Giving back

Richland High School key club advisor Virgil Wenturine, guidance counselor Nicole Crowell, Superintendent Arnold Nadonley, Richland School District Foundation President Kim Mock, Richland Township Fire Department deputy chief Robert Heffelfinger Jr., department president Bill Lehmann, Victim Services Inc. CEO Mike Oliver and Richland IT administrator and foundation board member Jimmy Grandas gather for a photo of money raised by district staff to support community organizations on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Representatives from several local groups gathered Wednesday at Richland High School for a special presentation by the Richland School District Foundation.

Through the combination of weekly dress-down days, which teachers and staff pay $60 per person per year for, and payroll deductions, the organization has collected $12,000 thus far to benefit students and the community.

“The employees have really stepped up to the plate,” Superintendent Arnold Nadonley said. “They’re paying it forward, and they’re doing a great job.”

Each year, the school staff comes together to pick nine groups to support with the foundation fundraiser and this year, their efforts collected nearly $7,400 with just dress-down days.

On Tuesday, Victim Services Inc. for Cambria and Somerset counties, the Richland Township Fire Department and Richland High School Key Club received contributions.

“Community support means a great deal to us,” victim services CEO Mike Oliver said.

He noted that his organization is grant-funded and additional monetary means are often sparse – that’s why these type of donations are important.

Within the last fiscal year, Victim Services Inc. have provided assistance to more than 2,400 people.

“We’re so thankful to them for thinking of us on this,” Oliver said.

Richland Township fire hall president Bill Lehmann was also appreciative of the support.

“It really means something because they thought of us,” he said.

The equipment the department needs to respond to emergencies is expensive, and every bit of support, including from the staff at Richland schools, goes a long way, Lehmann said.

His group received $250, along with Victim Services Inc., Cambria County Backpack Project, Project Shoes, 12 Wishes of Christmas, Richland After Prom Party, Humane Society of Cambria County, Women’s Help Center and American Cancer Society.

This worked out to $2,250 provided by the elementary staff.

In total, that cohort collected $4,480, and the remaining $2,230 will go to the Richland foundation to support student scholarships.

At the high school, the staff raised $2,910, with $1,500 donated to the key club and $1,410 going to student scholarships as well.

The remaining $4,600 from payroll deductions will support Richland learners as well through grants and other opportunities.

Kim Mock, president of the district foundation, said these efforts are important for the staff and go a long way to helping the community.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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