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Pottorff Scholarships support future educators from Fairview

Three students, Malek, Adomaites and Loach winners of Pottorff ScholarshipsJune 7, 2024

Three Fairview High School graduating seniors have much to look forward to when attending college this fall.

Molly Adomaites, Scarlett Loach, and Erich Malek were recipients of the H. Ronald Pottorff and Nancy B. Pottorff Scholarship in 2024. The Pottorff Scholarship provided each student $33,000 to help cover costs associated with their college education, including tuition and books.

“This generous scholarship, established by Mr. and Mrs. Pottorff, recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of our graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in the field of education,” Fairview High School Principal Chris Vicha stated. “Each year, I am deeply inspired by the exceptional students who embody the Pottorffs' values of excellence, compassion, and dedication to making a positive impact.”

Each senior will have a different focus in the education field. Adomaites will major in music education at Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts. Loach will be studying art education at Kent State University, while Malek will be majoring in physical education at Bowling Green State University.

The seniors learned they had won the scholarship at the annual Scholars’ Reception ceremony, held this year on May 8.

“I wasn’t expecting to hear my name,” Adomaites explained. “I heard that amount of money and I thought whoever gets that is going to be really lucky. And then I heard my name and thought, ‘Oh, that’s me.’ I was shaking, and I almost cried, but I couldn’t cry for the picture.”

“The expression on my face was probably priceless,” Loach said. “I remember I turned to my Mom, and she just started bawling her eyes out…I’m so unbelievably grateful.”

“It was just such a blessing,” Malek added. “Many emotions filled me all at once. It felt like the longest walk up there, and I almost forgot to take the picture.”

These three students had unique experiences and teachers at Fairview that inspired them to be educators. 

“I love art, and I have an extreme passion for doing art,” Loach said. “I also have two of the best art teachers ever: Mr. Graff and Mr. Kaminski. They’ve been able to give me a lot of community-based projects. A large part of what I want to do as a teacher is working in the community and doing art projects surrounded by that.”

“With Mrs. Atwood and Mrs. Karliak, you can really tell that they care so much about what they do,” Adomaites added. "They have made such an incredible impact on me. And I want to make that kind of impact on students because they are a huge reason that I’m going into music education.”

“I’ve had many great teachers who have helped me throughout,” Malek said. "I actually have a learning disability, dyslexia, and I’ve had multiple teachers who have helped me…I want to help students like the teachers who have helped me here at Fairview. That’s my main goal of being a teacher.”

The Pottorffs were both former teachers in the Fairview Park City Schools. Dr. H. Ronald Pottorff taught math and coached football at FHS beginning in the 1960s. He later taught math at Cuyahoga Community College and became the dean of the math department.  

Nancy Pottorff was a second-grade teacher at Garnett Elementary and later at Gilles-Sweet. Because she loved purple, students lovingly called her “Purple Pottorff.” In 1989, she was nominated for Ohio Teacher of the Year and was named District Teacher of the Year. The Pottorffs were Fairview Park residents and had been married for 55 years.

“Awarding the H. Ronald and Nancy B. Pottorff Scholarship is a profound privilege,” Vicha stated. “It celebrates not only our remarkable recipients but also the enduring legacy of the Pottorffs in nurturing the potential of Fairview's young leaders.”

“There are just so many emotions that come along with winning that money,” Loach explained. “It’s going to alleviate so much stress and it’s going to help my family a ton…I just hope that everyone who was involved in making that decision truly knows that’s going to go towards my education and make a huge difference. I hope that I can really change some other students’ lives with it.”

“Honestly, I would want to give [the Pottorffs] a hug and tell them thank you,” Adomaites explained. "I wish I could tell them that their donation and what they do are not going to be wasted at all.”

“Just to put it into perspective, what they did is kind of insane,” Malek added. "They were teachers. They impacted so many people’s lives already. And then they’re going to give to more teachers with this scholarship. And then more teachers are going to be able to get out and impact more people’s lives. It’s just like a chain reaction. Maybe someday we’ll inspire kids to want to be teachers, too.”