Archived News

Foundation Supports Class of 2021 Senior Breakfast

May 2021

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Together with Senior Leadership, the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation happily sponsored the Class of 2021 Senior Breakfast on May 28 at Orchard Hill Church. In addition to enjoying breakfast catered by HyVee, seniors watched their senior video and shared favorite memories from the past year. Following the breakfast, seniors travelled to Young Area for their graduation rehearsal.

The Foundation would like to thank their 2021 Platinum, Gold and Silver Business Sponsors for contributing to the success of this event – Platinum: i smile Orthodontics, INVISION Architecture and Skogman Homes; Gold: Cedar Falls Community Credit Union and MercyOne; Silver: Peters Construction Corporation, Harris Cleaning Service & Sales, Inc., Magee Construction Company and Coloff Media.

Congratulations Class of 2021!


 

Celebrating Seniors with Scholarships

May 2021

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On May 11, at the Cedar Falls High School Honors Convocation, our donors made a very special impact and investment while celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of our 2021 scholarship recipients. Fifteen scholarships were awarded:

  • Samantha Leeper, $1,000 Cedar Falls Rough Risers Kiwanis Club Scholarship
  • Victoria Ulrich, $1,000 Bill Close & Ron Streed smARTstart Scholarship
  • Sophia Bailey, $1,000 Bill Ellinger Memorial Scholarship
  • Alanna Fishel, $1,000 Kristine Martinson and Family Scholarship
  • Jenna Atkins, $1,000 Do Better. Be Better. Scholarship
  • Samuel Mennen, $1,000 Ronald E. Juhl CAPS Scholarship
  • Elise Glascock, $1,000 Kathy Bunger Memorial Scholarship
  • Randy Zhang, $1,000 Robert and Hazel Messer Scholarship
  • Isaac Kime, $1,000 (renewable for 4 years) Dan and Bea Brown Memorial Scholarship
  • Kallista Mohl, $750 Frank and Dorothy Horn Memorial Scholarship
  • Elise Considine, $2,000 Rick VerHeul Memorial Scholarship
  • Michael Goodenbour, $1,000 Sandy Remmert Memorial Scholarship
  • Jenna Atkins, $1,000 (renewable for 4 years) Lauterbach Memorial Scholarship
  • Alanna Fishel $1,000 (renewable for 4 years) Lauterbach Memorial Scholarship
  • Mandi Warren, $1,000 (renewable for 4 years) Lauterbach Memorial Scholarship

We are proud to be awarding over $25,000 in either one-time or renewable scholarships this year to Cedar Falls graduates. To read more about our scholarships, click here. Click here to view the recording of the event.

Best wishes Class of 2021!


Tricia Draus & Jennifer Zehner Awarded John Nero Memorial Grant for Continuing Education

April 2021

The John Nero Memorial Grant was established after his passing in 2011, for first and second year teachers. A longtime Cedar Falls High School teacher and guidance counselor, John had a desire to assist new teachers as they embarked on their first years of teaching. New teachers may be eligible for a grant from this fund annually, to be used for tuition or materials for graduate courses.

Image titleTwo John Nero Memorial Grants in the amount of $200 each have been awarded this year to Tricia Draus, Aldrich Elementary and Jennifer Zehner, Cedar Falls High School.

Tricia is a first grade teacher and will be using the grant to offset costs for the course, Ethical Issues in School and Society, through Viterbo University. "It is my goal to understand the ethical issues of teaching and the importance of teaching social justice. I am looking forward to applying what I learn to my teaching to ensure I am meeting the needs of all students," commented Tricia.

JenImage titlenifer is a special education teacher and will be applying the grant to the course, Instructional Technology, through Morningside College. “This school year, I found myself teaching in-person and virtually. I'm excited to learn even more ways to use technology to create an engaging classroom environment,” said Jennifer.

Congratulations Tricia and Jennifer and best of luck to you both as you continue your education!


Dave Vandeventer Joins Cedar Falls Schools Foundation as Board Member

April 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of new board member, Dave Vandeventer. Mr. Vandeventer is a retired realtor. Prior to his retirement, he served for a number of years as President and board member for the Girl Scouts of NEIA and Western Illinois, and has been honored with the Mayor’s Life Time Achievement Award and the Governor’s Excellence in Mentoring Award for his service as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and TeamMates Mentoring.

"I am looking forward to being of service to Cedar Falls and the Cedar Falls School Community,” stated Dave.

The CFSF Board of Directors includes community members and district appointments. Since its inception in 2007, contributions from individuals, businesses and grants have helped the expand opportunities for the Cedar Falls Community School District.


