For 35 years, Karen Cotten has inspired and encouraged students and athletes at Falconer Central School.
A graduate of Liverpool High School and State University of New York at Brockport, Cotten taught Health and Physical Education until her retirement in 2005. Two years later, the high school named tennis courts in her honor.
According to Cotten’s daughter, Shelley, Cotten was a regular fixture at many high school sporting events. One of her favorite memories occurred during a track encounter in high school when a runner was struggling during a race and started walking. Without a second thought, Cotten ran to the side of the track and started clapping and encouraging the little girl to do so.
“The girl started running again and my mother kept running beside her,” Shelly remembered.
Although hostility to . is excluded “Speed ,” Did not bother.
“After the race, she had a big smile on her face,” Shelly said. “She was so proud of herself that she pushed her things over and over. This story, my mother to a T.”
In April, Cotten passed away after a long and brave battle with cancer. Soon, her family began looking for a way to ensure her memory would remain a part of Falconer Central School forever.
“It was important for us to honor her legacy, not only as a teacher, athletic director or coach, but the impact she had as a mentor and friend as well,” Shelly said.
And what is more fitting than a scholarship in her memory to inspire future teachers.
According to Shelley, the family received several donations in Cotten’s memory that were put into an account at the local credit union. Last month, Shelley contacted the Chautauqua District Community Foundation to transfer the money and make it official.
The Karen Cotton Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to alumni of Falconer Central School who are pursuing a career in education. She will present her first prize next spring.
“It is very appropriate that the money raised for this scholarship came from many parts of her life,” Shelly said. “We are so grateful to everyone who contributed and I know my mum is smiling and loving.”
Donations for the Karen Cotten Memorial Scholarship can be submitted by mail to the Community Foundation, 418 Spring Street, Jamestown, or online with a credit card by visiting crcfonline.org.