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              Welcome to

    Kewanee Schools

          Foundation

For over twenty years, the mission of the Foundation has been to strengthen the education and extra-curricular opportunities of district students by generating financial support and leadership through our alumni and community.

Since 1990, the Foundation has supported its mission by providing financial resources for:

  • new facilities,
  • educational materials,
  •   teacher training,
  • college scholarships,
  • community cultural events,
  •  landscaping and other projects that enhance the beauty and learning atmosphere of the district’s schools.

Please click HERE to access the "How You Can Help" section to find out the wide variety of ways in which you can be part of this very important mission!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

TWIRLERS TAKING THE FIELD ONCE AGAIN TO HONOR THEIR TEACHER

By Dave Clarke – Star Courier Around town

Kneeling left to right:  Kelly Lashbrook Palen, Lisa Urquiza, Autumn Ebens Janey, Kim Brackett Sellers and Lisa Kelly.  Standing are Pam Watson Verway, Connie Mahnesmith Nyert, Connie Verstraete  Younglove, Mrs. Fulton, Dianne Schiltz DeMay, Anne Welch Churchill and Brenda Miller Kegebein.  Missing is Sue Parrish VanDeVelde.

When I was a freshman at Western Illinois University in the fall of 1967, I joined the Marching Leathernecks. I continued my high school band career playing snare drum.  Leading off the band, right behind the drum major, were three baton twirlers. One I knew, although I don't think she knew me. I was a lowly freshman and she a big senior, but we were from the same town — Kewanee.  She was Mary Kay Guthrie, WIU's Golden Girl, as the lead baton twirler was called. Larger than life, she brought the band onto the field in her gold sequined outfit, long legs kicking high as she marched and her baton twirling so high and fast you could hardly see it. Heads turned, hearts stopped and the crowd cheered wildly.

Now Mary Kay Fulton, and a retired Kewanee teacher, the former WIU Golden Girl will be remembered and honored by a dozen of the women she taught, all former baton twirlers with the Kewanee High School Marching Boilermakers, as part of a KHS Alumni Band set to perform with the current band during the halftime of the homecoming football game.


When I arrived at the tennis courts at Windmont Park Monday night to take a photo of the group at a practice session, I planned on surprising the teacher with my "Mary Kay moment" from our WIU days, but she beat me to it, reminding me I was in the drum line right behind the twirlers and in a parade.
She said they always gave a graceful glance backward after catching a baton on the march to get back in step by checking the drummers. I was glad to know after all these years that the Golden Girl and the two Silver Girls who accompanied her secretly relied on the percussion section to stay in step.
 

This group of KHS alumni twirlers graduated between 1973 and 1999 and all were taught by Mary Kay. Mrs. Fulton. She formed a group called the Fulton Flashettes, which became the Mary Kay-ettes and at one time included up to 200 students of various ages and ability levels.   The twirlers became more than features in front of the band and competition became a big part of the activity. Mary Kay's students included 10 national and 25 state U.S. Twirling Association champions.


So who taught Mary Kay? Turns out she mostly taught herself.  She grew up on a farm north of Annawan and said when she was about four her mother saw that she kept twirling a stick. It's not known if she saw someone doing it, but more likely she was expressing a natural talent.  Her mother signed her up for a charm school in Kewanee where dance, tap, baton twirling and modeling were taught, but that didn't satisfy her. She then went to the Kewanee Public Library and found books on baton twirling and taught herself.


When she got to Kewanee High School, band director L. J. Bert put her, and several other girls who could twirl, in front of the Marching Boilermakers.  Her 1964 senior Kewanite yearbook includes a photo of a squad of eight baton twirlers including Mary Kay, who is listed as captain.
 

When she got to Macomb, Dr. Forrest Suycott, director of bands at WIU, auditioned her and set her on the path to becoming the school's iconic Golden Girl.  A book published in 2009 found on Google about the history of Western from the beginning to the present day, by Jeffrey W. Hancks and Adam Carey, tells how "Long part of the WIU marching band show, baton twirling expanded in the 1960s with the addition of the Golden Girls and Silver Girls ensemble." The entry, on page 55, is accompanied by a black and white photo of four unidentified WIU Golden and Silver Girls from the 1960’s in the classic knee-up pose and — guess what — one of them is Kewanee's Mary Kay!
After graduating from WIU she came back home and started a 44-year career as an elementary school teacher in 1968 and married Don Fulton. She retired in 2011. Mary Kay began teaching baton to younger girls while still in high school and continued after college.  She said through teaching baton all those years a connection developed with her students which continues today with many former twirlers including those returning for Friday night's halftime show.


It is also worth noting that there are probably few, if any, towns of this size that have produced as many baton twirlers as Kewanee, thanks to Mary Kay Fulton.  Unfortunately, we are told she will be on vacation and unable to attend Friday night's alumni performance, but there are 12 women who will be there to represent her and show what an influence she was on theirs and the lives of so many other young women.

GREAT DANE, GEORGE OUART NAMED 2014 KHS HONORARY BOILERMAKERS
Kewanee’s largest employer — Great Dane — and former KHS head of maintenance George Ouart were honored as the 2014 Honorary Boilermakers during the homecoming festivities on October 10, 2014.
Great Dane Corp.
Under the leadership of plant manager Chuck Kunz, Great Dane has been a great supporter of education and athletics in the Kewanee School District. To date, the company has donated more than $125,000 to the district.
Kewanee High School currently houses the Great Dane computer training center and the Great Dane strength training center. Great Dane has donated to the fine arts program at KHS with a custom-made storage trailer that houses backdrops, props, sets and G.I. boxes.
Great Dane also has donated welding supplies to Kewanee’s CTE program.
Along with these donations, Great Dane and Kunz have purchased the cardio equipment that is being used in the strength training center.
George Ouart
Ouart worked for the Kewanee School District as the head of maintenance from 1985-2002.
He would maintain, repair, mow, clean, and even drive a bus in order to make sure that children of the district would have a safe and clean place to come and learn. Ouart’s service to KHS didn’t end with his retirement in 2002. He continued to run the clock at games and wrestling meets.
He is a 1953 graduate of Neponset High School and celebrated his 58th wedding anniversary with his wife, Betty, last summer. All five of their children — Tim (1976), Angie (1978), Jenny (1980), Bob and Bonnie (1983) — graduated from KHS.
 

 

Construction is well under way on the expansion of the biology, chemistry, and art rooms at Kewanee High School!

 

Lyle School is getting new restrooms this summer!

For more pictures of the progress of these school additions, go to "Photo Gallery" and click on School Additions 2014.

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