To The Editor:
With the upcoming WINGS celebration at Elks Lodge Sept. 30, my fond memories of the creation and development of the Foundation come into sharper focus. It is appropriate that Andrea Rau is honored for her important role and long record of service. I congratulate Andrea for the Community Contributor Award. Congrats also to Carolyn Shotwell for the Educator Award and to Rocky Sickmann for the Alumni Award.
Karen Cernich wrote an informative article about the history of the WINGS Foundation in the April 10 edition of the Washington Missourian. The Missourian’s editorial on April 17 was written with inside, expert analysis and an understanding of the evolvement of this excellent educational foundation. Few K-12 foundations, none of which I am aware, match the influence, power and positive effect of WINGS. While the written stories have been stellar, there is at least one correction that should be made in the records of The Missourian and in the archival records of WINGS itself.
The name WINGS was developed in 1996 or 1997 during my tenure as superintendent of schools. The date of the name change was incorrectly reported as 2002. In the mid-1990s we researched many choices for a change in the name of our beloved “School District of Washington Foundation for Educational Excellence.” The original name was a mouthful and Foundation members discussed how we might find a more catchy name. We took considerable time to arrive at the current title of WINGS.
We consulted a private firm which specialized in such things and some of us traveled at our own expense to visit other institutions with worthy foundations. Given several choices at early morning meetings, the Foundation voted with enthusiasm to adopt the name of WINGS.
With assistance to our students and recognition of exemplary teachers as our prime goals, the WINGS board of directors continued to meet in the early morning at least once a month on the top floor of the Locust Street office building. The name had changed but the mission was as focused as ever. The rest is history.