On July 31, 2019, Frances Stonkus lost her courageous battle with Alzheimer's. Although the merciless disease took her mind and body from us, it has not, and cannot, take from us the lessons and love that she offered to those she cherished most.
In memory of Frances Borelli Stonkus, the family has established the Frances and Albie Stonkus (F.A.ST.) Foundation for Student-Athlete Development. Both devoted educators, Frannie's passion for the academic achievement of her students was both rivaled and complimented by Albie’s expertise in athletic performance. Beyond the academic and physical skill development, both Frannie and Albie modeled and promoted the personal qualities of character, optimism, effort, and compassion as being far more important than school and sport success.
The FAST Foundation will forever bind their gifts of working with student-athletes by funding programs to assist in the academic, athletic, and personal development of students nationwide. Additionally, a portion of all funds will help to establish annual scholarship/grant awards for deserving student-athletes who have demonstrated these ideals in pursuit of higher academic and athletic achievement.
Frances Stonkus loved her job, but teaching was more than just a promotion of her own education. Although the classes she taught were listed as Biology, she was really focused on teaching her students what it means to care about one another, to believe in yourself, to never accept limitations, and to make as many positive memories as possible each and every day at school. Her spirit for education and her genuine care for her students will continue to be captured through school-based programming offered by the FAST Foundation.
A devoted mother and educator, "Frannie" was always quick to teach of right vs. wrong, promote the importance of an education, and to facilitate learning through innovative and enjoyable methods. The FAST Foundation offers student support in the areas of motivation, stress management, career exploration, confidence, healthy behaviors, learning optimization, test-taking skills, and more.
In recognizing the power of actual learning (rather than merely acquiring grades), Frannie's advice for us all is that we can accomplish everything that we want to do in life through learning.
Albert Stonkus' legend as an athlete can only be topped by his reputation as a role-model. In dedicating his career to physical education and coaching, he was able to blend his instruction in physical activity and sport with the promotion of personal values such as character, sportsmanship, honor, hard work, and fair play. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have him as a teacher, coach, colleague, and/or friend, can easily attest to what makes him so unique, and can certainly understand the importance of sharing his influence with generations to come.
For those who have yet to meet "Albie," he could best be described through his school administration's tribute to him in his high school yearbook: "Albie has made a proud record for himself in every activity of his high school career. He is known and respected as an outstanding athlete, a capable school leader, an honor student, and a wonderful person. His fine sportsmanship and tremendous athletic ability have been a great credit to our school. This handsome senior boy, with his fine character, is bound to achieve success in life. We'll always be proud of you, Albie."
Over 60 years have passed since this writing, yet the words could not have been proven to be more true, or more evident of why those values must continue to be shared with the student-athletes of today and tomorrow. In recognizing the cognitive, social, and vocational benefits of physical activity and sport competition, Albie's advice for us all is that we can learn the most important lessons in life through doing.
The FAST Foundation sponsors select presentations and programs offered by the 6S Institute each year.
The FAST Foundation contributes partial or full payment towards personal support offered by the 6S Institute for selected student-athletes who otherwise would not be able to access services.
The FAST Foundation awards yearly monetary scholarships for selected student-athletes who have exhibited and promoted the FAST ideals in their schools and on their teams.
Your support and contributions will enable us to continue to support student-athletes for years to come. Thank you!