The James “Zirk” Zirkelbach Scholarship is the latest to be added to The Partnership for Educational Excellence’s coffers. It was established by “Zirk” Zirkelbach’s nine children to honor his accomplishments in law enforcement in Macoupin County. They describe him and his wife Mary as “proud” and “pretty much speechless” when they told him of their action.
Perhaps best known as sheriff of Macoupin County from 1990-1998, he was previously Chief Investigator for Macoupin County. He also served on the Macoupin County Board for many years; was instrumental in establishing Macoupin and Montgomery County Crime Stoppers; and was active in the statewide Sheriff’s Association. His children include married daughters Tracy Werner, Joan Cain, and Kimberly Burns. His sons are Robert, Dennis, James, Mark, Brian, and Bradley Zirkelbach.
“We are thrilled at the exemplary generosity of Zirk’s children,” says John Fassero, Jr., president and founding member of The Partnership in 1992. “It’s quite moving that they wanted him to enjoy this honor and to learn every year the name of the young person assisted by their generosity.”
The Zirkelbach scholarship is the first of several new awards established during its 25th anniversary year. Since 1992 the 501(c)3 educational foundation has remembered or honored more than 70 individuals or groups with scholarships. Awards will be made this year from among 30 extant scholarships.
In 2018 for the third year, The Partnership will increase its awards. While established scholarships will remain at $500, The Partnership will match each award to bring the total to $1,000. The funds for the match will come from The Partnership’s 25th anniversary fund drive.
“We are hopeful that our goal of raising $25,000 for 2018 and future matches will be met before the end of the school year,” he says. “The enthusiasm and generosity of new and long-time supporters continues to amaze and gratify us. It’s very humbling to think that every dollar we’ve passed on to classroom and graduates has been entrusted to us by literally thousands of alums, local business and professional people, and like-minded organizations.”