Double Your Gift!

April 2021

Image titleGreenState Credit Union members have the opportunity to match gifts to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation through April 30 with the Give & Grow to Schools program.

Donations can be submitted through GreenState’s website. GreenState will send both your gift and a matching gift to our Foundation in May.

Thank you GreenState Credit Union for supporting our students again this year!


Slykhuis Family Fund Supports Water Safety Pilot Program

March 2021

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This spring, the Cedar Falls Community School District (CFCSD) has partnered with Panther Academy for Water Safety (PAWS) to provide water safety instruction to students. Students are working directly with a University of Northern Iowa or Allen College graduate student in the pool once a week for six weeks to experience a robust aquatic curriculum that integrates learn-to-swim, water safety, speech and communication, interpersonal skills, sensory integration and gross motor skills.

“We’re grateful to PAWS for providing this comprehensive aquatic experience for our students!” commented Jill Hayes White, CFCSD Executive Director of Student Services. “Because this first session serves as a pilot for potential future programming, we knew we needed to keep numbers low, but also wanted to focus on students who might have the most to gain from this instruction. We made the opportunity available to our Southdale Elementary preschool students who receive special education services. Twenty students signed up and are currently receiving a 30-minute lesson each week during school hours at the Peet Swimming Pool,” finished Mrs. White.

Utilizing students fulfilling practicum hours helped keep program costs low, but remaining costs of $50/student were identified. The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation supported the program’s remaining costs through its Slykhuis Family Fund, established in memory of Jane, Jerry and Steve Slykhuis.


Legacy of Learning Grant Supports Equity Professional Development Training for CFCSD Staff

February 2021

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On February 19, the Cedar Falls Community School District (CFCSD) held an Equity Professional Development training for staff as part of its ongoing equity work. Presenter and Cedar Falls Schools alumna Chinelo Onuigbo, MSW, received a B.A. in Social Justice and Communication Studies from the University of Iowa and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. She works to promote social justice and anti-racist frameworks at the community level. "We set a critical foundation for doing equity work in the school setting, discussed the importance of social justice in schools and collaboratively worked through scenarios and actionable plans to move toward a more socially-just community," commented Ms. Onuigbo.

"CFCSD is thrilled to partner with Ms. Onuigbo in our ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive school community. Ms. Onuigbo's training will be the fourth installment of our equity professional development series, which started in August. CFCSD is committed to this important work and we thank the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation for their contribution," stated Tara Estep, CFCSD Executive Director of Enrichment and Special Programs.

The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation supported the training through its Legacy of Learning Endowed Fund. This fund, established by the Class of 1963, with contributions from the classes of 1954, 1959, 1980, 1990 and 2000, supports staff enrichment activities, classroom excellence grants and senior scholarships.

The district recently launched an Equity Resources site for their families to learn about social equity in an accessible way.


Senior Scholarship Applications Now Available!

February 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) is pleased to announce 15 scholarships, ranging from $750 to $4,000 each, available to graduating Cedar Falls High School seniors in 2021. Applications will be reviewed by a scholarship selection committee at Cedar Falls High School and will be awarded at the Honors Convocation Ceremony in May.

Click here to see a full listing and to apply. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2021.






Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation Grant Supports connect>CF Program

January 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation to support the connect>CF Program. connect>CF provides reduced-cost home internet service to eligible students and families in the Cedar Falls Community School district.

connect>CF, established in 2018, is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities that addresses the homework gap and brings the value of connectivity into households – a need that has only increased due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“We are so appreciative of this support from the Lincoln Savings Bank Foundation to help even the scales among students,” stated Monica Boyer, CFSF Executive Director.

connect>CF is an ongoing effort, sustained by donations from individuals, business, organizations and grants. To learn more about connect>CF, or to donate, click here.



Whitney Middleton Joins Cedar Falls Schools Foundation as Board Member

January 2021

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of new board member, Whitney Middleton. Ms. Middleton is a family law practice lawyer and owner of Whitney Middleton Law PLLC in Cedar Falls. She is a 2008 graduate of Cedar Falls High School and is active in the Cedar Valley Jaycees.

"I am looking forward to giving back to the school district that gave so much to me and was the foundation of my legal career,” stated Whitney.

The Foundation Board of Directors includes community members and district appointments. Since its inception in 2007, contributions from individuals, businesses and grants have helped the CFSF establish scholarships and grants, assist programming and champion teacher professional learning. The CFSF is an Iowa nonprofit corporation for the sole benefit of the Cedar Falls Community School District.



Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa Grant Supports connect>CF Program

December 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) was awarded a Black Hawk County Fall 2020 Grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA). The $5,625 grant will help provide reduced-cost home internet service to eligible students and families in the Cedar Falls Community School district through the connect>CF program.

connect>CF, established in 2018, is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities that helps even the scales among students by addressing the homework gap and brings the value of connectivity into households.

The need for home internet increased this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. When schools closed in the spring, students and teachers turned to virtual learning to continue instruction. In the fall, over 900 students enrolled in the district’s virtual campus option. Even students whose families elected in-person learning have had online instruction throughout the year due to building closures or quarantine guidelines.

“Thanks to generous gifts from individuals, businesses and organizations, as well as grants like this one from the CFNEIA, we’re able to continue supporting this program, but ongoing support is crucial,” stated Monica Boyer, CFSF Executive Director. To learn more about connect>CF, or to donate, click here.


Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Awards Classroom Excellence Grants

November 2020

Cedar Falls Schools Foundation awards Classroom Excellence Grants each year to Cedar Falls Community School (CFCS) District staff for innovative projects. These projects carry out the Foundation's mission of enhancing excellence in education by helping teachers create learning experiences for students above and beyond typical classroom activities.

Thanks to many generous donors, 14 Classroom Excellence Grants, totaling nearly $12,000, were awarded in November. Five of the fourteen were named grants — one given in honor of the Class of 1970, and four in memory of:

  • Pat Lyman, former Lincoln Elementary volunteer
  • Robert L. Savereide, former counselor at Peet Junior High
  • Jim & Karen Bolger, Karen was a P.E. teacher at Peet Junior High
  • Dick Nystuen, former school administrator

Click here to read about all the projects supported this year.


Class of 1970 Celebrates 50th Class Reunion with Gift to Cedar Falls Schools Foundation

September 2020

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Five years ago, a group from the Cedar Falls High School Class of 1970 came together to discuss ways to celebrate their 50th High School Reunion. They wanted to “pay it forward,” so set to work to solicit funds from classmates for the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation. They set a goal for their class of $50,000.

From the combined contributions from over 100 Class of 1970 alumni, they have now exceeded that goal. $25,000 will be donated to the new High School building project – a room will be named after the Class of 1970. The remaining funds will be added to the Foundation’s Classroom Excellence Grants Endowed Fund. Classroom Excellence Grants are available to all Cedar Falls Community Schools District staff each fall, and support the purchases of learning materials and opportunities for students outside of the district’s budget. Because of their contribution, a “Class of 1970 Excellence Grant” will be awarded each year.

Thank you Class of 1970 for showing your pride and enthusiasm for Cedar Falls Community Schools. We are honored to have you as a partner in our mission to support our students, staff and community. You have proved there is great truth to ‘once a tiger, always a tiger’

Pictured (L to R): Dave Deaver, Bruce Sorensen, Celia Simmer and Jessie Sorensen, Cedar Falls High School Class of 1970 representatives, present a check for $53,775 to Dr. Andy Pattee, Cedar Falls Community Schools Superintendent, at the site of the new high school.


Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Announces Five New Board Members, Celebrates Two Board Retirees

August 2020

The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of five new Board Members – Dr. Alan Heisterkamp, Tom Blanford, Chris Gehling, Jessie Sorensen and Amanda Stack. Dr. Heisterkamp is the Director of the Center for Violence Prevention and the MVP Leadership Institute at the University of Northern Iowa. He is filling the school board member seat on the Foundation board. Mr. Blanford is the Vice President of Corporate Investment at Collins Community Credit Union. He is a 2009 graduate of Cedar Falls High School (CFHS). Mr. Gehling is a CPA and Partner at BerganKDV and has children in the district. Mrs. Sorensen was the office manager at Sam Annis and Company/Metro Fuel Inc, retiring in 2017. She is a 1970 graduate of CFHS. Her son is also a CFHS graduate and she now has grandchildren in the district. Mrs. Stack is the Operations Manager and Legal Assistant at Trent Law Firm, PLLC and has a child in the district. Mr. Blanford, Mr. Gehling, Mrs. Sorensen and Mrs. Stack are filling community member seats on the Foundation board.

The Foundation would also like to celebrate two retiring board members. Alan Bernard served as treasurer and finance committee chair and Jennifer Onuigbo served as secretary and as a marketing and promotions committee member. Mr. Bernard has served on the board since 2011 and Mrs. Onuigbo since 2014. Monica Boyer, Executive Director, commented, “Al and Jennifer’s guidance and expertise has been of the utmost value to our organization. On behalf of the board of directors, I thank them for their contributions to the success of the foundation.”

