About Peter Cernansky Memorial Fund
Peter Cernansky Memorial Fund Inc. (PCMFund) was created in the Fall of 2013. PCMFund has administered net proceeds payments related to the past seven (2013-2019) and postponed June 23rd, 2020 8th Memorial Golf Tournament, Dinner & Auction (Event). PCMFund has been the sponsoring legal entity for the Event continuously. Since 2019 and subsequently, PCMFund shares over 50% of the net proceeds of the Event with Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) directly. In addition, AthLife Foundation is a major recipient of Fund grants since Fund and Event inception. SPEF and AthLife Foundation have worked cooperatively together in administering and overseeing the programs that PCMFund initially seeded from past Events. In addition, PCMFund provides grants to Stamford Youth Foundation and Stamford Boys & Girls Club.
PCMFund mission is to fund or provide programs that help all kids transition from adolescence into adulthood. Primary emphasis is maintaining each student’s academic and personal development engagement via extracurricular activities and sports.
The point is not to do so negatively (whereby access to an activity or sport is denied due to poor academic or behavioral performance) but more positively where the activity or sport holds the student’s focus conveying the need for energy and diligence to more mundane tasks such as the ‘drudgery’ of homework or practice. Today’s technologically and social media stimulated youth may be ‘unnaturally’ distracted at a key point in their lives as they adapt to levels of social awareness not present in younger ages, such as handling peer pressure, reconciling seeming adult hypocrisy (do as I say not as I do), access to intoxicants, and cultural messages which contradict what they grew up with in primary and middle school grades.
The objective is to help ‘carry them’ through the stormy terrain of adolescence via focused program efforts to enable them to ultimately become aware of their potential, abilities, and characteristics. Particular emphasis is directed to grades nine & ten with future efforts focused additionally on 8th grade as the prelude to high school. Ancillary focus is given to grades eleven and twelve where their work/study habits are reinforced as their individual personalities and characters flesh out. The later grades increasingly focus on how those younger look to the 'older participants' examples & role models, what it entails to ‘lead’, to mentor those younger than themselves and the importance of daily/weekly work/accomplishment habits. Later grades should become aware of their leadership roles as mentors and role-models for kids immediately following them in the manner of older brothers and sisters.
Initially, high school football may appear to be overly highlighted by PCMFund but that is the sentimental starting point. High school football is a unique ‘program’ sport which covers a larger (than a typical sport) participation base stretching over a wide societal demographic. As a year-round ‘program’ sport, high school football requires long-term effort, almost daily attention, development of work habits, discipline, sustained involvement, cooperation and teamwork, leadership development, personality control and more so that ‘building blocks of success’ permit competitive engagement with other schools (peers).
Our Program Development Mission
PCMFund has been created with the singular focus of developing counseling, tutoring and development programs, including academic support/assistance, for students ranging from 7th through 12th grade to facilitate the transition into high school and beyond, whether college or adult life. Growth and accomplishment will determine whether this expands into college years, say community college, eventually. The Mission includes, but is not limited to:
- academic counseling programs for grade school, middle school, or high school students and/or student athletes;
- programs for students involved with grade school, middle school, or high school related or authorized extracurricular activities;
- programs to train student athletes in their specific sport for proper training, injury prevention, decision-making, leadership, and coordination of their academic pursuits;
- programs to assist young people to make the transition into adult life
Funding Focal Points
- Use of sports or extracurricular activities as a means to acquire and maintain candidate student/youth attention and adherence
- Particular emphasis and attention to executive functions and study skills/habits development
- Explore further partnering possibilities with SPEF on the mentoring and youth development fronts (middle schools and further high school initiatives) locally in Stamford, CT.
- Explore further partnering possibilities at program adaptation with AthLife Foundation for broader regional (e.g., increased CT state presence- seeding new AthLife model programs at Hillhouse HS in New Haven and Hamden HS) or national purposes (e.g., Bay Area California middle & high school initiatives, central Florida high school new program, Queens or Westchester county, NYS new initiatives) and discussed northern Ohio possibilities.
- Focus on teaching young athletes of all sports (basketball point guards, centers in hockey, lacrosse) who must assess and decide best play-action determinations per ‘reads’ and game situation and flow. Help them overcome pressure, nerves, anxiety, better confidence, calmness for focus, OODA loop dynamics (observe, orient, decide, act) – themselves and opponents, simplicity of safest executions, etc.). This is a contingent long-term objective but underscores the importance of being an attentive and good student of what they wish to pursue.
- contribute observation and research input on youth & program development
- expand to other sports and extracurricular activities where quality of iterative decision-making is key such as debate, rhetoric, & drama.
PurplePACT Westhill HS
KnightLife Stamford HS
Historical Background & Near-Term Focus
- In 2019/2020 PCMFund has helped seed AthLife Foundation program expansion efforts in CT to New Have (HillhouseHS in honor of retired Judge John A. Keyes) and Hamden HS. In both of these new CT seeding efforts, the coaches and educators are historically familiar with the effectiveness of the prior ‘Play It Smart’ programs, an important factor.
Board of Directors
Camille Figluizzi, Robert Goldsmith, M.D., David Tate, Sharon L. Burley, Charles J. Cernansky
Sponsors – Past & Present