It is the mission of the Ravenna Community Educational Foundation to enhance the quality of education and educational opportunities and to generate and distribute financial and other resources for the benefit of the students and staff of the Ravenna Community Schools.

RCEF 2013 President's End of Year Report

April 8, 2014
From: Marty Heiss, 2013 President of Ravenna Community Educational Foundation
Subject: 2013 End of Year Report

1. The major event this year was again the “Taste of Ravenna.” This year’s event was the best attended and most profitable to date. We again had baskets donated by each Board member and from each school building. We also had a live auction: an overnight and dinner/breakfast package to the Shoreline Inn and Lakehouse Restaurant w/tickets to the Frauenthal Center; a sofa table designed and constructed by Ken Patterson and Ken Punter; a wall clock built and donated by Andy Engle (with boards from the old high school/middle school gym floor); two tickets to an MSU hockey game; and two tickets to an MSU basketball game. The bidding was fast and furious and Don Swanson did an outstanding auctioneering job. Moss Ridge put together the wine and beer samples again this year; however, we elected not to sell bottled wines- only to have tastings. Our alumnus of the year for 2013 was Sheri Jones Rocinski, a 1983 graduate of RHS. A very successful evening.
2. We again funded a number of grants: $1200 to the four DI teams going to national competition; $240 to Carrie Schoenborn for art department; $180 to Tammy Arbogast for iPad math app; $278 to Shari Luce for Bal-A-Vis-X program; and $300 to Clark Kantola for bobcat mounting in display case.
3. We contributed $2000 to the new Ravenna Library addition.
4. We also awarded two scholarships for 2013 ($1000 granted to Colton Kantola, $500 to Jessica Heiss).
5. We again participated in Dog Daze, handing out 1000 popsicles to many hot and thirsty attendees.
6. Officer elections were held and the officers for 2014 are: Marty Heiss, President; Denny Emery, Vice President; Jason Helsen, Treasurer, and Mike Pierson, Secretary. The remaining Board members are: Dee Swanson, Ken Patterson, Ken Punter, Karen Barker and Laura Cameron. Brandy Klapatch was removed from the Board in accordance with the Bylaws due to lack of participation.
7. Our fund balance continues to grow. We began 2013 with $92,613.34 and ended the year with $123,202.18. We are most grateful to our generous community (and to the healthy stock market) for this continuing growth and enabling the Foundation to continue supporting our schools, our staff and students with financial support in continuing academic excellence.
8. 2014 should be another great year. We will continue with our efforts and use our resources wisely in our continuance of helping Ravenna Public Schools prosper.

Respectfully submitted,

Marty Heiss

2013 RCEF Distinguished Alumna- Sheri Jones Rucinski

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation selected Sheri Jones Rucinski for the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. She will be the second recipient of the award as the RCEF honored retired judge Thomas H. Linck in 2011.
Sheri graduated from RHS in 1983 and was a top 25 graduate from MSU. She has been the news anchor for CBS affiliate channel 6 in Lansing for 24 years. Sheri has received local, state and national acclaim for her work with Crime Stoppers and won the 2013 Extraordinary Woman award for the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame; was the 2011-2012 Woman of the Year for the National Association of Professional Women and has won the Best in Category award for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters 9 times.

RCEF has Record Year in Donations and Giving Back to the Ravenna Community in 2013

RCEF was blessed with the ability to give over $5,000 in either grants or scholarships to students of Ravenna schools in 2013. We are now well over $1000,000 in fund equity and our giving to worthy students and projects in the Ravenna area should continue to grow with the outpouring of contributions we have received from those who so generously support Ravenna Schools. The Taste of Ravenna was overwhelmingly successful in 2013 and having Sheri Jones as our Distinguished Alumni was noteworthy. The amount collected/donated at the Taste of Ravenna and the number of attendees were both larger than any year previous. Go to Financial Archives on the website and view the RCEF Giving Report with Individual Donors from CFFMC. The file breaks out the individual contributions and also shows where the donations from RCEF went to in 2013.

Author Nancy Shaw Visits Beechnau Elementary

RCEF was fortunate to be able to provide resources that allowed an engaging author to visit with the students at Beechnau Elementary. Below is a report from Beechnau teacher Kelly Hecksel about the visit.......

"Last week we had the privilege of having Author Nancy Shaw visit at Beechnau. She gave three performances during the day for K-4 and a night performance too. We received a lot of positive feedback from her visit. She walked the students through the entire writing process from scribbles to final copies. The students loved to see the pictures of the big printing presses and how the book comes out on a huge sheet of paper that has to be folded. Nancy talked on Thursday night about things you can do to improve reading at home without any "gadgets" required. I had a fourth grader that doesn't like to write give me a page and a half letter he wrote to Nancy Shaw Thursday night! He wrote how she had inspired him! We were very pleased with her and the students and parents reactions after her performances. Attached are some pictures from the event. Thank you again for helping us fund the author visit".
Kelly Hecksel

2013 RCEF Leadership Board Chosen

The trustees of the Ravenna Community Educational Foundation elected the leadership board for 2013. Marty Heiss was chosen as the President, Denny Emery was elected as the vice-president, and Mike Pierson and Jason Helsen were re-elected to their positions of secretary and treasurer, respectively. We look forward to a great 2013 with this board at the helm.

