On the 20th anniversary of New Haven Shamrocks’ 1997 historic basketball state championship, the team, coaching staff, managers, family and friends gathered in Columbia March 11, 2017, to remember the event during half time of the Class 1A championship game.

During the meal, after the team’s recognition, Coach Ray Steinhoff gave one of his memorable talks, said Zach Zuroweste, NHHS Class of 1997.

Steinhoff looked around at his team and challenged players to remember their roots, give back to their community and take care of the school where they learned so much more than just academic achievement. 

Coach’s “talk” sat in the back of Zuroweste’s mind for the next year and weighed heavily as he recalled countless blessings.

“After much discussion with classmates, peers and other friends, we came up with a way to give back,” said Zuroweste.

“Philanthropy is a wonderful gift for both the giver and the receiver,” he said. “It allows the giver to help a cause which is important to them. It gives the recipient the means to do something that may have not been achievable without the funds given.

“It helps all involved enjoy pride in the works accomplished to recognize the people involved,” he added.

In January 2018, Top Gun Storage Solutions LLC (TGSS) was formed with several goals.

The first goal and the one that matters the most is giving back to the community and beginning a scholarship for New Haven High School.

“Coach Steinhoff was the person we wanted to name this scholarship after because of his challenge,” Zuroweste said.

“While discussing the specifics with coach, he was excited to be a part of this newly forming scholarship,” he said, “but he challenged us even further and requested we use a more inclusive name for our scholarship.”

As Coach Steinhoff always has done, he wants to ensure recognition is given to New Haven’s many great educators as they have all been involved in creating New Haven’s “Tradition of Excellence.”

“After about a minute of reflection, we realized coach’s sage counsel was right — again,” Zuroweste said. “This scholarship represents all of the amazing faculty at New Haven High School during my tenure as well as the many years before and after 1993-1997.

So many times, successful people go on to do great things, but the people who started them down the path are not necessarily acknowledged or remembered for the key influences they had building the strong base for that success, Zuroweste said.

“This scholarship is a way to ensure our teachers and administrators at New Haven will be appropriately recognized for challenging us to be better than we thought we could be, take care of others, work as a team, and above all, give back,” he said.

Top Gun Storage Solutions LLC will present its first Tradition of Excellence Challenge Scholarship for STEM and Business.

“This scholarship is intended to grow each year through additional donations from TGSS and alternate friendly “Challenge” donations to other successful local businesses/individuals/alumni with the intent of investing greater amounts into our future leaders from New Haven High School,” Zuroweste said.

“The funds for this challenge will be used 100 percent for funding future scholarships at New Haven High School and will be held in a protected account with Citizens Bank of New Haven,” he noted. “In honor of New Haven’s amazing faculty and following with their direction over the years, we hope to work as a team with other entities to make this scholarship blossom for many generations to come.”