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Alumni Supporting the Prairie at PJHS

Earlier this year, members of the Perrysburg High School Class of 1956 reunited for the 67th anniversary of their high school graduation. In attendance were Gerald Carter of Perrysburg, Betty Junge Dupre of Toledo, Janet Sheldrick Fenn of Perrysburg, Joan McAuley Foster of Perrysburg, Jay Friess of Perrysburg, Janie Friess King of Toledo, Shirley Rupp Nelson of Maumee, Raymond Steinline of New Mexico and Mary Zapata Tillman of Perrysburg.

The group donated their remaining class reunion funds to Perrysburg Schools Foundation to support the prairie at Perrysburg Junior High School (PJHS). The prairie provides an outdoor classroom environment to promote creative scientific thinking, problem solving and nature and science standards.

Jennifer Krueger, PJHS Science Teacher and Girls STEM Club Advisor shared: “We are deeply appreciative of support from alumni like the Class of 1956, community members and businesses who have taken an interest in this project! The prairie provides a strong authentic foundation for our students’ learning opportunities. This year, students participated in our second annual BioBlitz, which is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short time. We’ve also been able to purchase specific tools for the collection of data in the prairie, expand our prairie resources through a mural design and plant Blue Spruces around the perimeter to the north. We have several plans to enhance the prairie soon to continue engaging our students in new ways.”

In addition to student learning, the prairie at PJHS is open for community use during non-school hours. The community is invited to see it for themselves weekdays after 3 p.m., or during daylight hours on the weekends. The prairie is located at the PJHS campus (550 E South Boundary, Perrysburg) adjacent to I-75 near Steinecker Stadium.

To show your support of the prairie at PJHS by making a tax-deductible gift, CLICK HERE to make a gift by credit card, or send checks made payable to Perrysburg Schools Foundation to 140 East Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg OH 43551. If sending a check, please note PJHS Prairie in the memo line.

If you’re a PHS Alumni, we invite you to join the Alumni Giving Back Challenge by making a gift to Perrysburg Schools Foundation supporting the area of your choice by texting the phrase PHSAlumni to 71777 or follow this link The challenge runs NOW through December 31, 2023.

Board of Education Candidates Forum

On October 3, 2023, we hosted a Candidate Forum for Perrysburg Schools Board of Education candidates. Candidates – Kelly Davis, Kelly Ewbank, Laura Meinke, Susan Rowland Miller and Ashley Sackett – answered questions posed by the community.

If you were unable to attend in person, you may watch the event on demand on PSF TV by clicking here.

Kelly Davis was unable to participate in person due to illness, but her prepared responses to the questions have been added as an attachment to the PSF TV link. Click on the link above to watch the forum, and then click the video “Candidate Forum for Perrysburg Schools Board of Education.” The list of questions, and Kelly Davis’ prepared responses are linked under Documents directly to the right of the video.

As a reminder, the election will be held on November 7, 2023. The deadline to register to vote is October 10, 2023. Find official information on voting, including early voting hours and absentee voting, at

Clean Juice Perrysburg Supports Facility Dog Program

Thank you to everyone that came out to Clean Juice in Levis Commons (3155 Levis Commons Blvd, Perrysburg) on Saturday, June 24, 2023 for the Meet and Greet with Perrysburg Schools Facility Dogs and their handlers!

Clean Juice announced a donation of $3,500 supporting the Facility Dog Program which will make it possible to add a facility dog, Kincaid, at Hull Prairie Intermediate School at the start of the 2023/2024 school year.

Facility dogs are specially trained to provide physical, social, cognitive and/or emotional assistance to individuals in schools/classrooms as well as in other public settings. The Facility Dog Program began in 2019 at Perrysburg High School with Taft, the first facility dog in the school district. It has grown to also include Salts at Perrysburg Jr. High School. The Facility Dog Program is funded through donations to the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and in-kind support of Perrysburg Animal Hospital and Plontzie’s Pet Grooming.