3rd Annual Taste of Ravenna scheduled for Thursday 25 October 2012

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation (RCEF) has announced the details for the 3rd annual Taste of Ravenna. It will be held at the Moss Ridge Golf Course in Ravenna on Thursday, 25 October 2012 and will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. This on-going successful event will allow attendees to sample many varieties of wine and beer while also eating from the hearty food provided by The Cheese Lady, Ryke's Bakery and a chocolate fountain. It is sure to be a special event that will also culminate with the honoring of the 2nd annual Distinguished Alumni. There will be a silent auction for many unique items and in addition, a weekend get-a-way package and an antique factory cart will be auctioned off live. The prices remain the same at $25 for a single ticket and $45 for a pair of tickets. Tickets can be purchased from any RCEF member or at the door. You can also call 616.915.0485 with any questions.
The most important thing about this event is that all proceeds go to support Ravenna's Community Educational Foundation. The Foundation continues to award scholarships and grants while also building its fund balance to over $80,000. Please come out for an enjoyable evening while also helping the educational community of Ravenna.

RCEF 2012 Scholarship Awarded to Calvin VanderWal

Calvin Mark VanderWal, son of Mark and Janice VanderWal was the recipient of the Ravenna Community Foundation's 2012 $500 scholarship. Calvin will graduate co-valedictorian summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.99. Calvin is treasurer of the senior class and has been actively involved in student council, National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, track and field, football, and basketball. Calvin has received numerous Academic Excellence, Honor Roll, Student of the Month and Scholar Athlete awards. He was honored as a WZZM Meijer Scholar Athlete of the Week and served as Ravenna’s athletic honoree at the 2012 West Michigan Student Showcase. Calvin plans to attend the University of Michigan or Central Michigan University to study finance.

2011 Distinguished Alumnus- Thomas H. Linck: Class of 1950

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation has selected Thomas H. Linck to be the first recipient of their Distinguished Alumni Award. A presentation will be made at the annual Taste of Ravenna event October 20 at Moss Ridge Banquet Center.

Tom is a 1950 graduate of RHS, playing 4 years of basketball and baseball and when football was brought back in 1949 after being suspended during WWII, Tom was the quarterback on Ravenna’s 7-1 team that won the Newaygo County Athletic Association championship.

Tom attended college at St. Norbert’s in DePere, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Western Michigan University where he was class president his senior year. He was in ROTC during his college years and served in the U.S. Army after college. Tom then earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Marquette University law school, passing the bar exam in 1959. He returned to Muskegon and worked in the prosecutor’s office for 2 years before joining his older brother Leo’s law practice.

He married Pat Harrington in 1963 and the couple had 6 children. In 1975 he was appointed by Governor William Milliken to replace Probate Judge Cavanough, then ran unopposed for several terms. In 1989 he became president of the Michigan Probate Judges Association, only the 2nd judge from Muskegon to hold that post since Muskegon became a county in 1859. Tom also served on the State Judicial Council that advises the Michigan Supreme Court on operation of the lower court system. He held the title of Chief Judge of the Muskegon County Court system for many years. He retired in 1996 after 21 years in Probate Court.

Tom is an active member of the Serra Club, a Catholic men’s organization having served as president, is active in “Right to Life”, was a board member on the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and served as president. He was also chairman of the United Way, a Red Cross volunteer and a prolific blood donor.

He will receive the Distinguished Alumni award October 20 at the RCEF Taste of Ravenna event held at Moss Ridge Banquet Center, 6:30-9:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available from RCEF trustees Ken Punter, Marty Heiss, Denny Emery, Ken Patterson Sr., Brenda Jacobs, Dee Swanson, Michelle Straley, Brandy Bueche, Mike Pierson and Karen Barker.

2010-11 Grant Funds put to Great Use by RHS Middle School Teacher Mr. Clark Kantola

Below is the letter and funding request sent to RCEF by Mr. Kantola. Reading the information, you will appreciate how your funding of RCEF grants greatly enhanced the learning in this classroom. These are the projects that RCEF was created to fund!


Ravenna Community Foundation Grant Evaluation

Dear Ravenna Community Foundation,

Thank you so much for the grant money. Overall, I am very excited about what students were able to accomplish this year, and I am looking forward to how this can be incorporated at the start of next year.

The Block by Block was by far my biggest focus, and I think it was a huge success. It consumed the majority of the time of all the items purchased. Every student was required to create them. With the Block by Block, I created 16 folders that listed 60 different figures (along w/ hints for each figure) that students could create. Sixteen bags were set out on a lab table. Students were free to work on them at designated times (such as after hw was done, following a test, etc), and they had to sign them out. I invested a lot of time trying to make sure I could keep a record of who used what bag and folder in order that I could make sure pieces weren’t getting broken. I separated the group of 60 figures into three chunks. Students were first assigned #1-15, second #16-30, and third #31-60.

