Dedicated to education: Rudoy family continues legacy

Celebrate Education doled out more than $49,000 in grants to our communities’ excellent educators and schools on Monday (3/12/16) during an event attended by nearly 200 people at the Oshkosh Convention Center.

A good portion of these dollars are thanks to the Rudoy family — four generations of which have supported education in Oshkosh for 20-plus years.

It all started with Edward and Belle Rudoy. At the age of 12, Edward and his family escaped Russia. Along the way, they were assisted by strangers. Edward never forgot their generosity and selflessness.

Edward and Belle Rudoy established the Rudoy Awards for Teaching Excellence in 1997 when they created an endowment fund to support education in Oshkosh. Edward and Belle passed away within three months of each other in 2007.

During his life, Edward was a successful businessman, as president and founder of Sadoff and Rudoy Industries, and a community philanthropist. He served and led many area nonprofit organizations and made contributions to support them.

In 1997, Edward and Belle created an Endowment Fund at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, establishing the Rudoy Awards for Teaching Excellence.

His example of civic pride and generosity has inspired succeeding generations of his family to do the same.

“My grandfather’s formal educational experience ended after eighth grade,” Bradford Lasky told the audience on Monday. “He would recall a teacher who made an impression on him by opening his world through time, patience, and education.”

Each year the Edward and Belle Rudoy Fund awards teachers from Oshkosh middle schools or high schools with grants for classroom supplies or professional development.

Recipients for this award must meet the following criteria:

  • They must use innovative or creative teaching methods
  • They must be involved in extracurricular activities
  • They must be involved in community activities.
This year’s Rudoy Awards for Teaching Excellence recipients.

This year, teachers from high schools were awarded with a total of $15,500 in grants. Recipients are:

Paul Trader has served at Lourdes Academy for more than 30 years and teaches ninth through 12th grade biology. Paul connects with his students through exciting research trips around the country, by being a mentor that prepares them for life after high school and creating a fun environment for learning.

Rick Duncan has served at Lourdes Academy for the past five years of his 15-year career as a 10th – 12th grade religion teacher. Rick has been described as the ultimate team player, volunteering to supervise activities, being a spiritual leader for his students and strategizing new ways for students to be more engaged in classroom discussion and debate.

Doug Michie has been teaching for 29 years at Oshkosh North High School. Doug teaches ninth through 12th grade physics and biology. He has the dedication, pride and excitement that gets students interested in his innovative classroom projects such as hovercraft experiments, egg drops, bowling ball experiments and more.

Linda Geffers has taught at Oshkosh West High School for 17 years as the ninth through 12th grade art education teacher. Linda has a knack for connecting with her students in a positive way; she researches new teaching techniques to engage her students, acts as a mentor, a supporter and a friend.

Andrew Shaller has been teaching ninth through 12th grade social studies for four years at Oshkosh West. Andrew uses debates, roll play and other activities to engage his students. He also started a mock trial program that has been so successful, its participation has doubled within the last year.

Brett Hartman has taught English classes at Oshkosh West for the past three years. Brett uses creative lesson plans to make assigned readings more relatable for his students. He also coaches soccer and track, and plans to receive a Master’s degree in English at UW-Oshkosh.

Jeanne Gutierrez has been an English teacher at Valley Christian for nearly 10 years. Jeanne takes opportunities to volunteer tutor after hours, host lunch time Bible studies and works one-on-one with students in the Study Smart Program.

Martha Wahl has a passion for science and mathematics that simply can’t be beat. She’s created a new, unpaid class called “Adventures in Science.” She can be found helping at nearly every athletic event and even her prep times are used for the benefit of her students.

Becca Jepson teaches several different math classes at Valley Christian and is a fan of using technology to help further her students’ knowledge. In her spare time, she oversees young ladies struggling through the perils of school, meets with students after hours to elevate their math knowledge and continues to be an excellent role model.

In addition to our teacher awards, the Edward and Belle Rudoy Endowment Fund supports our schools with technology grants as well. Technology grants this year were provided to Oshkosh West High School and Lourdes Academy.

Oshkosh West High School plans to provide opportunities for students to engage in the 4C’s: critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity, through the use of video recording equipment, a student Makerspace and Engineering Playground, collaboration stations and more.

Lourdes Academy will support the implementation of Project Lead the Way’s Computer Science Pathway, a program that increases student interest in STEM careers. The grant will provide new computers and tablets.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!

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