“We really can’t thank Clean Juice enough for their investment in the growth of the facility dog program at Perrysburg Schools,” said Jeff Abke, Director of Development for Perrysburg Schools. “We know that students learn better when they have positive connections and outlets to deal with the stress and complexities of the world. This program, which has been established in a few of our schools already, has produced so many positive outcomes that the goal of eventually funding facility dogs in each of the schools is a priority. It wouldn’t happen without gifts like this from Clean Juice and continued community support.”

To learn more about Facility Dogs at Perrysburg Schools, please visit or contact us at

Hecox Family Fund for Education

We are excited to announce that the Hecox Family Fund for Education has been created to provide immediate and meaningful aid to Perrysburg Schools graduates who are facing significant hardships that impact their financial ability to continue their schooling.

“I just feel good inside,” Bob Hecox shared about the experience of starting this fund. “It’s going to the right place for the right reasons. For the average person, it could be a life-changing experience. I was lucky in life. I learned a lot at Perrysburg, it was a great place to be raised. Education is important. When you get older, you realize that.”

The Hecox Family is grateful for their experiences with Perrysburg Schools, dating back to the 1950s when Dorothy Mutcher Hecox began teaching at Elm St./Toth Elementary School from 1951-1978. Her son, Robert “Bob” Hecox graduated in 1962 and her daughter, Susan Hecox Bay, graduated in 1965. Because of this connection to the schools and generous desire to provide a life-changing college experience for PHS graduates at The University of Toledo, where Dorothy and Bob both earned degrees,funds have been made available for the Perrysburg Schools Foundation to award Hecox Family Scholarships that may include tuition, room and board, books, supplies, travel or other support that will help provide for a full experience for students. The gift of more than $500,000 will generate, through investment income, roughly the amount needed for a full year of tuition, room and board in perpetuity.

The inspiration behind this announcement began when Iryna Snahoshchenko, an exchange student from Ukraine who is a member of the Perrysburg High School Class of 2022, wished to stay and continue her education in our community in the summer of 2022. Thanks to the generous donation from the Hecox Family, Iryna is now completing her first year at The University of Toledo. The family wanted to continue their focus of removing obstacles to higher education and having a direct impact on the lives of fellow Yellow Jackets.

“She sent me a beautiful card,” Mr. Hecox shared of the experience of helping Iryna. “I feel very connected, so that’s how this all came about. This opened my eyes to find other places where I can see the impact… The idea is, what does it take to make this student successful, to take the pressure off them… Someone goes to college, gets a degree, I’m a part of that… At the end, I’d like to see someone graduate.”

“When we first started this conversation with Bob he shared that he wanted to make a difference and asked what that might look like. Somewhat serendipitously, just a few days later the case for Iryna came forward and I reached out to Bob to explain the situation,” said Jeff Abke, Director of Development. “As a true philanthropist would do, he said ‘What is needed?’ and once I shared the story he said ‘I can do that.’ That is one of the many wonderful things about this generous gift and fund – it will allow for immediate action to address a need, not just for Iryna, but for generations of students to follow.”

The fund will be managed by the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and will be awarded to students that have been identified by the Perrysburg Schools staff and scholarship committee.

Those who are interested in supporting Perrysburg Schools Foundation, please visit the Donate page, or contact Jeff Abke, Director of Development for Perrysburg Schools/Perrysburg Schools Foundation at 419-874-9131 ext. 2274 or

Impact of the Full Experience Fund

The Full Experience Fund (FEF) was established in 2019 by Perrysburg Schools Foundation with the goal of ensuring all students have a full experience. Thanks to generous donations from the community and school district employees, PSF has supported students over 156 times since the fund’s creation, using nearly $14,000 to provide assistance for students whose families are facing financial hardship.

During the 2021-2022 school year, the Perrysburg Schools Social Work Department supported 143 families. Chris Harper, Assistant Director of Student Services & Well-Being, has seen first-hand the impact of FEF, and shared: “FEF provides an incredible opportunity to level the playing field so ALL students have access to opportunities across the district, like providing specific school supplies, paying athletic and extracurricular fees, purchasing yearbooks, and providing students with money to use at book fairs – all of the extras that help make the Perrysburg experience. We love the incredible impact that it has had and will continue to have. This truly opens up opportunities that some would never have.”

