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Principal honored with new scholarship fund

Bonnie Schlais to end tenure at Randall Elementary after closure

By Joe Petrie Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA – As Randall Elementary School finishes up its final year as a traditional school, parents, students and staff are saying goodbye to the school community that has been in place for decades.

The closure and repurposing of the school also means the tenure of Randall Principal Bonnie Schlais will come to an end as she will move to Hillcrest Elementary School in the 2010-11 school year. But before she can leave, Randall staff and families are working to honor her forever with the establishment of the Bonnie Schlais Scholarship Fund.

“She has serviced the community for more than 43 years and we thought it would be a wonderful way to honor her,” Randall fourth-grade teacher Denise Jaeger said. “It’s a wonderful way to honor her years in education and her work.”

The scholarship will be run through the Waukesha Education Foundation and will award students money to pay for post-secondary education. David Schultz, president of the Waukesha County Community Foundation, which handles the money for WEF, said the awards will be given in preference to students at any of the three Waukesha School District high schools that attended Randall or Saratoga Elementary School.

Although the fund was only started about a month ago, Schultz said more than 100 donations have come in, many which are from former and current Randall staff and families.

“For me that’s evidence of how much respect these donors have for Bonnie Schlais and her commitment to the schools,” he said. “The whole thing is just a great story.”

Randall parent Kris Lombardi, who organized the scholarship with Jaeger, said they are close to the $10,000 goal needed to begin offering the scholarship to students as soon as 2011.

“Randall is kind of a unique, eclectic school with a lot of different personalities and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of,” Lombardi said. “I’ve really appreciated her desire to try and do different things to get everyone to excel.”

Schlais said she has been taken aback by the whole idea of doing a scholarship in her name and is honored to receive such a gift.

“It was just an awesome idea,” she said. “Like Hallmark says, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Donations can be sent to WEF, 2727 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 122, Waukesha, WI 53188. Be sure to indicate that is the Bonnie Schlais Scholarship Fund.

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