More than 500 alumni and friends came out in force to support the annual crab feed dinner at Saint Francis High School benefitting a scholarship established in the memory of a fallen Marine who was a graduate of Saint Francis.
Captain Matthew Manoukian, class of 2001, died in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2012. Each year, the school, with the Manoukian family, has invited the community to honor Matt’s life while raising money for financial aid. Students who are the recipients of his scholarship spoke at the event about the power of attending Saint Francis and receiving financial aid.
“As a tribute to Matthew as a son, brother, friend and Marine, this scholarship was established so that the school community could celebrate his legacy,” said Mike Speckman, director of endowment and tuition assistance. “Through this annual dinner, we can see the impact of his life on our students.”
In addition to the fundraising aspect of the event, the evening was also an opportunity for the family to honor a member of the community for their service in the military. This year, the Manoukian family awarded the Captain Matthew Manoukian Service Award to former Saint Francis teacher and coach Barry Ivers who retired last spring after 43 years. Ivers, a 1964 graduate of the school, saw combat during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Ivers said he is proud of his service and felt humbled by the recognition. “You serve your country and help others wherever they send you,” he said. “I really believe that, and Matt Manoukian believed that.”