1974 Graduate Tonawanda High School

Jim Harszlak Foundation Scholarship to be awarded to North Tonawanda High School, Tonawanda High School Graduates and to Bethesda Youth Group Seniors.

Jim Harszlak was a 1974 Graduate of Tonawanda High School and died of 4th Stage Colon Cancer on September 12, 2012.  To continue his legacy of giving back the Jim Harszlak Foundation was formed.  Jim was a man with little financial means, but helped out people with cancer, people with financial struggles and any cause to help children.  The Jim Harszlak Foundation will be giving a scholarships to  to help  graduates achieve their dream  of a college education.

Jim also helped others with his words and loved to write poems.  He wrote a wedding poem to his wife and prior to his death his niece and her friend put this to music so he could give his wife the song, “For Sue”.

Jim loved music and in his high school days, was a follower of the Grateful Dead and local bands in the area.  The love for music continued in his adulthood to going to Jazz concerts, all the local free shows, and loved Christian music and went to Kingdom Bound.

We are gearing our scholarship to students involved in the arts:  Music, Band, Art, and Theatre and also to all seniors if they would like to submit a poem or song they wrote or write one for this scholarship.

Jim Harszlak 2017 Scholarship Recipients 

North Tonawanda High School : Taylor Grosskopf, Amanda Holler, Autumn Steele

Taylor Grosskopf

Chorus and Drama club , VP of Tri M National Music Honor society, Honor roll for 4 years and member of NSHSS.  Community service breast cancer walk and fundraisers-school orientation.

Future Plans:  Psychology major with minor in Music

Autumn Steele

Tri-M Music honor society, Community Health Alliance of NT, Student council president, Niagara County Youth court and Drama Club.  Community service:  Donate Life, SADD.

Future Plans:  English Teacher Gr 9-12 and Special Education

Amanda Holler

Tri-M, Chorus, National Honor Society, Cheerleading Competition and team. Community Service: Harzfest volunteer 5 years, Friends of Night people and Ellies Angels

Future Plans:  Fashion Merchandising  SUNY Oneonta

Tonawanda High School:  Maria Armenia, Eric Bauman, Cailey Ann Braun, Cameron Harszlak 

Bethesda Church Scholarship: Stacy Williams -2017 THS Graduate


Maria Armenia

Pit Band for Musicals, National Honor Society –works at Boys & Girls Club Giving back-Kids Fishing Derby, Golden Warrior picnic, Special Olympics Christmas for Kids

College for Occupational Therapy

Eric Bauman

Works at Squires, National Honor Society, Youth Court –Soccer ACE Award for Attitude, Character and Energy

College:   Business Finance to be Financial Advisor

Cailey Ann Braun

Theatre and Musicals –works at Crazy Jakes

College majoring in Communication and minor in Journaling with plans to get Master’s degree in Investigative Journalism

Cameron Harszlak

College Buffalo State

Stacy Williams

Bethesda Youth Group –Scholarship (mine and Jim’s church)

College:  Childhood Education


JIm Harszlak 2016 Scholarship Recipients

North Tonawanda High School:  Kayla Seeley & Joshua Roberts


Kayla Seeley : Chorus including Caberet and Concerts, National Technical Honor Society, Teaching Sunday School Poem on wanting to be Nurse since she was 6 . Future plans are to attend NCCC for RN.

Joshua Roberts: Give back to community as volunteer for Harzfest-Jim Harszlak Foundation last 4 years, also Red Cross Blood Drive for Stella Usiak –Poem on making plans for Welding Degree!  Future Plans :  NCCC for AAS in Welding .

Tonawanda High School and Bethesda Scholarship:  Julia Ruch


Julia Ruch:  Involved with Christmas for Kids, Golden warrior picnic, volunteered for 2 local fundraisers-Red for Jed an Hugs for Hughes as well as volunteer for VBS and Magdalene project and Mission trip to Mexico. Member of the National Honor Society She has won numerous Art Awards and Producer Award for school presentation of Peter Pan. She is attending Daemen College for Physician Assistant Degree Program.



Jim Harszlak 2015 Scholarship Recipients

IMG_Michael Gertis 2015
Member of THS Concert Chorale, President of THS Chorus Club, Cast in 3 musicals, VP of National Honor Society.  Member of Bethesda Youth Group, Drama and Worship Teams.  He has given back to the community and beyond by mission trips, Christmas for kids and Kids Escaping Drugs.



Member of Chorale and Wind Ensemble.  Awarded Kenny Award for Actor in Adam’s Family Musical.  Member of National Honor Society, Bethesda Youth Group and Drama Team.  He has given back to the community volunteering at VBS and Niagara Falls Mission Trips.



Recipient of the Jim Harszlak Fifth Quarter Club Player of the Game 2014.  Member of THS Football Team.  He gives back to the community by volunteering with Tonawanda Football Clinic, Braves WNY AAU Basketball teams, and helped with fundraiser for a coach with cancer.


justin pope

Garret is member of National Honor Society, member of THS Youth Board, St. Marks Youth group.  He gives back to the community by being involved with many community organizations including Kids Escaping Drugs and has been volunteering with his family at HARZFEST for the last 3 years.

Jim Harszlak 2014 Scholarship Recipients

Chris Freer 2014 Scholarship Winner

Christopher Freer

He is member of the National Honor Society and is been a scholar athlete participating in soccer, bowling and tennis.

His community service is Christmas for kids, helping with rides and shoveling for neighbors.

Wrote this poem that reminded board of Jim:

Time may be changing

But no one said you have to

You may be young

But no one said you weren’t strong

You may be different

But no one knows the true you.

May you follow your heart

And let your dreams guide you.

May you always be courageous

Stand Upright and be tall

May you have a strong foundation

When the wind is blowing strong.

For the times they are a changing’

Never let a second pass

Brianna 2014 Scholarship Winner

 Brianna Horn

She is member of Concert Chorale and her act of kindness was when she was in 5th grade and was part of fundraiser for a child with cancer. She also helps with the Fall Festival in Tonawanda.

Rachel Caltagirone:

She has been member of Concert Chorale for 4 years and his used her talents to sing to the elderly during the Christmas season, and she has volunteered for the Fall Festival and UNYTS.

Bethesda Youth Group Senior:  Kaleb Colosimo

Here is  Kaleb poem


Jim Harszlak Foundation 2013 Scholarship Recipients:  Tonawanda High School


Riley Gardner

He is a quality student member of National Honor Society involved in many community service activities including Harzfest 2013 volunteer.  He is active in St Mark’s Lutheran Youth group and involved in school sports.

He wrote this poem:

Small Towns

Everyone knows everyone

Everyone helps each other

Everyone works together

Farm towns and small suburbs

Quiet Little Towns

Most who leave want to go back

Don’t forget where you came from

Small Towns

Jacob Thurston

Jacob Thurston

 Member of the National Honor Society.  Band member throughout school.  Plays bass for jazz band and wind ensemble.  Completed 2  NYSMSSA Jazz Solos in competition.  Is member of own band.  Volunteered at GHH Memorial Fund Pigroast, Butterson Bash and many community service events.


2013 Bethesda Church Youth Group Scholarships

This year we gave out two scholarships of $250 each to Daniel Gertis and Grace MacKay.  Jim loved the youth group and admired what they were doing in the church.  Here are some pictures  from Youth Day Service

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To get more information on Jim and to see his poem that he wrote visit the foundation’s website:

The song and poem can be found on the Memorial Page.

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