Scarsdale Bowl Recipients BK Munguia and Jon Mark Honored at Private Reception
- Monday, 28 September 2020 20:53
- Last Updated: Monday, 28 September 2020 21:06
- Published: Monday, 28 September 2020 20:53
- Joanne Wallenstein
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Though it was not the celebration that was originally planned to recognize the 2020 recipients of the Scarsdale Bowl, a warm and unique gathering was held on Thursday night September 24 to finally bestow the coveted bowl on this year’s honorees, husband and wife Jon Mark and BK Munguia.
The two were originally scheduled to be honored at the 77th annual Bowl celebration on April 22 but larger forces prevailed and prevented the traditional affair. The Scarsdale Bowl Committee was deep into the planning of a reimagined Bowl Dinner, scheduled for the first time at Brae Burn Country Club, when the COVID crisis hit, causing the delay of the dinner. Hopeful that the virus would loosen its hold on New York by the fall, the Bowl Committee rescheduled the dinner for September, only to find that it was still impossible to gather.
Rather than put off the celebration until April 2021, the Bow Committee opted to hold a small gathering in the backyard of the home of Scarsdale Foundation President Randy Guggenheimer on Thursday September 24. They invited the members of the foundation, members of the bowl committee, the mayor, representatives of the board of education and the board of trustees and a few others to witness the ceremony and cheer two very deserving honorees. In accordance with COVID guidelines, chairs were set up six feet apart, attendants were masked and snacks were distributed in individually wrapped boxes.
Scarsdale Bowl Chair Nancy Michaels led the proceedings and explained “Nothing about the past six months was expected – The Covid pandemic, Hurricane Isiais and power failures, forest fires out west, and needing to quarantine here in New York. We were off to an amazing start before everything went bonkers: we changed venues to Brae Burn Country Club, raised over $5,000 from the Honor Roll alone, honoring more than 300 community volunteers, secured 11 table hosts and about $25,000 in corporate sponsors, introduced a Bowl Theme of Shine on Scarsdale, and sent out a reformatted, bright, colorful invitation to a much expanded mailing list. Imagine how far we would have gone if things had gone as planned! What is the saying- “man plans, and God laughs?”
Scarsdale Foundation President Randy Guggenheimer thanked the members of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee who planned the dinner and the members of the Scarsdale Foundation, who raises and distribute scholarship funds to Scarsdale students in their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. About Jon and BK, Randy said, “Both Jon and BK show us how to live the Scarsdale motto “non sibi” and I am proud to call them friends.”
In her remarks, Munguia said, “We all know what the corona virus has taken away from us–personally, as a community, as a nation. But it has also given us an opportunity to reassess what is important in our lives, our community and our nation. All around us, we have witnessed sacrifice, bravery and resilience in our children, our neighbors and complete strangers. While cancelling the 2020 Scarsdale Bowl dinner, twice, pales in comparison to the many life cycle events that were affected this year, your desire to honor Jon and me with tonight’s celebration has touched us very deeply. Each of you represent the selflessness of the Scarsdale community we have witnessed over and over again.”
Mark gave more lengthy remarks, saying” BK and I are honored to be recognized by the Scarsdale Bowl Committee. It is not why we volunteered in Scarsdale, but it is deeply moving to be recognized so publicly by our community.
We are here tonight for at least two reasons. One is to acknowledge the robust commitment to volunteerism in our community. That is the historic purpose of this annual celebration – and it is a laudable reason to bring our community together. The second reason is to provide some financial support to those in our community who could use help in following through on their college educational goals, and to support the community organizations and individual civic projects in the Village that play a part in supporting those goals. That charitable purpose has long been an important mission of The Scarsdale Foundation, but in past years it has not been explicitly linked to the Scarsdale Bowl dinner. This year the Bowl Committee decided to make that link – and why not? However, I will save my remarks on that objective for our larger gathering next April since our group tonight is comprised solely of those already fully vested in that mission.
