Scholarship Honors a Mother’s Love of Music

Catherine TrokaFor Catherine Troka ’93, music and education were lifelong passions.

“Music and education were such a big part of my mother’s life,” said Maria Tait, Catherine's daughter. “They were her joy in life.”

When she passed away in 2017, Catherine’s will read that she wished for money from her estate to go to charity, but did not say where or how. Her daughters, Ann Vuletich and Maria, wanted to honor their mother’s wish, and giving to student scholarships at Sacramento State to honor their mother’s memory “just made sense.”

The family established the Vuletich Troka Piano Trio Scholarship to provide scholarships for piano students in the college’s school of music.

Catherine loved music and she played piano throughout her life. She started out studying music at the College of the Pacific in Stockton. Catherine then transferred to San Jose State to study education and became an elementary school teacher. She married, raised a family and built a life in Rocklin. She had a studio at her home where she taught piano to hundreds of children and she played the organ at her church for many years.

Later in her career, she taught students with learning disabilities. Upon her retirement from Roseville High School, she completed a master’s degree in education from Sacramento State. A fierce advocate for education, she went on to champion adult literacy, teaching many adults throughout the region to read.

The Vuletich Troka Piano Trio Scholarship honors Catherine’s life and devotion to music and education.

“We hope the scholarship provides opportunities for students to pursue their passion for music,” said Ann. “We want it to be a living memorial to the remarkable life that my mother led.”

The Vuletich Troka Piano Trio is the first ensemble scholarship within the school of music. The inaugural scholarship recipients made their debut opening for the school of music’s annual gala concert, Mosaic, in 2020.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Ann and her husband and Sacramento State professor Thomas Clark have included a future gift to the Vuletich Troka Piano Trio Scholarship in their estate plans. For Ann, there’s more to life than simply passing everything on to one’s children. She also wants to have a public impact.

By leaving the scholarship in their will, she and her husband continue the family legacy of giving to the larger community.

Ann inherited her mother’s Yamaha grand piano. She plans to host piano recitals in her East Sacramento home, inviting the scholarship recipients to perform for music lovers and Sacramento State supporters.

“It’s just one more way I can carry on my mother’s history and her love for music,” Ann said.

You, too, can create a meaningful legacy that impacts future generations of Sacramento State students. Contact Lora L. Hollingsworth at (916) 278-6115 or lora.hollingsworth@csus.edu to learn more about the many gift options available.