OLEAN, N.Y., November 3, 2023 — A new scholarship recently established at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation will honor the legacy of two dedicated area teachers, Gene and Sandra Froebel, and support the next generation of students from seven area schools pursuing careers in the education field.
Established by Gene and Sandra Froebel’s three sons, Brian, Eric and Curtis Froebel, this scholarship will be awarded to graduating seniors of Olean, Allegany-Limestone, Portville, Hinsdale, Cuba-Rushford, Oswayo Valley and Bradford High Schools. This scholarship seeks to reward hardworking students who have overcome adversity, participated in high school athletics, were employed while attending school and/or volunteered to better their community and who are seeking to pursue a career in education.
The first Gene and Sandra Froebel Teachers Scholarship will be awarded in 2024.
Gene and Sandra, who were lovingly married for 56 years, had long careers in education, teaching at several of the area schools.
Gene attended Bradford High School where he played football and worked at a local pipe yard. He earned his undergraduate degree in physical education while playing football at Lock Haven University. He later earned a master’s in education leadership from St. Bonaventure University.
Gene taught physical education, driver’s education and coached football at Bradford for four years. Gene then went on to teach physical education and coach football at Hinsdale until his retirement in 1995.
In addition to teaching, Gene served as the school’s athletic director; taught and oversaw the Olean High School and Olean Adult Drivers Education programs, officiated basketball in both New York and Pennsylvania, served as the area’s NYS Section VI’s Athletic representative, served on the Big 30 Football Selection Committee and was President of the Olean Teachers Credit Union.
As a graduate of Oswayo Valley Central School, Sandra earned her bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University and master’s in reading from St. Bonaventure University.
Sandra taught remedial reading in the Bradford, Olean and Cuba school districts.
Gene and Sandra’s son Eric recalled, “mom was so dedicated to her students that she once had a Chinese student learning English and taught herself Mandarin Chinese so she was better prepared to help him learn.”
Gene and Sandra Froebel’s children decided to include a preference for students who have overcome a hardship to honor the perseverance and positive spirit of their mother.
As a child, Sandra endured physical, sexual and mental abuse. While in high school she witnessed two of her brothers being hit by a car while waiting at the school bus stop. Neither survived.
In 1983 Sandra was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and given less than 10% chance of survival.
With all this adversity stacked against her, Sandra beat the odds. She persevered and went on to attend college, raise a family, lead a successful career in education and became a very active volunteer with the cancer society.
In 2016, Sandra was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s Dementia. As her mental and physical abilities were diminished by the disease, Sandra maintained her fighting spirit, never complaining, never giving up and always striving to help others, said her sons.
Sandra was an unassuming warrior who always put others first, resulting in a positive impact on her students, her family and her community.
Gene passed away in 2019, and Sandra passed away in 2023.
CRCF Executive Director Kirk Windus praised Gene and Sandra’s sons for their philanthropic efforts to memorialize their parents.
“Gene and Sandra demonstrated a passion for the education field during their careers, and this scholarship fund will encourage students who will hopefully fit their mold and leave a similar mark on their own future students and their own communities,” said Windus. “CRCF is honored to manage this fund and memorialize Gene and Sandra Froebel through this scholarship.”
Donations can be made to the Gene and Sandra Froebel Teachers Scholarship Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760 or online at cattfoundation.org.