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Recognizing a dedicated District Volunteer who has positively impacted Prairie.

Please consider nominating someone today who represents the Pride of Prairie. This prestigious award is presented annually by the Prairie School Foundation to give recognition to, and show appreciation for, an individual(s) who exemplifies the Prairie Spirit and a loyal commitment to our Prairie Schools.

While school employees may be nominated, preference is given to a volunteer (s) who have shown dedication to Prairie Kids. The Pride of Prairie selection committee will choose the recipient based on your input. The more details you provide the better.

Examples of previous recipients have included volunteerism with Prairie Music Association, Prairie Booster Club, Prairie PTO, Prairie School Foundation, Classroom or organization volunteer, and other school organizations.

Please include with a single-page Letter of Nomination (thank you for your nomination):

● Nominee’s Name

● Date submitted

● Description of the nominee’s Prairie involvement

● How long have they been involved/Estimated number of students impacted

● Special anecdotes or qualities have you observed in this individual

● Additional Comments

Kindly submit your Letter of Nomination, your name and contact information, by noon, Friday, October 13th, 2023 to:

Prairie School Foundation Director, Randy Rumery

401 76th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-703

or Email

Ying Ying Chen Educator IMPACT Award Presentation

The family of the late Ying Ying Chen announced the establishment of the Ying Ying Chen Educator IMPACT Award in 2021 to honor the memory and distinguished career of Ying at Prairie. She served as an elementary school Principal and later as a District Administrator.

The award recognizes an educator who embodies Ying’s passion for learning and commitment to students, staff, and colleagues. The recipient of the award receives a $1,000 stipend to support an educational project.

The three finalists for the 2022 IMPACT Award included: Allison Gates a teacher/librarian at Creek; Joint applicants, Kim Heckart and Becky Sorg teachers at Ridge and Kristen Jennerjohn a special education teacher at Hill.

The winner of this year’s award was Kristen Jennerjohn. Kristen is a Special Education Teacher at Prairie Hill Elementary. Her students include those who are completely non-speaking, others who struggle to express their thoughts and others who don’t easily understand what is being said. Kristen plans to use her award to purchase TouchChat with Word Power a Peer to Peer communication system to enhance communication between her students, their teachers and

Prairie Agriculture Education and FFA Kick-Off Event

The College Community School District has long considered the establishment of an Ag Ed/FFA program on its campus. Several months ago Prairie Parents were surveyed to determine their interest in such a program. That survey delivered a resounding yes to the need for and interest in such a program. 

Once the district made the commitment to establish the program the Prairie School Foundation was called on to help finance the launch of the program. The Foundation’s Director, Randy Rumery, joined with members of the Agricultural Education Advisory Committee to compile a list of potential donors. 

One of the committee members, Dwight Hughes, was first to step forward with a gift of $1,000 for each of his five grandchildren for a total of $5,000.  Another committee member, Steve Bohr, contributed a portion of his harvested grain. Several other members, including Dean Schrader and Niki Frese, joined Rumery for donor visits with a number of local ag businesses.

Meetings with Patrick Duerksen of Cargill and Lori Kramer of Diamond V provided the best yield with a $150,000 commitment. Those gifts, plus over a dozen more, from local individuals and businesses provided a significant launch for the program.

Members of the Prairie community, including many of the donors, joined district representatives, the new Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor Erica Baier, and student representatives of the FFA Chapter on October 5 to celebrate this new component of Prairie’s educational offerings. Over 100 students enrolled in the Agricultural Education Classes this fall. 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Agricultural Education/FFA Program Launch. 

From left to right: Taryn Hosek, Ag Ed student and FFA member; Patrick Duerksen, Cargill; Lori Kramer, Diamond V; Randy Rumery, Prairie School Foundation; Randy Bauer, President, College Community School Board; Niki Freese, Ag Education Advisory Committee; Dr. Doug Wheeler, Superintendent, College Community Schools, Dwight Hughes, Ag Education Advisory Committee and Eric Townsley, Chair, Ag Education Advisory Committee.

Prairie School Foundation Makes a Big Check Presentation

Like many things during the COVID-19 Pandemic the foundation’s Big Check presentation was made virtually at this year’s homecoming game. A photo of the actual presentation from Prairie School Foundation officers, Steve Howes,  Julie Kelly-Molander and Director Randy Rumery to Randy Bauer, President of the College Community School Board and Dr. Doug Wheeler, District Superintendent was projected on the scoreboard between games. 

This year’s check was written in the amount of $165,000. That total includes almost $120,000 for the launch of the district’s new Ag Education/FFA Program.  The balance of the funds will be available to Prairie teachers and staff to purchase equipment, programs and materials to enhance the education of Prairie Students.

The Foundation is only able to make these investments in the education of Prairie School Students because parents, friends and local businesses support our annual Kids Fund drive, Prairie Fest, and the Prairie Hawk Golf Challenge. We thank the members of the Prairie Community for their generous support. 

From the left: Randy Rumery, Foundation Director; Julie Kelly-Molander, Foundation Vice Chair and Prairie Fest Committee Co-Chair; Steve Howes, Foundation President; Dr. Doug Wheeler, Superintendent College Community Schools; Randy Bauer, President College Community School Board.

