Hilltopper Community Outreach
With craft materials and writing utensils in hand, Chardon Schools families have found a way to reach out to those in need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, as well as parents, guardians, and students’ younger siblings, are using their artistic and writing talents to show their support for senior citizens and front lines workers in the community.
By participating in the Geauga County Department on Aging’s Art and Letters from the Heart project, Hilltoppers are pouring their hearts into creating artwork and notes for senior citizens in local assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, as well as for local seniors who are home-bound during this time.
William Phillips, the community outreach and marketing coordinator for the Department on Aging, reached out to Chardon Schools on Mar. 24 to invite the district’s students to participate in the program.
“The Geauga County Department on Aging needed some uplifting artwork and letters from our local school students to bring a little sunshine to our seniors,” said Phillips. “We have started sharing the art, and it is fantastic.”
At the time of this writing, Hilltoppers of all ages had created over 85 pieces of artistic cheer for senior citizens.
Similarly, Chardon Schools families have been busy creating artistic pieces for the Love our Geauga Lifesavers project, which is the thoughtful brainchild of Maura Schnauffer, a retired caregiver and Chardon resident. Through Schnauffer’s Love our Geauga Lifesavers initiative, Chardon Schools students are putting pencils and markers to paper to create uplifting messages, pictures, and notes of gratitude for staff members at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center.
“In these most uncertain times, from the comfort of my home, I watch my neighbor, a registered nurse at UH Geauga, leave the safety and sanctuary of her home to face an invisible enemy,” Schnauffer wrote to Chardon Schools on Apr 1. “I give a pep talk to my friend who is a nurse in the emergency room at UH Geauga as she drives into the battle zone. I cannot sit here and do nothing.”
Schnauffer reached out to Chardon Schools stating she felt a need to somehow communicate to the nurses, doctors, housekeepers, maintenance administrators, food service, and every single person who steps into that hospital that we love them, support them, and appreciate their unselfish commitment and sacrifice every day.
Through both the Art and Letters from the Heart and Love our Geauga Lifesavers community outreach projects, Chardon Schools students are able to help make a positive difference in the community while staying safely at home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Families take photographs of students’ artwork and letters and send those images through email to the district, which then shares them digitally to the two different programs.
By sharing digitally versus collecting the actual artwork, Chardon Schools takes comfort in knowing it is doing its part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Digital sharing avoids an exchange of handheld materials and trips outside the home.
As of the time of this writing, nearly 60 digital images of Hilltopper artwork and letters had been sent to the Love our Geauga Lifesavers project.
“Thank you to all the artists from Chardon Local Schools,” said Schnauffer of the students’ creations for Love our Geauga Lifesavers. “Your talents are inspiring all of the people that work at UH Geauga.”
Chardon Schools families may continue to email submissions for both projects to the district’s Communications Director, Kelly Misch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants are asked to mark the subject line with either Art from the Heart or Love our Lifesavers, or both if desired, to facilitate digital delivery to the two programs. To avoid the added step of third-party photo release forms, the district asks that photos of students are not included in the images.
Community members interested in learning more about Love our Geauga Lifesavers and viewing some of the artwork that has been shared may visit the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/loveourgeaugalifesavers.
Light up the Night
On Apr. 16, Chardon Schools hosted a Light up the Night event dedicated to the district’s more than 50 Class of 2020 students who were on the roster for lacrosse, tennis, track and field, baseball or softball and had been looking forward to their final spring athletics season as Hilltoppers. At the time of the Light up the Night event, the spring season still remained in a state of uncertainty due to OHSAA postponements necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Class of 2020 athletic event was designed as a “drive-by” parade open house in order to ensure adherence to State of Ohio social distancing mandates related to COVID-19.
For three hours, the Memorial Field stadium lights shone brightly as many from the Hilltopper community came out while staying safely in their vehicles. Attendees drove along a path to view the recently hung senior sport banners that were generously sponsored by Pastor Photography, Chardon Athletic Boosters, and Chardon Smile.
“We had over 300 cars all honoring our senior spring athletes,” said Chardon Schools Athletics Director Doug Snyder.
Parents openly expressed gratitude for the Light up the Night event via Chardon Schools’ Facebook page.
“Thank you for arranging this for our seniors and their families,” wrote Sandy Schultz. “It means a lot to all of us.”
Sandy’s daughter, Katarina Schultz, is a Chardon Schools senior who was looking forward to the spring season of track and field along with teammate senior Cassidy Robinson and many others.
“Thank you for putting up all their banners this week and setting up this night to honor them,” wrote Cassidy’s mom, Jennifer Robinson. “It was a gorgeous night.”
Just a few short days after the Light up the Night event, the OHSAA officially cancelled the spring athletics season in response to Governor Mike DeWine’s Apr. 20 announcement to keep the State’s school buildings closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.
“We all wish things could have gone differently, especially for seniors,” Snyder wrote to the Hilltopper community on Twitter on Apr. 20. “In spite of anticipating this, there is still a great sense of loss at the finality of the official announcement. More information will follow in the near future. For now, please know we are thinking of you.”
Registration Underway for 2020-21
Enrollment is underway for new, incoming Chardon Local Schools students for the 2020-21 school year. Parents and guardians are invited to visit the registration page of chardonschools.org to initiate the enrollment process for students entering grades pre-Kindergarten through 12 in the fall.
Note that, at this time, the district is not scheduling in-person appointments for the 2020-21 school year. Chardon Schools kindly asks that after completing the online enrollment form, parents and guardians follow the additional instructions on the registration page for using email, fax or regular mail to submit required documents.
Questions regarding enrollment can be directed to Corine Casalina at email@example.com.
Board of Education Meeting Available for Replay
The Chardon Board of Education held its regular board meeting on Apr. 20. The meeting was conducted virtually and live streamed to YouTube.
Community members are invited to access the video replay of the meeting in its entirety via the district’s YouTube channel, CLSDTV. Meeting agendas can be accessed via the BoardDocs link on the Board of Education page of the chardonschools.org website.