Fifty years ago, Jeffrey Smith graduated from Mattituck High School. And in the nearly two decades that followed, he served his community as a member of the district’s Board of Education.
Now, a few months after his death at age 69, Mr. Smith’s educational legacy will continue in the form of a scholarship a group of former classmates have established in his name.
The Classmates of 1966 in Memory of Jeffrey S. Smith Scholarship will be awarded to a student in each graduating class who is interested in furthering their education in the trades, school officials said.
A $1,625 donation that was accepted by the school board last week will fund the scholarship through 2021.
“He was just such an integral part of the district for so many years,” said Board of Education president Laura Jens-Smith. “He was so supportive of the kids in the district and I think this is such a good way to honor his memory.”
Superintendent Anne Smith said she recently received “a very sweet letter” from members of the Class of 1966 indicating they had started a collection in Mr. Smith’s memory. She said the scholarship was established in a way that allows people to continue to contribute to it, meaning it should still be funded after the initial donation runs out.
Mr. Smith, who died in August and resigned from the Mattituck school board when he moved to Florida last year, spent 22 years as a corrections sergeant in Riverhead for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. Before that, he served in the U.S. Army in 1967, achieving the rank of private. A 46-year member of the Cutchogue Fire Department, he was a Suffolk County BOCES board member for 20 years and a 15-year member of the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Park District, where he served as chairman. He was also a fourth-degree knight with Knights of Columbus.