Chardon High School students are no strangers to the desire to serve their community, and the holiday season is certainly no exception. Once again, students are compassionately donating their time in support of the Jeremy’s Kids Christmas initiative, raising funds and purchasing gifts for local families in need.
The Jeremy’s Kids Foundation was established in 2001 in memory of Jeremy Mizen, the son of CHS science teacher Rob Mizen and his wife Dee Mizen. Jeremy tragically passed away in 1999 at the age of six after suffering head trauma from a car accident en route to a Christmas Eve church service.
Upon the establishment of the Foundation, an outpouring of love and compassion was expressed by the community through monetary donations totalling in the thousands of dollars. The growing funds eventually led to the gifting of scholarships in Jeremy’s memory to eight Chardon students several years later, in 2011.
When the scholarship program ended in 2011, Jeremy’s Kids transformed into a holiday gift relief effort for Geauga County families facing financial hardship. For nearly a decade now, the work in Jeremy’s memory has been focused on providing a memorable Christmas for each and every individual served.
Among the CHS organizations that regularly participate in this yearly endeavor are the Chardon Service Learning Class, Interact Club, National Honor Society and Actively Caring for People Club.
Under the leadership of Rob Mizen and CHS math teacher Scott Brown, Hilltopper students are involved in the project’s fundraising, purchasing and distribution activities. With gratitude to the generosity of the community, the Foundation has been able to raise between $6,000 and $10,000 every December.
“Jeremy was the ring bearer in our wedding,” said Scott’s wife Jackie Brown, a Chardon Middle School science teacher. “His time on Earth was cut way too short just a year after our wedding. Because of Scott’s involvement with this initiative since it started, I can tell you that the students at CHS have given so much and helped so many families during the holidays. I have shopped for families with the CHS students and watched the interactions they have with the families who have been on the receiving end of the students’ generosity. Tears flow freely every time from everyone.”
In 2019, Jeremy’s Kids collected nearly $10,000, enabling the program to purchase gifts for 77 individuals in 13 families in Geauga County.
This year, operating amidst the COVID pandemic, Jeremy’s Kids has to rely exclusively on a virtual format. The 2020 online fundraiser was launched on Dec. 3
“The school’s Chardon Service Learning class has developed an amazing website and a GoFundMe link,” said Rob Mizen who serves as an adviser for the class. “The need in Geauga County this year is even higher. Please consider donating to this excellent cause and help make a child have an amazing Christmas. With your help, we can continue this tradition even through the hard times we are experiencing due to COVID.”
Community members are invited to visit the Jeremy’s Kids website to learn more. The website, which includes a link to the 2020 GoFundMe page, can be accessed at https://jeremyskids.weebly.
Wilhelm Retires After 26 Years
Chardon Schools staff member Mark Wilhelm officially hung up his toolbelt and paint brush earlier this month after 26 years of dedicated service to the district.
Hired in October 1994, Wilhelm’s long tenure in the district spanned five years in the custodial department followed by 21 years in the maintenance department. Whether he was lining the field or track for fall and spring sports, making facility repairs or painting, Wilhelm was known in all of the district’s buildings for his can-do work ethic, welcoming disposition, and sense of humor.
While he will certainly be missed by staff and students alike, Chardon Schools wishes him the very best in this next, well-deserved chapter of his life.
“I’m going to miss seeing everyone,” said Wilhelm. “Chardon has been a wonderful experience.”
Raffle Makes for Fun Stocking Stuffers
Chardon Schools, together with the Chardon Athletics department, invites the community to check out a unique stocking stuffer opportunity that is sure to put a smile on the faces of gift recipients while lending support for a new scoreboard at Chardon Memorial Field.
The car raffle, launched in October courtesy of the incredible generosity of Junction Auto Family, showcases a 2020 GMC Terrain, valued at over $29,000. The raffle’s grand prize winner will take home the new GMC Terrain while the second-place winner will receive $500. Proceeds from the raffle are earmarked for the scoreboard.
Raffle tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at https://bit.ly/CLSD_Tickets through Feb. 5, 2021.