For the past four years Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School principal and amateur musician Stephen Nixon has played a concert to raise money for the David Brand Scholarship fund, established in honor of the science teacher’s untimely passing.
After last year’s concert, Mr. Nixon had a brief but pleasant conversation with audience member Leigh Smith. They talked about Montclair, N.J., the city where Mr. Nixon attended college, and also Mrs. Smith’s hometown. “I sort of tell stories on stage, so I don’t know if I mentioned New Jersey or if it was because I have that charming Jersey accent,” Mr. Nixon joked.
Mrs. Smith also spoke of her late husband, Procter Smith, and how much they enjoyed the high school football games and science fairs on the Island.
Last week Mrs. Smith sent Mr. Nixon a letter with a $10,000 check enclosed, and a note explaining that she hoped the money would be used for an annual scholarship.
“I was floored,” Mr. Nixon told the regional high school committee on Monday. “It really took me by surprise.”
Though the details of the scholarship have not yet been decided, Mrs. Smith said she hoped the scholarship would be awarded to a football player — and possibly even include Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s interest in science fairs, as well.
“But I won’t say the football player needs to have been a good scientist as well,” Ms. Smith wrote.
Mr. Nixon said the guidance department will meet with Ms. Smith soon to decide the official requirements of the scholarship.
In other business, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss told members of the committee that enrollment is expected to increase slightly over the next five years. The high school currently has 682 enrolled students. According to a report from the New England School Development Council released this week, that number may rise to just above 700 students by 2018.
“The projection for next year is a slight decline of about 11 students,” said public schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss. “Then the enrollment will begin to increase slightly.”
The report is prepared using live birth and housing arrangement data provided to the council.
“It’s a good document for us to plan our budgets,” Mr. Weiss said.