BRUNSWICK

A generous gift from a native educator means a lot more youths may attend the school of their choice.

George Senter, who was born in Brunswick but spent much of his adult life as a faculty member at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., died in July 2011 at the age of 93. Upon his death, he bequeathed more than $2 million to the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund to help local students continue their educations.

With that bequest, fund treasurer Dan Doiron said the George Dyer Senter Fund was established, to increase the fund’s endowment and giving ability.

Doiron got involved four years ago when he was appointed to the fund’s board of directors.

The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund was established in 1956, the brainstorm of Mario Tonon, a guidance counselor at Brunswick High School in the 1950s who became principal and then schools superintendent.

“He really had the vision to set up the fund to provide students with the assistance to go on to school,” Doiron said.

Since its inception, more than $6 million has been awarded to students seeking higher education. The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund currently lists assets of about $3.6 million overall, including the recent bequest from Senter.

About 40 additional funds have been established over the years, including one by the Brunswick High School class of 1959 and another in the name of Sarah Cherry, a 12-year-old Bowdoin girl who was murdered in 1988.

McKenney-Booker Educational Trust is the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund’s largest benefactor, providing $190,000 annually.

The grants are modest, usually ranging from a few hundred to a little more than $1,000, to make paying for school just a little bit easier. The grants are intended to provide a bit of relief while keeping students mindful of life’s over-arching reality: Nothing worthwhile is easy to achieve.

“It’s strictly need-based and there are no performance requirements, except that recipients obviously need to keep attending school,” Doiron said. “There’s a lot of need; the fund helps more than 200 students each year.”

Deadline for the upcoming round of grants is March 15; students can apply through their guidance offices, and will need to submit a copy of their federal financial aid forms.

Brunswick’s Emily Riley, a sophomore majoring in sociology at Wheaton College, said receiving a Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund grant helped.

“Tuition is upward of $50,000 a year,” she said, “and every little bit helps.”

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