The Foundation Board of Directors includes community members and district appointments. Current standing community board members include: Dave Deaver, John Jorgensen, Tanner Marshall, Tracy Mudd, Helen Pearce, Vickie Robinson, John Runchey and Jim Sprau. The appointed district board members include: Katie Johnston, Eric Rosburg, Jeremy Swanson and Megann Tresemer. Ex-officio members are Dr. Andy Pattee, CFCS District Superintendent and Denelle Gonnerman, CFCS CFO.

“We’re honored to have the guidance and vision of all our board members. CFSF Board Members are volunteers who give their time, talents and treasure to support every student, every day,” stated Boyer. 


Christensen Funds Makerspace Items

June 2020

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In 2002, Elna Christensen left a legacy to “perpetuate quality of life in her hometown.” The Elna Christensen Memorial Fund, established in memory of her parents, Nels and Kirstine Christensen, was a $1,370,000 endowed gift to the district.

The fund is now held with the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation. During the 2019-2020 school year, the district used $28,559.67 from the fund to purchase Makerspace items. Makerspaces are a collaborative lab and studio space where students can create, think, share and grow using an assortment of materials and technologies. Makerspaces are open to all students, and are a fun way for them to explore self-guided learning.

Brian Unruh, Associate Director of Instructional Technology at Cedar Falls Community Schools commented, “We used these funds to support the six Maker Challenges we did throughout the school year. Challenges included:

  • Musical Instrument Challenge in October

  • Pumpkin Catapults Challenge in November
  • Holiday Lights Display Challenge in December for secondary students only
  • Snow Plow Challenge in January
  • Spread Joy Challenge in February and March
  • Fashion Challenge in April and May

We were able to purchase materials and equipment for each building. Materials included items such as paper, aluminum foil, LED lights, cups and tape. Equipment included items such as Edison robots, hot glue guns, Makey Makey’s and Little Bits. We are so thankful to provide these resources to our students and look to build on what we were able to provide this past year. The feedback from these Maker Challenges has been so positive from teachers, students and parents.”

The Christensen legacy continues in Cedar Falls through this endowed fund providing extra opportunities to staff and students in the district.

To learn more about leaving your own legacy through Cedar Falls Schools Foundation, please contact Monica Boyer, Executive Director, at (319) 268-7007 or foundation@cfschools.org


Celebrating Seniors Futures with Scholarships

May 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation awarded 12 scholarships to 2020 graduating seniors. Thank you to our many donors and their families for making these gifts possible. Scholarship recipients were announced on Sunday, May 24 during the televised Honors Convocation. A recording of the event is available to watch online. 

This fall, 21 new and renewed scholarships will be given to CFCS graduates for post-secondary education. To read more about our scholarships and this year’s recipients, click here.

Congratulations to these outstanding seniors!


Jennifer Zehner Awarded John Nero Memorial Grant for Continuing Education

May 2020

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The John Nero Memorial Grant was established after his passing in 2011, for first and second year teachers. A longtime Cedar Falls High School teacher and guidance counselor, John had a desire to assist new teachers as they embarked on their first or second year of teaching. New teachers may be eligible for a grant from this fund, to be used for tuition and/or materials for graduate studies.

A John Nero Memorial Grant in the amount of $200 has been awarded this year to Jennifer Zehner, Cedar Falls High School. Jennifer is pursuing her Master’s in Special Education and will be using the grant to help pay for her Summer 2020 courses: “Language Development and Communication Disorders,” “Behavior Disorders: Theory and Methods,” and “Learning Disabilities: Theory and Methods.”

“Come August, the skills and knowledge I am gaining through this program will become key tools in my instruction. This will help me be of the most benefit to all of my students in helping them achieve their goals and set new goals throughout the academic year,” said Jennifer.

Congratulations Jennifer and best of luck to you as you continue your education!


Double Your Gift!

April 2020

Image titleGreenState Credit Union members have the opportunity to match gifts to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation through May 15 through their Give & Grow program.

Donations may be submitted through GreenState's website. GreenState will send both your gift and the matching gift to our Foundation in May.

Thank you GreenState Credit Union for supporting our students again this year!


POSTPONED: Future of Education Breakfast

March 2020

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we will be postponing the Future of Education Breakfast, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 at Beaver Hills. Rescheduled date is to be determined.


