In this Issue:
Jim Wagner to be Honored at LEF Breakfast
On September 30, the LEF will honor retired educator and administrator Jim Wagner at its 10th Annual Community Breakfast.
"Not a week goes by that a graduate doesn't give me a call," admits Jim Wagner. Considering Jim retired over 30 years ago, this illustrates the impact he had on his students as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Ladue Horton Watkins High School during his 27-year career there.
Teaching was not in Jim's original life plan. After graduating from high school in 1943, Jim served in the Marine Corps and then went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, to study business. But he soon realized it wasn’t a fit for him. He met with his college advisor, who asked him what he enjoyed, and without hesitating, Jim answered "athletics." Once Jim realized he could parlay his love of physical education into a career in teaching, he switched majors. "Everything just fell into place. My grades got better because I was applying myself," he says.
After graduation, Jim taught at a high school near Cincinnati for ten years. While he loved his job there, an even greater love propelled him to move to St. Louis: his wife of 56 years, Helen. Jim and Helen met on vacation in Ft. Lauderdale and continued a long-distance romance for a few years between Cincinnati and St. Louis, where Helen was working as an administrative assistant to the superintendent of the Ladue School District. On one of his trips to St. Louis, Jim met Helen's boss, who shortly thereafter asked him to come teach at LHWHS. So in 1958, he moved to Ladue, began his first job as a P.E. instructor and remained in the district until he retired from his role of assistant principal in 1985. During his tenure, he also served as a coach for many Ladue Schools teams, including basketball, football, baseball and golf.
"From the first morning I walked into the high school, I knew Ladue was special," he says. "You could just sense it. It was a whole new ballgame for me." Jim's favorite part of teaching was the interaction he had with the students. "I loved seeing them develop and looking for ways to help them," he says. "At that time, we didn't have counselors, so kids went to the teachers. I wasn't just a coach on the field, I was a coach in their lives. We built good relationships, and the students knew we as teachers were always there for them." READ MORE
*Jim moved into his role as assistant principal in 1969, where his sense of the exceptionalness of the district grew even more. "Once I moved into the administration role, I got to know the teaching staff so much better. I got to sit in the classrooms and observe the teachers, and I knew I was working with a very professional group of people who wanted to make Ladue excellent," he says. "Ladue is respected all over, not just in Missouri," he continues. "It is noted for the teachers, administrators and leaders. Those are the people who are going to make a difference, and at Ladue, they are outstanding in every department."
Jim recalls his days there as busy ones. "As assistant principal, I walked the halls and sat in the classrooms. I knew everything that went on because I was involved in the day-to-day," he says. His involvement was not limited to the workday, as he made it a point to support the sports teams, as well. "I attended all the games--basketball, baseball and football," he says.
Not only did Jim guide his students while they were in school, it was his goal to prepare them for college and life after high school. "Whenever I run into graduates, I ask them if Ladue prepared them for college, and I've never gotten a negative response. Our students were able to take their place at any university, which is a tribute to the school and the teachers."
Jim continued his involvement in the district even after he retired, co-founding the Ladue Schools Alumni Association. He continues to be honored at the high school with a Scholar Athlete Award in his name, and for many years, he made it a point to take the recipients of the award to lunch to celebrate their success.
Even though it's clear that the Ladue School District has greatly benefitted from Jim's association, he is quick to deflect any praise, preferring instead to highlight the contributions of others. "I have always been proud to work at Ladue and honored to be there," he says. "I learned a lot from my association with the district, and I was lucky to learn from them," he says.
Judging from his legacy and the continuing relationships he has with so many students and teachers, we are the lucky ones.
For more information and to register for the Annual Breakfast, see this link.
Click here to make a donation in Jim’s name or email us a quote about Jim!
Funding the Gap in the High School Renovation
The LEF’s Capital Campaign for the renovation of LHWHS continues…
Last April, our generous community supported the $85 million bond referendum, which will renovate the high school with a focus on academic spaces. Now the LEF is continuing our campaign to help complete the total campus project, which includes enrichment areas and athletic facilities.
