MHS Library Fund Supports Breakout EDU Kits

A fund established more than 50 years ago by Anna Rathbun continues to support materials for the Marion High School library. This year, at the request of librarian Apra Loomis-Mainardi, the fund was used for the purchase of four Breakout EDU kits, which are immersive learning games that teachers will be able to check out and tie to their curriculum. New chairs will also be added to the library in the fall.


Grant Honoring Former Science Teacher Funds Chemistry Project

Bruno Rinas was a long-time Marion High School science teacher. His daughter, Linda Livingston, established a fund in his honor that supports science research at the high school. The Foundation recently approved a request from MHS teacher Madi Ramaekers that provided chemical bonding models to the science classes. These kits allow students to visualize chemical bonding with 3D models, making molecular concepts easier to understand.


Foundation Receives Pearson Grant

The Marion School Foundation received a $3,000 grant from Pearson. With a local office in Cedar Rapids, Pearson’s mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. The Foundation will use the grant to fund three literacy projects. FMI will get new fiction and non-fiction books for their library collection. The Spanish department at the high school will receive books and seating to create reading corners in their classrooms. The final portion of the grant will support the STEM Summer Explorers Camp, where students entering 4th-8th grade will have an opportunity to learn about Agricultural Engineering through reading, field trips and more.


Robotics & Engineering Programs to Receive 3D Printers

The Jay White Educational Enhancement Fund is being used to purchase a new 3D printer for the robotics and engineering programs at Marion High School. Teacher Chris Martin applied for the grant with the goal of having a printer that could execute the students’ larger, more advanced designs. The Foundation decided to match the funding provided by the Jay White EEF so there would be two printers available in the classroom. Having two printers will allow twice as many students to test their designs in a short amount of time.


One Day In May

The Monet Garden was started over 20 years ago by Jill Olsen Virlee, former Iowa teacher of the year and long-time Marion High School French teacher. It started as a service-learning project and has continued year after year.  Kris Knepper is the current French teacher and has been in charge of the garden for the past 17 years.  During the high school’s recent “One Day in May” annual day of service a group of about 20 students worked in the garden to do necessary weeding, transplanting and pruning. The garden is enjoyed by everyone at the high school and in the administrative wing.  Students from various classes often use the garden during nice weather. Funding for the garden is provided by the Jay White Educational Enhancement Fund. Photo from left to right: High School Students Trenton King, Alec Arcand, Carter Klauer, and Taylor Baumgartner.


Service Above Self Award Presented to Former MHS Teacher

Jill Olsen of Marion was recognized with the Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award. Given to only 150 Rotarians around the world this year, it is considered Rotary International’s highest honor for service work.

A member and past president of the Marion East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club, Olsen also has served Rotary as district governor, district trainer, team leader for a Group Study Exchange to Korea and assistant Rotary public image coordinator for Rotary Zone 28. She traveled to India and Nigeria to help immunize infants as part of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. She was a Rotary Foundation representative to Leyte, Philippines and participated in a Rotary service trip to South Africa.

Olsen’s work in the Marion School District was recognized with the statewide Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service and her 2010 induction into the Marion Foundation Hall of Fame. She is a former Iowa Teacher of the Year, Teacher of Excellence delegate to Russia and Fulbright Memorial Scholar to Japan. She chaired the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, is vice president of the Iowa Women’s Foundation and served two terms on the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. She has received three Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Awards for Service.


Donation from Doris French Makes an Impact

The Foundation received a $5,000 donation from Marion community member Doris French. $4,000 went to the purchase of a new vibraphone for the Marion High School band, $500 to the Robotics Club, and the other $500 to the Foundation to be used as needed. Doris has close ties with the Foundation with her daughter, Doreen Zumwalt (MHS 1982), serving on its Board of Trustees and her late husband, Robert French (MHS 1955), previously inducted into the Foundation’s Hall of Fame. Doris’ grandson, Axel, attends Marion High School and is involved in the music and robotics programs, and her granddaughter Tara (MHS 2014) was also involved with both programs. The District was in need of a new vibraphone so the gift came at the right time. The old vibraphone, although not up to high school band travel, will be well utilized at Vernon Middle School. Photo: Doris French with Charles Oldenkamp, Marion High School band director.



Scholarship Established in Memory of Rebecca Paulson

Rebecca taught at Starry Elementary for many years and her passion was helping her students achieve their goals. Ann Wicke taught Rebecca’s daughter, Katie, and remembers, “Rebecca was such a light in my life that year. She was one of those people you could instantly connect with.” Rebecca had a positive influence on her students, their parents, and her peers in education through kindness, commitment and a desire to always improve. To honor her memory, an annual scholarship has been established by Rebecca’s husband, Doug, and their family that will support an MHS graduating senior pursuing a degree in education. If you or your company is interested in contributing to the Rebecca Paulson Memorial Scholarship, donations can be sent directly to the Marion School Foundation. For questions or inquiries, contact Erin Steffen at 319-377-4691 x1106 or esteffen@marion-isd.orgPhoto: Doug, Rebecca, Seth and Kathryn Paulson


Copyright © 2017 Marion Independent School Foundation & Alumni Association