and grew into a corporate bonanza. It truly is the “Little Scholarship that could.”