Friend of Education
The Friend of Education award was established as a way to recognize unique contributions by individuals or organizations to the education of the children of Menomonee Falls. Former art educator and administrator, Bill Pierce initiated the award, and former science teacher, Tom Bauer, continued the tradition of the award.
The award is bestowed upon those whose efforts to improve or enhance education within the District were so unique, that if it were not for the individual or organization, the initiative would not have been implemented.
The Friend of Education award recognizes the critical link between the School District of Menomonee Falls, the community, and the many volunteers that serve both.
Artwork from third-grade students has become the trademark of the Friend of Education Award. Each year, third-grade art students create original Busscapes that depict the famous yellow school bus transporting children to school. The artwork is chosen by the art teachers for consideration as a Friend of Education award. The artwork is framed and presented by the student artist to its recipient. Over the years, the Busscapes have found special places in many Menomonee Falls homes and offices.
Award accepted posthumous by Steve's wife, Doris Sexton
Steve Sexton was instrumental in the overall success of the Menomonee Falls Debate Team. From helping us start the organization in 2016 to coaching our teams in his free time without charge, Mr. Sexton played a vital part in helping to give a few determined young women a chance at victory. Mr. Sexton's work eventually paid off when Amma and I placed in the top three at the 2018 Wisconsin State Debate Tournament and his legacy will continue to live on, not only through us, but in all of those who continue to participate in the Menomonee Falls Debate Team. While we wish we could tell him just how much his belief in us meant during that time, we can still honor him today. The 2021 Friend of Education Award could not be awarded to a better person.
Steve’s involvement in the WI debate community extended beyond coaching his team. When we started the Menomonee Falls HS Debate team, we had no debate experience, Steve volunteered to train all our parents in judging tournament, which allowed our students to participate in tournaments.
He also offered to coach our students for free. Steve will come by, after chemotherapy treatment to coach our team . His support was instrumental in our team ending their 2nd year as a debate team as State Semi-finalists.
We are very grateful to Steve for his support in establishing a debate team in Menomonee Falls.
Tytiana Curtain & Linda Otchere and
I would like to nominate Grace Commons, a Capri Community for Senior Living, for the Distinguished Service award. Grace Commons has provided much-needed support to the community and senior citizens of Menomonee Falls.
During the pandemic, I offered bingo on Facebook Live and Grace Commons was the first to step up and offer to sponsor this event. They purchased gift cards to local Menomonee businesses, to be used as prizes and encouraged others to support local businesses as well. We had community members joining in to play bingo as a family and many commented how fun this was to do together. As we slowly started to run more events at the senior center, Grace Commons offered a to-go craft for the holidays that participants had to sign up for. This was especially important to our seniors who were staying in their homes during COVID, because this helped combat some loneliness the seniors were feeling. Whether online seeing my friendly face during bingo and being able to chat with friends, or when they would drive up to pick up their craft, they were so excited to see our faces again.
Once we were able to conduct in-person craft classes, they supplied materials and instruction for four different craft projects. Each one filled up quickly. The crafts included Mother's Day bracelets, decorated planters., a patriotic wreath, and pebble art. They are also planning on offering Fall and holiday themed crafts this October and December. In addition to crafts, Grace Commons supported our community event, The Egg-cellent Egg Hunt, last March.
Grace Commons has graciously offered to fully sponsor our fall event, The Search for The Great Pumpkin. This is an event similar to the Egg Hunt to get the participants out into the community parks. Grace Commons also occasionally helps call bingo for the seniors on Thursdays. They bring treats, which the seniors love.
In addition to supporting CE & Rec programs, they have also worked with Menomonee Falls Downtown to sponsor the First Thursday of the Month Concert Series, a total of three concerts at the new Village Park.
Grace Commons has done a wonderful job at being involved with the community, and are always looking for ways to help make Menomonee Falls the place to live and play.
Nominated by: Lori Oertel, CE & Rec Supervisor of Older Adults and Volunteers