Charleroi Grads Sending SOS to Perpetuate Alumni Web Site

Article excerpt

A core group of graduates has established a goal to save the popular Web site devoted to serving alumni of Charleroi Area High School.

To that end, they are seeking the help of all CAHS alumni.

"We are attempting to contact both graduates already registered on the Web site as well as those yet to do so," said George Braunegg (Class of 1975), who conceived the plan.

"At this point our primary goal is to determine the feasibility of creating an endowed source of funding that would permit us to refresh the look and feel of the Web site and maintain it in perpetuity."

Joining Braunegg, who lives in Los Angeles, as a sort of exploratory committee to work toward that goal are Sheri Monack, Mon Valley attorney Blane Black, Vicki Briggs, Bob Arthurs, Tim Chappell and Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Mascara.

Their goal, Braunegg said, is to secure "between $15,000 and $20,000 to endow" the Web site's ongoing out-of-pocket operational costs.

Braunegg was quick to point out that because Mascara is an elected judge, he must follow the Code of Judicial Conduct. Accordingly, he is forbidden by the Judicial Canons to solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization. He is, however, permitted to serve as a "non-legal adviser" for such organizations as long as they are not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members.

"I was delighted Mark agreed to help us out," Braunegg said. "We're grateful that Mark was willing to donate his time, experience and expertise to the establishment of the exploratory committee, but he will not be engaged in fundraising of any kind."

Braunegg, a certified public accountant and founder of a national management consulting firm focusing on the financial services industry, also expressed "deep appreciation" to Sheri Monack for assuming coordination of the Web site,

Monack, also a 1975 CAHS graduate, lives in Atlanta and works as a production artist, freelance designer and fundraiser.

"Sheri's terrific, not only has she selflessly agreed to serve as Web administrator, she has also already secured volunteer Web developers to help the look and feel of the site on a fully pro bono basis," Braunegg said.

The late Deborah Jeane Palfrey transferred responsibility and ownership of the Web site to Monack the day before her death on May 1 in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Palfrey, a member of the Charleroi Area High School Class of 1974, launched the Web site on Oct. 18, 2002 with only 10 graduates listed. One year later, more than 1,500 graduates had submitted updated biographies, pictures and other information.

"Regardless of your point of view regarding her career choices, Jeane Palfrey did Charleroi a tremendous service by creating this Web site," Braunegg said. "She developed the site herself from scratch. She funded and tirelessly promoted it, devoting countless hours to maintaining the myriad material contributed by alumni and others. Our goal is to preserve this incredibly valuable community resource in perpetuity.

"Until this moment, I had never really thought of it like this, but in a way it will serve as a kind of a lasting legacy to a positive aspect of Jeane's life, a legacy that will benefit Charleroi for generations to come."

Monack offered similar sentiments.

"(The Web site) is a gift to all, to anyone who has viewed it even once," she said. "Our goal, through transition of the site, is to keep it up to date as we rework some sections and transfer it to new servers. To this end, we are asking for the ongoing support of all Charleroi High graduates to keep this venture as a valuable resource for all who have passed through the halls of CHS."

Monack has already introduced some changes on the home page of the Web site, which features a colorful logo of the school's longtime Cougar mascot. …