Vande Kieft Memorial Fund Supports the connect>CF Program

February 2020

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Dick and Judy Vande Kieft passed away in November 2018. Dick served on the Cedar Falls School Board for 31 yearsas president and vice president for nine of those years. Their family specified that memorials be sent to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation.

Receiving over 30 donations, the Dick and Judy Vande Kieft Memorial Fund grew to $2,405. Recently, their son, Jason Vande Kieft, decided how the funds will be used within the district. “We feel they would want the fund to support programs that most directly impact student success, especially if those students are disadvantaged. Students need home connectivity for homework, planning and teacher communication. We'd be pleased to see the memorial fund support the connect>CF initiative,” said Jason.

connect>CF is a collaboration between the district and Cedar Falls Utilities to provide reduced-cost home internet service to eligible Cedar Falls Schools students in grades 7-12.

On February 7, Monica Boyer, Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Executive Director, presented a check to Lindsay Spears, Cedar Falls High School Associate Principal, for the connect>CF program.

Thank you Vande Kieft family for choosing to honor Dick and Judy’s legacy in this way. Click here to learn more about connect>CF.



Senior Scholarship Applications Now Available!

February 2020

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) is pleased to announce 10 different scholarships available in 2020 to Cedar Falls High School graduates. Scholarships are made possible by generous donors to CFSF. All applications will be reviewed by a scholarship selection committee at Cedar Falls High School, and will be awarded at the Honors Convocation Ceremony in May.

Click here to see a full listing and to apply. The deadline for 2020 scholarships is April 15, 2020.


We Asked, You Responded: Tradition of Excellence Annual Campaign Update 

February 2020

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A tremendous thank you to our many generous donors that have contributed to this year's Tradition of Excellence giving campaign. In the first two months, we have received donations totaling over 90% of our $20,000 goal!

To contribute to innovation and excellence throughout the Cedar Falls School District, please click here.


Foundation Receives $25,000 from Black Hawk Economic Development for CAPS

January 2020

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The Cedar Falls Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CF CAPS) program is an innovative High School Elective Course that takes students outside of the traditional classroom for half their day, each day for an entire semester. They are immersed in professional environments to develop problem-solving and professional skills to work on real projects for real business clients. This experience along with focused development on career exploration helps prepare each student-associate for their purpose beyond their life as a student. CF CAPS is an example of how business, community and education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs.


The CF CAPS program believes that every student should have an opportunity for this kind of experience, regardless of where they live. Black Hawk Economic Development recently awarded a $25,000 grant to the CF CAPS program to support the development of a Cedar Valley CAPS program, in an effort to impact more students and districts. 

Thank you BHED! 
Click here to learn more about CAPS.


Consider a gift to the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation through your retirement account 

January 2020

If you are 70½ years of age or older and believe in our mission, you can make a direct, tax-free gift from your IRA to CFSF. Giving from an IRA is an easy and convenient way to make a gift, with the amount of your gift excluded from gross income as a tax-free rollover and it counts toward your annual required minimum distribution.


Cedar Falls Schools Foundation Announces Annual Campaign

December 2019

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The Cedar Falls Schools Foundation (CFSF) is pleased to announce its Annual Tradition of Excellence Campaign. Since its inception in 2007, contributions from parents, community members, alumni, businesses and organizations have helped the Foundation establish grants, scholarships and assist with programming needs. The CFSF is an Iowa nonprofit corporation for the sole benefit of the Cedar Falls Community School District and is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your gift may be tax deductible.

To contribute to the Annual Tradition of Excellence Campaign, please click here.

To learn how previous year's campaign gifts have made a difference, please click here.


Congratulations 2019 Excellence Grant Recipients 

November 2019

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Eighteen Excellence Grants, totaling over $15,000, were awarded in November for innovative projects in the classroom ranging from 3D printers to disc golf materials. Grants were available to pre-k-12 educators and made possible through donor gifts. Four named grants were awarded this year in memory of Pat Lyman, Robert L. Savereide, Amy Denholm and Jim & Karen Bolger.

Click here to see all of the projects supported this year.


Donor Spotlight 

October 2019

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Ronald Juhl, a 1959 graduate of Cedar Falls High School, has been providing a scholarship to a graduating senior for almost 20 years. Impressed with the work from the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program, he recently revised his scholarship criteria and renamed the scholarship to the Ronald E. Juhl CAPS Scholarship, making this the first scholarship for students who have participated in CAPS during high school.

Thank you Ron for your continued support of our students! 

Pictured: Floyd Winter, past Foundation President, awarded Walker Zey the 2019 Ronald E. Juhl Scholarship