Local Hunters Provide Assistance to Prairie Students

Members of the Green Castle Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited approached the Prairie School Foundation earlier this fall offering funds to help Prairie High School students who demonstrated need for assistance to purchase devices to participate in online education or other student needs like quality winter clothing. 

Whitetails Unlimited raises funds to support educational programs, wildlife habitat enhancement and acquisition and the preservation of the hunting tradition. The Green Castle Chapter has an annual banquet to raise funds to support their mission.  Members of the annual banquet committee, Eric Brissee, Tom Mellecker and Josh Peterka recently presented a portion of their banquet proceeds by a check for $2,421.38 to the Foundation. 

The foundation worked with Jessica Fitzpatrick, the Community Engagement Specialist at Prairie High School, to determine how the funds could best be used.  She recommended the purchase of Hotspots for six Prairie High School students. The Hotspots transmit an internet connection for access to Prairie’s Online Learning program. The Whitetails’ gift will also cover the cost of monthly fees for the Hotspots’ connection. 

The Prairie School Foundation always welcomes inquiries from local organizations, businesses and individuals who want to support the College Community School District and the students, faculty and staff in the Prairie Schools.

Members of the Whitetails Unlimited Green Castle Chapter present funds for Prairie High Students.  

Pictured left to right:  Eric Brissee, Tom Mellecker, and Josh Peterka members of Whitetails Unlimited, Jessica Fitzpatrick, Prairie High School Community Engagement Specialist, Dr Doug Wheeler, District Superintendent and Randy Rumery, Director of the Prairie School Foundation. 

Zio Johno’s Fundraiser is a success for
Prairie Ag Education/FFA

The Zio Johno’s Restaurant on Edgewood Road in Cedar Rapids hosted a fundraiser on March 3rd in support of the Prairie School’s Ag Education/FFA Program to be launched this fall on Prairie’s campus.

Zio Johno’s donated a portion of the day’s proceeds from dine-in, carry-out and delivery orders throughout the day. The result was a donation of $400 from the restaurant plus $104 in cash donations made while Prairie students, planning to enroll in the program, were in the restaurant from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm promoting and distributing materials about the program to diners.

Prairie Students were given permission from State FFA Headquarters to wear t-shirts identifying them as future FFA members.Nike Frese provided the t-shirts that were printed by Ironside Apparel for the event. 

The Prairie School Foundation is partnering with the College Community School District to raise funds that will help launch the Ag Education initiative during its first three years. The foundation and the district thank Eli Khairallah, owner of the restaurant, and the Zio Johno’s staff for a very successful event for the benefit of our Prairie Kids.

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Gifts of appreciated Stock.  A way to benefit while doing good.

 The Prairie School Foundation processed its first gifts of stock as 2017 came to a close.  Because there are several potential benefits, you may want to consider gifts of stock when you choose to support the foundation and our Prairie Kids.  With U.S. stock markets at an all-time high these gifts are perhaps more attractive than ever.

Generally when stock is transferred to a charitable organization, like the Prairie School Foundation, any appreciated gain with that stock transfers with the shares.  The foundation’s policy is to sell the shares as soon as possible upon their receipt.  Because the foundation is a tax-exempt organization it pays no taxes on any gains. 

Here’s how you benefit:

You may receive an income tax deduction for the full current value of the transferred stock based on how you prepare your taxes. 

You will avoid the capital gains tax on the shares you give regardless of how much the stock has appreciated and the tax bracket you are in.

You may avoid the healthcare tax on net investment income determined by how you prepare your taxes.

Here are some examples of how Prairie schools could benefit:

  • The foundation has worked closely with campus leaders to identify priorities that need funds beyond what the tax base can supply.  Here is a sampling of those needs:
  • Reading and literacy are among the highest priorities.  Several projects have been identified ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • A digital sign for the Prairie Point Campus estimated to cost $50,000.
  • An endowment fund for the Therapy Dog program.  A $50,000 fund would yield about $2,500 per year.
  • Buddy Benches for our playgrounds could reduce bullying and loneliness for about $8,000. 

Seek professional advice before making this decision:

Please remember that the Prairie School Foundation does not offer legal, tax or investment advice.  Consult your professional advisor before taking action with these assets.  The benefits listed above may not be applicable in your particular circumstances.  The determination of tax consequences is a matter solely between you and your tax advisors.  If you do determine that a stock transfer is a good idea for you please contact the Prairie School Foundation’s Executive Director, Randy Rumery for assistance with stock transfer documents for the benefit of the Prairie School Foundation.  

Past Articles: 
PSF Director's Visit to Prairie Delta 2019
PSF Supports a New Endeavor 2019
Allocations Committee Meets 2019
Prairie School Foundation Presents a Big Check 2019
Music to Our Ears 2018-2019


Prairie Fest is the Prairie School Foundation’s most popular and…
The Prairie Hawk Golf Challenge is a great way to entertain friends…


Prairie School Foundation
401 76th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-7034
Phone: (319) 848-5200 Ext. 2019