A parent impacted by the support of FEF shared: “My husband and I are proud Perrysburg Parents. We have five children; four of which are enrolled at Perrysburg Schools. While we make do with our large family and modest income, there are some things we just need help with. Some of those things are yearbooks and dress shoes, which are required for being in choir. The most amazing assistance our family received help with was making sure three of our children could go to the week-long Show Choir Camp this past summer. Our three children had a PHENOMENAL time! They met new people, they saw old friends, but best of all, they did it together. This just goes to show the emphasis Perrysburg puts into building their community. By building a strong community, it ensures strong family bonds. In Perrysburg, everyone is family.”

To receive assistance through the Full Experience Fund, a student is nominated by their school counselor or another staff member in their school who is aware of the need. 

Perrysburg Schools Announces Major Partnership with ProMedica to Support Innovation and Community Health

Pictured from left to right Ray Pohlman – President Perrysburg Board of Education, Jeff Abke ’96 – Director of Development Perrysburg Schools, Kelly Rose Hirsh ’98 – President, Perrysburg Schools Foundation, Paul Belazis – Board President, Perrysburg Heights Community Center, Dr. Kent Bishop – President, ProMedica Physicians and Chief Medical Officer, ProMedica Physicians and Acute Care, Kate Sommerfeld- President, Social Determinants of Health, ProMedica, Adrienne Bradley- Director, Community Impact, ProMedica, Lexi Pickard Marshall ’07 – STEM Teacher, Perrysburg High School, Thomas L. Hosler – Superintendent, Perrysburg Schools 

October 13, 2021 –Perrysburg Schools, Perrysburg Schools Foundation and ProMedica have announced a major partnership totaling $500,000 over the next six years that will support:
Arts Programs to provide opportunities for student discovery, experience and growth within the fine and performing arts from preschool through grade 12 while also enhancing program sustainability.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to allow for classroom grants and special projects within the STEM programs. A portion of this will be applied to a ProMedica Scholarship for students pursing careers in the medical sciences.
Athletics for general support of athletic programs and facilities.
The Healthy Living Program at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center to fund teaching and programming for area families.
Perrysburg High School Career Exploration to be used by the Counseling Office to enhance career exploration efforts for grades 9-12.
ProMedica will be providing rapid access to health care for the student athletics program by providing on-site athletic trainers and physicians for games and events.
“ProMedica is pleased to help fund projects that align with our organization’s mission,” stated Kate Sommerfeld, vice president of community relations, ProMedica. “We believe our responsibility to our community reaches beyond the care we provide in the clinical setting. We invest in overall health and well-being across our region by working with dedicated community partners like Perrysburg Schools.”
“We are so grateful to ProMedica for making this investment in our students, programs and classrooms,” stated Thomas L. Hosler, Superintendent. “Perrysburg Schools is proud to partner with ProMedica, and we thankfully accept this gift, which will enable us to greatly enhance the opportunities we are able to offer our students.”
“The Perrysburg Schools Foundation exists to support innovation and success in the classroom.” Kelly Rose Hirsh ’98, President, Perrysburg Schools Foundation. “A gift like this allows us to do even more in those areas. We are very grateful to ProMedica.”

“College Admissions in a COVID World” virtual panel set for March 30

On Tuesday, March 30, 2021 from 12-1 p.m., Perrysburg Schools Foundation will host a virtual panel of Ohio college admissions representatives to discuss “College Admissions in a COVID World.” Colleges that will be represented include: Bowling Green State University, Miami University, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati and The University of Toledo. The event will be moderated by Perrysburg High School’s Lindsay Czech, Director of College Advising, and Dawn Burks, School Counselor.

COVID-19 has impacted every part of life this past year and the college admissions process is no exception. Join us to hear what colleges saw in their applications in 2020-2021 and what they are expecting for the Class of 2022 and beyond. The presentation is free and open to the public, but registration is required using this link. A recording will also be made available after the event on our PSFTV page.

