When Mike Doetsch ‘82 was looking for the first athlete to award a West End Alumni Fund scholarship to, he decided to look back home to Williston. Jayden Clerveaux ’23 was waiting there to meet the moment.
Clerveaux, who excelled as a postgraduate on the football turf at Sawyer Field, was honored with the West End Alumni Fund scholarship this past summer, the culmination of a process that began the previous fall—for Clerveaux, at least. For Doetsch, the initial scholarship check marked a significant moment for his scholarship group.
Founded by a group of Trinity College football alumni in September 2020, the West End Alumni Fund (WEAF) aims to give “hard working high school student-athletes the opportunity to pursue their passion of collegiate sports.” Quite simply, the Fund wants to help bridge the gap between a desire to go to college, and the economic realities of attending. “Frankly, college is ridiculously expensive, so if we can help a little bit, that’s what we want to do,” said Doetsch, who works in Manhattan as a Senior Vice President for Cresa, an international commercial real estate firm.
Doetsch initially reached out to Tom Beaton, Williston’s football coach, looking for a potential candidate. Beaton honed in on Clerveaux immediately. “He’s a great player, but I also thought of his character—who he is as a person stands out big time,” Beaton said of Clerveaux. “There’s not a nicer kid on this campus.”
Clerveaux, who will play football at the College of the Holy Cross, then had to apply for the scholarship. In the spring, he was “stoked” to get the call that he had won. “That meant so much, knowing that I won it,” Clerveaux said. “I was blessed to receive the scholarship.” He’s excited to be able to carry on his dedication to football at Holy Cross. In his PG year, Clerveaux rushed for 1,263 yards and 18 touchdowns as the Wildcats went 7-2.
Football talents alone, though, aren’t what set Clerveaux apart. It’s also why WEAF looked to Williston when searching for a candidate—to find a student-athlete that demonstrates promise on the field of play, in the classroom, and as a leader. “Williston changed the direction of my life for sure,” Doetsch said. “I said ‘we’re going to go back to the schools that we went to.’ It goes to the character. It’s the kids, you know the people there, and you know the standards that Williston has.”
In addition to Doetsch, the WEAF also has another Williston connection in Max Chipouras ‘15.
Clerveaux had heard coming in to Williston about the strength of the alumni network. Seeing it in action was completely different. “[Alumni] are people that can always help if you ever need anything. They’re always in your corner,” Clerveaux said. That also extends to the coaching staff of Beaton’s program. “Those coaches, I’ll be forever grateful for what they not only did for me as a football player, but as a person.”
For a student-athlete that had some reservations about doing a postgraduate year, Clerveaux looks back with fondness on his time on campus. “The transition for a public school to a private school helped me a lot,” Clerveaux said. “I’ll rave about it to the end of time that the year alone helped me become a better socializer better than anything. I stand by that.”
The connection between Clerveaux and WEAF won’t end with the scholarship check. According to Doetsch, the WEAF wants to continue following Clerveaux’s journey and provide him with another network of support. This fall, though, they’re just excited to see their first recipient suit up in Purple and White to represent Holy Cross—on the field, and off of it. Learn more about the WEAF here.