Four months after the passing of Chuck Orvold, members of the Whitefish Bay Middle School community have come up with a way to ensure the former associate principal's values will be instilled in students for years to come.
Orvold passed away in October due to complications associated with pancreatic cancer. He served as associate principal for 22 years.
The Mr. O Scholarship would be an annual $500 scholarship granted to two Whitefish Bay seniors at the awards convocation ceremony each spring. High school and middle school teachers would both provide input into deciding which students are most worthy of the scholarship money.
"We wanted to reflect the attributes that Chuck modeled every day: kindness respect and fairness," said Middle School Principal Amy Levek. "No matter the student, they will be able to relate to those values."
One scholarship recipient will represent the long-standing dedication Orvold demonstrated to the district. This recipient will be a student who "shows a deep commitment to the Whitefish Bay Schools, consistently supports others through positive peer relationships, has a strong sense of self, and whose pride in their education is felt by all," according to Levek.
The second recipient will be someone who has shown significant personal growth, both personally and academically. This student may have been someone who would have worked with Orvold during their time at the Middle School, found great benefit from his mentorship and guidance, and eventually realized the personal potential Orvold saw in them all along.
"It seemed very natural to honor Chuck and the students he worked with, and would have worked with, in attaining money for a scholarship," Levek said. "He worked with a lot of turnaround kids who realized their potential by the end of their high school careers."
An anonymous donor has already pledged $2,000 to get the scholarship started. The fundraising committee hopes to raise as much as $30,000, which would provide a principal investment large enough so the scholarship can continue to draw from the interest yielded.
An artistic tribute to Mr. O
Orvold touched many students' lives during his 22-year career at Whitefish Bay Middle School, and now those students will be able to express the values he instilled in them through their own art work that will be displayed in the school's entryway.
Whitefish Bay parent Katie Commer thought a tile wall mural would be a fitting way to remember the beloved teacher, known by students as "Mr. O." The tile mural will be composed of 240 6-inch-by-6-inch tiles that will span an 11'8"-by-5'3" area in the middle school entrance way. Students can purchase a tile for $10 and paint something that reflects Orvold's values of respect, fairness, taking responsibility for one's actions, kindness and more.
The artistic tribute will be known as the "Just Be Nice" tile wall.
"We have opened it up to middle school and high school families so far, because those are the families that know him best," Commer said. "We also want to open it up to everyone else in the community."
The $10 tile cost will raise enough money to cover the cost of the project. Students and parents are invited to come paint the tiles on March 5th and 6th, and after the tiles are put through the kiln, they will be installed by local artist Ann Wydeven by April 13th.
How you can help
If you are interested in purchasing a tile, you can download this participation form and mail it to Whitefish Bay Middle School, 1144 E. Henry Clay, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217 Attn: Tile Wall.
Next to the artistic display will be a plaque naming future Mr. O Scholarship recipients.
If you are interested in making a donation to the Mr. O scholarship fund, checks may be made payable to the Whitefish Bay School District and sent to Mr. Bill Barbeau at Whitefish Bay High School, 1200 E. Fairmount Ave., Whitefish Bay, WI 53211.