Please feel free to use this form to submit any questions you would like to see addressed during the panel: Questions will be accepted until Sunday, March 28th.

Mary Cranker ’35 Becomes First $1M Donor to PSF

Mary CrankerPerrysburg Schools Foundation (PSF) is honored to be the recipient of its largest gift to date from the estate of Ms. Mary Cranker, Perrysburg High School Class of 1935. While the exact size of the gift is still being finalized through the estate, the anticipated gift of more than $1 million will create an endowed fund that will be used for early introduction to the arts for Perrysburg elementary students.

Mary Cranker passed away in October of 2017 and spent her entire 99-year life in Perrysburg. She was an avid supporter of the arts and quite the artist herself. She had a great appreciation for poetry, music and fine arts.

Mary worked at Owens-Illinois as an executive secretary until she retired in 1975. While at Perrysburg High School she was active in student government, the National Honor Society, the Somethin’student newspaper, science club, Latin club and dramatic club.

“While the relationship between Perrysburg Schools and Mary began when she started school back in the early 1920’s, we had the chance to introduce Mary to the efforts of the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and the opportunity to support the arts here in Perrysburg a few years ago. It was a pleasure to get to know her and learn about her passion for doing good in our community,”said Jeff Abke, Director of Development for Perrysburg Schools and the Perrysburg Schools Foundation. “It is neat to think about how her generosity will be felt throughout the entire community.”

This gift, made in memory of Mary’s maternal grandfather, Edwin H. Simmons, will be part of a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the arts at Perrysburg Schools, from preschool through grade 12. It will include gifts made to the arts booster groups, the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and the school district. The goal is to raise $3.5 million in private gifts prior to December 31, 2021, and will be formally launched January 16, 2019 at an event for supporters. Mary’s gift brings the total raised to date to nearly $2 million.

“To have someone include Perrysburg Schools Foundation in their estate plan, at any level, is humbling,”said Rich Jambor, PSF President. “That is a very personal decision and it means that they deeply connect with our mission, which is to support the students and teachers of Perrysburg Schools. For Mary to entrust us to continue her legacy in this way is a mission that we do not take lightly.”

Along with student discovery of the arts, the campaign will focus on providing an enhanced student experience in the arts, program growth and program sustainability.

“This gift and the corresponding campaign is a milestone in the history of Perrysburg Schools,” shared Thomas L. Hosler, Superintendent, Perrysburg Schools. “We have always had terrific arts programs at Perrysburg and set the bar high, and now having the flexibility to push the boundaries even further is very exciting. Through this gift, Mary is becoming the patron saint of the arts at Perrysburg. The students starting in preschool in the fall, will graduate from PHS 100 years after Mary did, yet her impact will be felt directly by them and for generations of Yellow Jackets beyond that. We are so grateful to Mary for making this happen.”

To find out more about the campaign for the arts contact Jeff Abke, Perrysburg Schools Director of Development at 419-874-9131 ext. 2274 or Learn more here.

PSF Sponsors National Honor Society Recognition Luncheon

Each spring, the Perrysburg Schools Foundation underwrites the Annual Induction Luncheon for the National Honor Society at Perrysburg High School.

This past spring, the luncheon was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Levis Commons, where three seniors and over 80 juniors were selected to enter the National Honors Society, having qualified by maintaining a minimum 3.7 GPA, submitting an application with an essay and three letters of recommendation. The students each received a certificate, and a gold cord for the graduation ceremony.

The Berbee-Walsh Writing Contest for PHS Students

This school year, PHS English classes held a new writing content, the Berbee-Walsh Writing Contest. The contest is sponsored by James Berbee and Karen Walsh of Madison, Wisconsin, family members of a Perrysburg High School teacher. The goal of the competition is to build enthusiasm for the craft of writing, and the rules deliberately do not require a particular style or genre of writing.

The contest is open to any PHS student. The original work must be something the student has written on his/her own time and not for a class assignment. Judging is done by a panel not associated with PHS. Award recipients are announced each May, and first prize is $1,000.