The Clement L. Buenger Award for Leadership in Education honors a member of our community who is strongly committed to ensuring all children and youth succeed academically. 2015 marked the fifth year the award has been presented, and this year it went to Felicity resident Tracy Foley.
A full-time school volunteer, Mrs. Foley has been involved in the community for several years in efforts including with the Girl Scouts, PTO and as a classroom assistant at Felicity-Franklin Schools. Her most significant activity has been organizing after-school clubs through the Felicity Middle School Caring Parent Council. The interest-based clubs, which received expansion funds from United Way, are offered at no cost to all students in fifth through eighth grades. She develops activities, provides snacks and materials, coordinates schedules, and anything else that is needed. One in five students participated in at least one after-school club since they began last year.
“Many of the students who participate in clubs would never get to participate in such activities if they were not offered in this way,” says Angela Broadwell, the Felicity-Franklin teacher who nominated Mrs. Foley.
"Brag tags" and march madness
Foley has also fostered a love for reading among sixth grade language arts students, starting "brag tags" and March Madness reading programs. Each time a student read a book and completed a book report they received a "brag tag", to be displayed on their necklace. March brought Mrs. Foley's most successful idea, when she came up with the idea to create March Madness reading brackets. The project motivated students to do additional reading as they latched onto the sports theme and picked up books. “It was a huge success as students begged to do another 'round' of the bracket,” says Mrs. Broadwell.
“Mrs. Foley devotes her full time to volunteering at the school. She is in a classroom almost every day of the week, many days leading after school clubs. She gets paid $0 for the work she does here, but yet devotes the time required of a full time job!”
Foley's efforts to help build literacy skills and provide a healthy after school environment are helping prepare youth for success in school and life, part of the Bold Goals for Our Region.
The Buenger Award is named after Clement L. Buenger, who served as the president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank for more than 10 years, and also led what became known as the Buenger Commission, which developed a report outlining recommendations for improving Cincinnati Public Schools. Buenger was a long-time United Way volunteer and supporter who chaired the 1981 United Way Campaign.