Therefore, as to the first of the two reasons for this gathering I would like to say that while BK and I happen to be standing before you this evening, tonight is equally about all of you who volunteer in myriad ways in tasks that matter to the Village of Scarsdale. The mere existence of the annual Scarsdale Bowl award speaks volumes about what we value. It is true that Scarsdale is distinguished economically, but we are so much more than fine homes and beautiful surroundings. First and foremost, we value education and strive to provide the best for our children. The high quality of our schools is what attracted Ruth and Sandor Mark to Scarsdale in 1951 – and the same was true for BK and me in 1992 – more than four decades later. It continues to be true today, even as the School District struggles mightily with the large scale social and economic disruption brought on by the pandemic. What comes next on the list of our community’s priorities can be debated, but I believe volunteerism on the part of residents is an appropriate candidate as a close second. The fact that an award, and one night a year, has been set aside to honor volunteers – each year for 77 years, even in the face of our global health crisis – supports my claim.
So what does volunteering in Scarsdale look like? Well, the experience BK and I have had provides some instruction on this question. Volunteering can range from the task of planting gardens at an elementary school – to the task of sitting on the dais in Village Hall to address important decisions affecting our residents. Helping at our children’s schools, coaching our children’s sports teams and yes, addressing the School Board with respect to the school budget and, this year, re-opening plans are all in the spirit of volunteerism at its best. Volunteering means training to be a firefighter to lend a hand to the professionals in dire situations or joining an ambulance corps that has come to the rescue of Village residents for years. Volunteering means stepping up to contribute time, thought and energy to a community activity for the collective good.
The extent to which all of you here tonight have done some or many of these things is extraordinary – and distinguishes the community in which we live. It provides a means for sharing our values – our hopes and aspirations – for ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our village. On a good day – and most of them are, volunteering helps us work toward common goals and to knit us together as a community. Like any community, there are less good days as well. But on those days, our commitment to each other and an understanding that we are all in this together, helps us work through them. One only need to look around at this gathering together to honor a concept of giving back to conclude that Scarsdale is a very special place indeed.
BK and I thank you for this honor and for joining us this evening to celebrate volunteerism in Scarsdale.”
Though the evening was planned to shine the light on an extraordinary couple, they reflected that light back onto the attendees and the community at large. The two are exemplars of the spirit of volunteerism in Scarsdale, and their work improves the lives of everyone who is fortunate enough to live here.
Both recipients have lengthy volunteer resumes. Here are the details:
Jon Mark, grew up in Scarsdale and moved back to town to raise his own family. He served as a two-term Village trustee before becoming the Mayor in 2015. He chaired the Scarsdale Bowl Committee in 2014-2015. In 2017, following his service on the Village Board, Mark joined the board of trustees at Westchester Reform Temple, where he currently serves as a vice president. Concurrently, he was the president of the Scarsdale Forum. Additionally, Mark chaired the Citizens Nominating Committee and then co-chaired the Scarsdale Non-Partisan Party Campaign Committee. In the most recent election, scheduled for March, but delayed until September, Mark again co-chaired the Non-Partisan Party Campaign committee, and put in countless hours over the past six months to defend Scarsdale’s Non-Partisan system of governance.
BK Munguia has a long history of volunteering to serve Scarsdale. She began her volunteer work at Heathcote School, where she organized gardening projects in the atrium and around the school grounds. She served on the School Board’s Legislative Committee, and the School Board Nominating Committee and Administrative Committee. Munguia also served on the Scarsdale Bowl Committee. Munguia, a tireless advocate for youth and teens, has spent several decades volunteering for the Girl Scouts in various capacities. Munguia served on the Citizens Nominating Committee, the Procedure Committee, and chaired the Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Campaign Committee. She served on the Board of the Scarsdale Forum and as its president in 2011-2012. Most notably, Munguia was a board member and president of the now closed Scarsdale Teen Center, starting her service in 2001 and concluding with the closing of the center in 2018. She is also a trustee of The Scarsdale Foundation. Along with Jon, she worked tirelessly to support the non-partisan slate of candidates in the Village election on September 15, 2020.
Scarsdale Bowl Committee Members:
Farley Baker, Karen Ceske, John Clapp, Dorothy Finger, Melpo Fite, Dara Gruenberg, Bob Miller, Matt Martin, Dana Matsushita, Jeff Robelen, Andrea Seiden, Janice Starr, and Amber Yusuf.
Scarsdale Foundation Members:
Randy Guggenheimer, BK Munguia, Jane Veron, Tom Giodano, Marc Greenwald, Michelle Lichtenberg, Jennifer Love, Anne Lyons and Suzanne Seiden.