Chillicothe R-II School District recipient of $180K donation by Chillicothe Education Foundation

Chillicothe R-II School District Website 2023

Two departments in the Chillicothe R-II School District, Music, and the Business Department at the Grand River Technical School, have been named the recipients of $180,304.89, thanks to a donation made by the Chillicothe Education Foundation on behalf of the late Loraine M. Roark, of Chillicothe.

In addition, a $5,000 scholarship in Loraine’s name will be given annually to one qualifying Chillicothe High School Senior who is pursuing a degree in Business, Business Education, Music, or Music Education; at a two-year, four-year, or vocational learning institution.

“I am continually amazed by the generosity of this community’s citizens and foundations,” Superintendent Dr. Dan Wiebers said. He added that the funds will greatly help improve and update these departments to meet the needs of Chillicothe R-II students, and better prepare them for life after graduation.

Specifically, funds earmarked for the Music Department will be used for new curtains and scrim in the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center, which will cost just over $32,000. According to Lisa Rule, PAC Technician, and Drama teacher, 20 years of use have left the curtains dirty from years of set building, choir programs, and drama productions. She noted that the rear traveler curtain, which crosses the length of the stage, also has multiple rips.

“Rule explained she investigated the option of cleaning those curtains, but no company wants to clean them because of their age – afraid the curtains will disintegrate and not hold the flame-retardant liquid that must be applied.”

As part of the donation, the Chillicothe Schools’ Music Department will receive $64,724.89 to purchase needed equipment, ranging from new instruments to better equipment, which will be used throughout the District, according to Sarah Cavanah, James Cookinham, Michele Phillips, and Ryann French, R-II instrumental and vocal instructors. Specifically, because of this gift, the District will be able to purchase two acoustic pianos, new choir attire, St. Petersburg Tubas, an elementary music instrument set, marching baritones, mellophones, a vibraphone, an electric keyboard, and more.

The Business Department at the Grand River Technical School will receive $83,520 as part of this gift. According to Business teachers Kyla Leatherman, Sondra Sturguess, and Kelsey Butler, the current business classrooms at the Grand river tech are designed for the traditional learning experience, which works for many core subject classes, like math and history. However, business classes, they say, are unique, and these funds will facilitate better learning within their classrooms. “We appreciate the opportunity to create a flexible learning environment with our students to encourage the development of soft skills – such as communication, teamwork, flexibility, adaptability, and more,” they said.

Funds for the business program will be used to purchase whiteboard partitions, multi-directional chairs, whiteboard tables, a workbench, stools, storage cabinets, multimedia tables, a small TV screen that will allow students to project from their laptops to the TVs, and more. According to Education Foundation member Susan Fair, the late Loraine Roark enjoyed music and shared her love of it by playing the piano and organ and singing duets with her sister, Geraldine. She also sang in the Community Choir and the choir at the First Christian Church in Chillicothe. Loraine also had an aptitude for business, too and one of her first jobs out of high school was as a secretary for the County Superintendent of Schools. She went on to have a very successful career for the Division of Family Services.