They were unexpected gifts, but thanks in large part to the generous donations of two former Green Ridge residents, post-secondary costs for several future Green Ridge graduates may become less of an expense.

In March, the district was contacted by Kevin Schnell, attorney for the estate of Chester Hoefner.  Hoefner was a local dairy farmer and a Korean War veteran who died in December 2017.

“When Mr. Schnell contacted me he said Mr. Hoefner had ‘left a significant amount of money to go toward scholarships for those students graduating from Green Ridge High School and Wright City High School,’” Green Ridge Superintendent Dr. Jamie Burkhart said.

“We were told that it was estimated that each school would receive in excess of $1 million to be used for scholarships,” Burkhart explained. “In addition to these monies we were also informed that a retired business teacher from Green Ridge, Ruth Pace Chadwick, had passed away and left over $20,000 for student scholarships.”

Since the district didn’t have an educational foundation in place, Burkhart said she quickly got to work to establish one. After contacting a number of school districts with foundations including Warrensburg, Sedalia 200, and the Truman Lake Community Foundation, Burkhart and the Green Ridge Board of Education sought nominations for members for the Green Ridge Foundation.

“It was important to include board members who were long-standing residents of the community who also demonstrated involvement in the schools,” Burkhart commented.

The following individuals were named to the Green Ridge Educational Foundation:

• President Larry Barb: He was a teacher, coach and bus driver in the district for 42 years.

• Member Gwen Hinken: A graduate of Green Ridge, Hinken was employed by the district for 31 years, retiring as Special Services Director. Hinken is the author of “A Glimpse of Green Ridge History” and is writing a second work on the history of the community.

• Treasurer Judy Needy. A graduate of Green Ridge, Needy is a supporter of the school district through the family business, Sedalia Rental and Supply. According to Burkhart, she can often be found supporting her grandchildren at school events.

• Board of Education representative Kenneth Ollison: A graduate of the district, Ollison was a bus driver for the district and his wife worked as a paraprofessional at Green Ridge. Ollison is the board treasurer.

Burkhart serves as the foundation’s secretary. She is the district’s administrative representative to the foundation.  

In May. the Articles of Incorporation of the Green Ridge Education Foundation were filed by Secretary of State John Ashcroft. The members met to determine eligibility criteria for scholarships and the procedures for applying and awarding them. Investment opportunities were also discussed.

“In late September, we received our 501(c)3 nonprofit tax-exempt status, which allowed the board to begin investing funds provided for the student scholarships,” Burkhart noted.

Applicants for the Chester Hoefner Scholarship must have attended Green Ridge High School for at least four semesters immediately prior to graduation;,have been accepted to an institution of higher learning, and have taken the ACT test or college entrance examination or other required test for post-high school education or training at an accredited institution. According to Burkhart, the foundation will award the Hoefner Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to all Green Ridge seniors who apply and meet the established guidelines.

Up to two $400 Ruth Pace Chadwick Scholarships will be awarded annually. Applicants have the same criteria as the Hoefner Scholarship with the addition that the applicant have participated in FBLA. Preference will be given to applicants who are pursuing a career in business.

Individuals who are interested in contributing to the Green Ridge Education Foundation can contact Burkhart at 660-527-3315.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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