In 1970, Edna Mae Soper, an elementary principal, saw a need for encouraging students in the Charter Oak Unified School District to dream beyond the goal of high school graduation and a job. Barbara Burkey, an elementary school teacher, had already established a $100 scholarship for a COHS student in memory of her husband. These two individuals with other concerned school employees and community members formed the CHARTER OAK COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION in 1970 and awarded their first $100 scholarship that year.
The brainchild of these two ladies has grown into today’s sturdy oak, an organization that awarded over $40,000 in scholarships to 58 students and former graduates in 2015. The community members and school employees who donated their dollar bills for a piece of candy from a 1 pound box of See’s candies to pay the Foundation’s expenses would be astounded to behold today’s Foundation that includes 41 Continuing Name Scholarships and five annual one time awards.