Last month, Brewster Students Against Cancer (BSAC) presented the Brewster Public Library with a check for $400 in memory of Stefani Gosselink who lost her battle with ovarian cancer last November.
Gosselink was a piano teacher in the Brewster community for more than 40 years. She also created the children’s room at the Brewster Public library, a project that was very near and dear to her heart. Isabella Ostojic, a member of BSAC and a student of Gosselink’s, asked the club to consider making a donation to the library in her name.
In an article for Bear Facts, Ostojic wrote that “Stefani Gosselink was an extraordinary human being. She saw the world in a way that no one else did. If you gave her a problem and told her she had the week to figure it out, she would come back to you in two days with the correct answer. She was diligent, organized, and persistent. Once she set her mind to something, there was no way to deter her.”
BSAC thought it would be fitting to demonstrate their civic responsibility in alignment with the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan by donating funds in honor of someone who was an example of civic responsibility and perseverance to everyone who knew her.
In attendance at the check presentation were Gosselink’s husband Robert, her son Peter, daughter-in-law Kyle, and Brewster Public Library Director Gina Lorezno. Ostojic along with another former student of Gosselink’s, RJ Frankenberry, and club advisor Michelle Villano also attended.
Robert told everyone about his wife’s dedication to Brewster Public Library for the last 30 years and how she converted a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting room into the children’s room, even working with a local artist on the furniture. The library, along with teaching, was incredibly important to Gosselink. In fact, when Robert retired, his wife convinced him to join the library board. Kyle and Peter are the President and Vice President of Friends of Brewster Library respectively.
“When Stef passed away, we asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be given to the Friends of Brewster Library,” Robert explained. “There’s more to come as we expand the library and these donations will be very, very much appreciated and well used. And once again, Stef’s got an impact on the community.“
“We’re going to start using those funds to beef up the children’s room, to do a lot more programs for them, figure out how best to work with the library to get kids more involved, and have more things for them to use,” Peter added. “It’s a little bit of a work in progress right now.”
The group also discussed how Gosselink’s passion for teaching touched the community.
“It was her life,” Peter explained.
“She was my mentor,” Frankenberry said. “She taught me so much.” He and Ostojic reminisced about recitals and how Gosselink had made them ornaments each year with a photo of them playing the piano. Gosselink also recorded her students’ performances each year so that they could hear themselves improve over time.
“She was a mom to everybody,” Kyle explained. “She taught and had all of this creative energy; she just wanted to make sure that everybody succeeded.“