Building on the momentum of the initial phase of our campaign, in which we secured nearly $2 million in pledges from our lead donors, the LEF is now moving into phase two, bringing naming rights and opportunities, large and small, to our supporters, alumni and district families. We invite the community to be a part of this important event in our district's history! Naming rights are still available for classrooms, a ‘green’ roof, outdoor seating, and more.
You can be a part of LHWHS history and order an inscribed brick that will be installed at the renovated high school campus! Two choices are available:
Small Commemorative Brick: (4” x 8”) $350 (or $250 each for two or more)
Large Commemorative Brick: (8” x 8”) $600
Information about the bricks, including inscription options, is available at this link and by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine the Possibilities…and Mind our Gap!
'Due Run 4 Education Encourages Individuals and Teams
Last year, the Class of 2022 and Class of 2024 both organized groups to participate in the ‘Due Run, helping raise over $11,000 for the LEF's support of world-class educational and enrichment opportunities.
The LEF hopes to increase team participation at this year's 'Due Run on October 1, with prizes awarded to the team with the largest registered participants and the team with the most Ladue Schools spirit.
"We're encouraging more classes to organize and run together," says LEF Development Chair Amy Barnett. "It's a great way to spread school spirit and showcase it to the entire community. And the kids have a blast."
The LEF has made it easier this year to register as a team online without the necessity of mailing in a check or registration form. For a $75 donation, participants can register to be part of a team made up of a few friends or an entire class. If a team raises over $1,000, they will be listed on the official race t-shirt.
Individual registrations are available as well at this link.
Saturday, October 1 at 8:30 a.m.
Ladue Horton Watkins High School
After the run/walk, the festivities will continue at the finish line, with attendance prizes, music, food and drinks. Please continue to enjoy homecoming festivities throughout the day.
Register now to secure your spot, guarantee your t-shirt, and save $5 on fees! Early bird registration available until September 18.
REGISTER AS AN INDIVIDUAL
REGISTER AS PART OF A TEAM
Downloadable Registration Form
$15/person (Ages 13+)
$10/person (Ages 2-12)
Free under age 2
*price will increase $5/pp
after September 18
The ‘Due Run 4 Education is a community-wide event supporting the Ladue Education Foundation’s mission of advancing the excellence of the Ladue School District by expanding opportunities for student success. Sponsorship is a crucial source of funding for the LEF.
SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
LEF's Tenth Anniversary Brings Increased Engagement
Ten years ago, the Ladue Education Foundation was formed by a group of parents who wanted to enhance an already excellent school district by providing support for programs and community partnerships that couldn’t be realized through traditional school district funding alone.
Since then, the LEF has funded over a hundred grants totalling almost $400,000 in everything from robotics to character education and touching every school in the district.
This past school year, we stepped up our efforts with the help of over a hundred volunteers, with outstanding results.
We’ve got some great stuff ahead, too:
- Our events saw record attendance. The ‘Due Run for Education had a 68% increase in participation, with families from the classes of 2022 and 2024 even forming teams.
- Our spring event, Rhythm & Hues, brought in enough support to fund 33 music teacher wishes, amounting to $36,000.
- And the first phase of our Capital Campaign raised almost $2 million in pledges to support the high school renovation.
It’s going to be a great year, and we hope you’ll join us at the Community Breakfast on September 30 and the ‘Due Run on October 1.
- We’re continuing our Capital Campaign, with naming rights and opportunities to buy bricks and other items that will help close the gap between the bond referendum and the total amount needed to complete the entire campus renovation.
- We’ve got our Annual Community Breakfast coming up on September 30. If you’ve never been it’s a great way to connect with the community, hear from Dr. Jahnke about what’s going on with the district, and we’ll have other great speakers as well for our tenth anniversary celebration.
- That’s followed by the ‘Due Run on October 1 and a family-friendly event on November 6 with the the Harlem Wizards basketball team.
Thank you for supporting us these last ten years and for helping us give our students these academic and enrichment opportunities.