Karla Wingard

Karla's Photos

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Meet Karla Wingard from Rising City, Nebraska

You don’t have to be a teacher to be part of our Teachers’ Month. Karla Wingard works as an office manager in the small town of Rising City, Nebraska. Did I say small? The population is 390! Karla has requested $25,000 to help the town’s K-12 school where her two children attend. She says the school is in dire need of a makeover. Karla plans to provide everything from updated computers for the teachers, new books for the library, new uniforms and equipment for the sports teams, new band instruments for the music department, update the weight room, and new stoves for the home ec. department. Whew! What a great makeover this will be for the entire school.

Diary Starts Here

October 27th, 2009
Karla sent us an email...

"Here is a picture of the greenhouse the school was able to get thanks to the Jenny Jones Foundation. Sorry it took me this long to get you this photo. There is a story behind the greenhouse. The greenhouse was put up during the summer by one of our teachers and some students the school hires to do work around the school during the summer months. It took them the majority of the day to put the greenhouse together. Because of this, there was no time to anchor the building down for the night. That night, we had a ‘freak’ wind storm blow through. It is guessed that the winds reached between 70 – 75 miles an hour (I actually woke up when this was happening and thought a tornado was coming through town). Needless to say, since the greenhouse was not tied down it did not fair the storm well. We were able to turn it into the school insurance to get a replacement building so this is actually a picture of the second building.

Thanks again to the foundation for providing us the funds to purchase the greenhouse."

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July 15th, 2009
Here's a picture of Karla with her Jenny's Heroes plaque.

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January 9th, 2009
Karla sent us some photos of the kids using the new school items she purchased...

click the image to see a slideshow

November 6th, 2008
Well, it looks like the makeover is starting at the school. Karla tells us that they have ordered lots of goodies, including sports equipment, storage cabinets, a world map, easels, games, toys, mp3 players, file cabinets, privacy shields, a greenhouse, a digital piano, a saxophone & flute for the music room, digital cameras, and HD TVs. It sure sounds like a good Christmas!

September 21st, 2008
It's clear that we are not the only ones calling Karla a hero. Here are two an emails I received from Rising City's teachers...

"Jenny, thanks so much for the gift of $25,000 for our school. It is so cool that Karla wrote for our school. So many people just talk about doing things but Karla took action and DID something. She is a hero for our school and our community."
Suzanne Schultz,
Rising City Kindergarten and First grade teacher

"Jenny, thank you SO MUCH for approving Karla's grant application for Rising City School. The money you awarded Karla will help make so many needed improvements in our school. You have no idea how much this means to all of us. I wish you could have been in the room and seen her face when she realized it was you on the phone.

Karla is one of the biggest supporters of the school. She really goes the extra mile. Not only is she a school board member, but she works with Kathy Parsley on the school newsletter, and with another parent, Mary Sutton, on the school yearbook. She also puts together programs for plays and concerts, just because she wants to help. These are just some of her volunteer activities on top of her full-time job over 60 miles away from Rising.

I am in my third year teaching at Rising and truly love our students and our school! I graduated from Rising City many years ago...in fact, Karla and I were classmates. :) I chose to go to to school at Rising when I started high school, and have chosen to come back as a teacher now. The money you awarded Karla will help all of us teachers dream big. Again, thank you for your support of our school!"
Kristen Wilton
7-12 English / Speech and Drama

September 15th, 2008
Here is Karla's description of how her surprise phone call went down: "On my drive home Monday evening, Mr. Derr (our school Principal) called me and said he would like to get a meeting set-up with the school board President and myself sometime on Wednesday. The meeting was set for 4:30 on Wednesday. As I drove up to the school, Dan Potter, President of the school board and Mr. Derr were standing outside of the building talking. We went into Mr. Derr's office and started to discuss some things. Mr. Derr mentioned he was waiting for a call from the Department of Education so he may need to excuse himself for a little bit when they did call. The 'call' came and he excused himself. Dan and I sat in his office for a little bit longer talking before Mr. Derr came back into the office and asked for both of us to come with him for a moment. As we stepped out of his office into the library area, I was greeted by the majority of our teachers and staff members. Mr. Derr was standing beside the telephone and asked me to come over and at that time I saw the Jenny Jones website up on his computer so I started to get a small hope of what was going to happen. It was at that time Jenny came on the phone and let me know some of the greatest news I have ever heard. I am so excited and overwhelmed in thinking about all of the things that we will be able to purchase for the school with this money."

We are always flexible about heroes' purchases so Karla has decided to ask each teacher to create a 'wish' list. Karla says this grant will make a big impact on the school and she wants to make sure they had some input on things that are purchased. That sounds like a great idea. And make sure you check out the photos of her two beautiful children.

September 11th, 2008
Soon after I hung up the phone with Karla yesterday, I received an email that just reaffirms why giving these grants is so meaningful to me. It came from Kathy Parsley...

"Jenny, I wanted to thank you for donating $25,000.00 to the Rising City Public School. My husband has taught math at Rising City for 25 years. Our son went to Rising City from K-12 grades. I have been employed at the school for the last ten years. You really have no idea what this means to our school. Thank you so much!"

September 10th, 2008
I gave Karla the good news today and with principal Michael Derr's help, it came as a big surprise. He asked Karla to come in for a "school board meeting" and I called into the meeting which was attended by other teachers, staff, and local press. School secretary, Sue, took my call beforehand and we had time to chat so I learned that Rising City Public School was established in 1893 and the building they occupy now was built in 1926. It's the only school in town and some students even come there from nearby cities because the classes are smaller. Karla told me her two children who attend the school are her 5-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. We talked about the list of items she'd be providing and I think Karla is going to make a huge difference for this community. I could hear people applauding in the room. The last thing I told her was "Happy shopping."

9/10/08: Jenny & Damon wrote... "Congratulations on becoming a part of our special Teachers' Month, and for the huge difference you'll be making at the school."

9/10/08: Billie wrote... "This is so AWESOME!!!!!!!!! The school is very lucky to have dedicated people like you. Congrats, Karla"

9/11/08: Lorna Wescoatt wrote... "This is such exciting news! You have worked so hard to try and keep things up-beat and possible for the school. I know how much pride you have in the school we attended, and looking forward for your kids to graduate from the same school!! Keep up the great work, you are truly appreciated!! Love you sis....... Lorna"

9/11/08: Katrina Christiansen wrote... "Great job, Karla! What a great way to help your school and community!"

9/11/08: Audray Ramaekers wrote... "Congratulations, Rising City! What a wonderful opportunity for your town and your children. Karla, fantastic job! Way to take the bull by the horns. You are an inspiration."

9/15/08: John Schoenrock wrote... "Congratulations on winning this grant! I wished you could have seen the look on the students’ faces when they learned about it. They quickly realized how much this will help the school and how they will directly benefit from your efforts. You certainly brightened their day as well as the faculty at RCPS. There is no way to measure how much the students and the town appreciate this! Again, a huge thank you to both you and Jenny Jones. Go Terriers!!!"