The Stevenson High School community just got four figures worth of extra motivation for its end-of-year fundraising campaign.
The parents of three recent Stevenson graduates have agreed to make a donation to the Stevenson Foundation of up to $10,000, matching whatever the foundation raises during its effort.
Foundation executive director Greg Diethrich said his group typically pulls in around $8,000 each holiday season, but feels “cautiously optimistic” that they can hit the donors’ maximum.
“I’m pretty confident that we’ll reach that $10,000 mark, but we do still have a ways to go,” he said.
Diethrich said the parents, who wish to remain anonymous, contacted him a few weeks ago with the idea of giving to a pair foundation programs: Kids in Need, which assists Stevenson’s reduced-lunch-price students with paying school fees, and the Innovation Grants, which help fund school science and technology initiatives.
The parents told Diethrich they were inspired by five current and former teachers who instructed their children.
One of them was English teacher Melissa Mack, who discovered her involvement by reading the school newsletter.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, woah, that’s my name,’” she said. “It was very humbling.”
Three of the others are science teacher Ryan Fedewa, social studies teacher Caroline Shupe and Jason Stacy, now an associate professor of history and social studies pedagogy at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus.
The fifth name, though, brought back some bittersweet memories for many around Stevenson.
“It was tough to see Jeff Mayer’s name among that mix,” Mack said.
Mayer taught English from 1998 to 2011, but committed suicide that summer.
The fundraiser continues until Dec. 31, and Diethrich said the promise of a matching donation has helped bring in some larger-than-usual checks.
“We’ve gotten some nice gifts,” he said.