Depending on the designated time period, students were only required to create 6-9 figures, and anything over this was extra credit. In order to validate that they created one of the figures, they had to get two of their peers to check it and sign their names on a sheet. I found that creating these was initially very difficult, even for many of the students who regularly earned good grades in math. I was hoping for students to get more figures created, but realized that there was some deep spatial/3-D thinking going on in their heads. Over the course of the year, students got better at it, and I was impressed with the progression of their confidence since the beginning. I even had several students come in at lunch to work on them. One of the most exciting parts was seeing students help each other. I would not let a student touch another student’s blocks, but I did allow (at times) a student to help a struggling student through explanation as the struggling student tried to fit the pieces together.

As for the 3-D Tic Tac Toe and Batik (which students also had to sign out during the year), students did work with these but it was occasionally. At the end of the year I chose to hold a competition in my classroom instead of simply having it at lunch. Two thirds of the students participated, and I was impressed with how competitive they got. Also, I found that even though only 2-3 may have been playing one of the games there was also several students crowding around watching them.

Regarding the Rubik’s cube (which students also had to sign out during the year), I made a folder listing different accomplishment levels. Ten students solved one side, and nobody solved anything above this. This was often done at break time before class started and mostly (but not always) by some accelerated kids (who got their math done early and were well ahead in their Block by Block). Even though it wasn’t used as much as I hoped, I appreciated the challenge it gave to some of the students who never had trouble with math. I apologize for not having a picture of students using the Rubik’s cube.

If you have any questions regarding it, please feel free to call or email me. Attached to this email should be several pictures. Thank you again.

Clark Kantola
Grant Title: Spatial & Problem Solving Activities that Engage and Challenge Students

If Necessary, Would Partial Funding Help?: YES
If YES, What Other Sources are Available?: None at this time

Project Time Frame: At various times throughout the year
Amount Requested: $300

Has Your Supervisor Approved this Grant?: Hope so
Number of Persons to Benefit:85 sixth graders

Please Itemize Your Proposed Expenses:
Project Budget
Item unit price quantity total cost
-Rubik’s Cube $9.06 2 $18.12
-3-D Tic-Tac-Toe $13.95 2 $37.68
-Block by Block $11.73 13 $152.49
-Batik $23.00 2 $46.00
-½ to 1 inch 3 ring
binders for Block by Block $3.00 15 $45

Total = $299.29
Cost (in dollars): $300

Please Briefly Describe Your Proposed Project:
I want to create a collection of logic, spatial, and problem solving activities that will challenge 6th grade students and extend their thinking processes. Two years ago, when team teaching an exploratory class, another teacher and I incorporated a few of these activities. We believe students enjoyed them, and that they were a big success academically. Now I want to build upon and expand this by incorporating activities such as these into my regular math class. I will also be mailing pictures of these activities.

Each class is about 50 minutes long. I am constantly asking myself, “From the time students walk into my room to the time they leave, are students being challenged academically the entire time?” These activities address this question. If students get homework done early, they can sign one of the activities out.

For example, Block by Block is a challenging activity with sixty different figures that can be built. For durability, I want to copy these sixty figures, put them in three ring binders, and make them available for students to sign out. It is my intention for these activities to last for many years. I have found that if students sign out the activities they are more accountable and therefore more responsible to keep the sets intact. Block by Block, Rubik’s cube, Batik, and 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe are all fun activities that engage students to think analytically and three dimensionally.

Is there research to support your proposal? How does it impact district goals?
For the past several years we have scored low on the grade level content expectations (GLCEs) that involve cubes, nets, and similar spatial orientation concepts. The implementation of these activities helps fill this hole. Students at this grade level are constantly being challenged to jump from using concrete pictures to “picturing it in their heads”. For many students, this is a difficult task that requires much practice between the two types of thinking. I believe these activities accomplish academic goals while incorporating hands-on learning in an exciting format.

At the end of the year, I will provide pictures of students using all the activities. For the Rubik’s cube I will list the number of students who were able to complete two sides, three sides, and so on. I will also describe the level of participation in the Block by Block activity. Finally, in May I will hold a lunch-time competition where students will be able to compete against each other in Batik and 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe. I will share the results of this competition with you.

RCEF 2011 $500 Scholarship Recipient is Samantha Lamkin

In 2011 we interviewed 16 candidates for the RCEF $500 scholarship. Our selection for the scholarship was Samantha Lamkin. Samantha plans to attend MSU and study pre-med with the hopes of one day being a surgeon. She is an honor grad and was active in band, BPA, and softball, among other activities. Samantha also attended MCC for dual enrollment. Karen Barker was on hand at Honors night at Ravenna High School to make the presentation to Samantha. Click on the attachment to see a photo of Karen and Samantha.

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