RHS foundation awards over $14,000 to schools

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Belle Heth Elementary Grant winners: front row (from left), Suzanne Woolwine, Heather Rowland and Matthew Whelan; second row, Frank Leighton, Bethany Worrell, Michelle Schafer and Meredith Summers. They received $3,514 for various projects.

Now with more than 30 years in operation, the Radford High School Foundation continues as an organization established to enhance and support the schools in Radford City.


The Radford High School Foundation, Inc. was established primarily as an academic supporter, and continues that effort. Long time Radford resident, Charles Fretwell, now deceased, envisioned a foundation in the early 1980’s, teaming with others including Abie Williams, Mandy Martin, John D. Semones, Doloris Vest Allen, Joseph S. Mannon, Polly L. Corn (Deceased), Robert M. D. Turk, Joyce A. Buck (Deceased) and Elizabeth M. Graham.

Abie Williams has served as Chairman of Radford High School Foundation, Inc. since its inception. Mandy Martin continues to serve as the Foundation’s Treasurer, and Dr. John D. Semones and Dr. Michael Wright continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Since those early days the foundation has provided extra funding outside the normal school budgeting process for our school classrooms, new athletic facility projects, and scholarships to assist local students in furthering their educations.

McHarg Elementary School Grant winners: (from left) Jessica McMurray (Preschool teacher), Dr. Michael Brown (McHarg Elem Principal), Kelly Wheeler (Reading teacher) & Sharon Woinski (1st grade Chair person). They received $2,586 for various projects.

The Foundation recently awarded over $14,000 to local Radford City schools to be utilized by teachers and nurses across all four of the schools to benefit local students, and $500 to one non-profit serving local students. The Fall 2016 grant process, resulted in 20 projects and endeavors receiving funding.

All teachers in each school were given the opportunity to submit a grant application requiring a project title and description, explaining the projects innovative nature or uniqueness for students.

Radford High School Grant winner: Jackie Daly. She received $800 for the Monarch Butterfly Garden Renovation.

Additional factors such as anticipated long-term benefits of the project, estimated number of students who would benefit from the project, and whether or not multiple classrooms/schools could be served by the project, and its cost/budget.

Grant applications are reviewed by the foundation’s cash grants review committee. The selection committee is composed of foundation board members, former teachers, and senior high school students who help evaluate the applications and determine the winning projects.

The Foundation’s long running “Campaign for Continuing Excellence” awarded 13 grants for teachers and nurses projects totaling $11,250. Three grants were distributed from the Carilion Health and Wellness Fund totaling $1,400.

Dalton Intermediate School Grant winners: (from left) Jennifer Eller, Kevin Conner, Marrisa Puckett, Valerie Wheeler and Kelly Morris. They received $3,850 for various projects.

The Marge and Robbie Roberson Memorial Fund provided $600 for two projects, and the Bill Goodykoontz Memorial Fund provided $800 for the Radford High School Athletic Fund. The Elf Shelf received $500 from the Morris and Helen Lepchitz Memorial.

Since 1992, the Radford High School Foundation, Inc. has awarded over $524,858 to Radford City Schools in the form of classroom grants for teachers and scholarships for graduating students.

A total of $38,850 of that amount was distributed in 2016. Additionally, the foundation was the driving force that built the $1.2 million James P King Center on the campus of RHS in 2000 and led the drive to construct the $600,000 Radford Municipal Baseball Field in 2006 at the Radford Recreation Center on George Street, which is known as one of the finest high school baseball fields in the region.

“It is the support of the community, former students and supporters that makes the Radford High School Foundation, Inc. so successful,” said Abie Williams, Chairman of the foundation. “For over 30 years we have worked together to support our local schools. Not only are we grateful for that continued support, our students will reap the reward for our efforts, and the future generation will profit from the time and money invested today.”

Abie Williams (far right) Chairman of RHS Foundation, Inc. presents a check for $14,050 to Principals and Administrators in the school system. Pictured are (from left) Darden Freeman, Assistant RHS Principal; Dr. Mike Brown, McHarg Elementary Principal; Ken Keister, John Dalton Intermediate; Jeff Smith, Principal RHS; Rob Graham, Superintendent and Tara Grant, Principal Belle Heth.

Williams commended those who serve as board members. Currently serving as the Executive Committee are Treasurer Mandy Martin, Vice Chairman Chip Craig, and Secretary Ruth Clark. Other board members include former Superintendent Dr. Michael Wright, Dr. John Semones, Frances Hunter, Palma Clark, Bev Davis, Jean Umberger, Albert Mah, and Jeff Caldwell.

School Administration representatives are current school Superintendent, Rob Graham, and RHS Principal, Jeff Smith. Eli Mullins and Nikki Sydnor Cumberland are serving on the Foundation Advisory Board.

The Radford High School Foundation is currently working to complete fund raising efforts to install lighting on the Radford Municipal Baseball Field. The field supports JV and Varsity Baseball for the schools during their season and is the home field for the senior youth leagues in the summer.

The field has been the host site for college club baseball and tournament play, bringing in teams from out of state and providing a great tourism vehicle for the City of Radford. The lighting project cost is estimated at $200,000.

The Radford High School Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Those wishing to donate may make contributions to:

Radford High School Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 2823 Radford, VA 24143. Please contact Mandy Martin, Foundation treasurer, should you have any questions at 639-0963.

– Submitted by

Georgeanna W. Kimbleton