Connections are Critical

Ohio State Representative, Jamie Callender, visits with students.

Ohio State Representative, Jamie Callender, visits with students.

From the 2022 Spring Perry Way:

Schools, or any organization as successful as Perry, rely on strong connections both past and present to set examples of high standards.  These connections serve to provide various resources and support for our continuous pursuit to get better every day.  On January 18th, we lost a great Perry alumnus when Ralph A. Rockow passed away at 88 years old.  Graduating from The Ohio State University in 1958 as a mechanical engineer, Mr. Rockow had an amazing life full of achievement and philanthropy.  In 2016, we were fortunate to have Mr. Rockow speak to us at our opening convocation ceremony where we got to hear him tell the story of how he, along with his team, was responsible for the design and development of the Lunar Excursion Module that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.  That same engine, retrofitted, was used to bring the three astronauts in the damaged Apollo 13 back to earth safely.  Distinguished alumni Mr. Rockow graduated from Perry in 1951.  His graduating class made its mark on Pirate history by establishing the G.I.F.T. ’51 Scholarship.  The 27 alumni, men and women living throughout the United States, had long been a group defined by contributions to their alma mater.  In 1986, they established themselves as true philanthropists by creating a gift that would give in perpetuity.  Each year the scholarship is presented to one or more students who have made a genuine commitment to self-improvement and to bettering the community.  G.I.F.T. ’51 emphasizes disciplines for a successful life.  The acronym G.I.F.T. stands for four principles, setting Goals, seeking Intelligence, having Faith, and always Trying.  The ’51 represents the Perry alumni who made the scholarship possible.  Thank you, Mr. Rockow, for providing us with an example of how to pursue greatness and live a life all of us may benefit by following.   Let me also take this opportunity to remind all of our graduating seniors that a number of scholarships, in addition to G.I.F.T. ’51, are available.  Information for these can be found on our website under the Perry Foundation or at the PHS guidance office.

A present connection we are fortunate to have is with Representative Jamie
Callender.  Since being voted into office, he has listened to our concerns and supported legislation to keep the Perry Plant open and maintain our state funding.  Thanks largely to the work of Board of Education member, Mark Welch, Representative Callender visited the Perry campus on February 2nd.   While on campus, he was able to tour our Center for Civic Engagement and talk with teachers, Mr. Mark Soeder and Mrs. Allison Trentanelli.  He also spoke with a few of their students in response to letters that were written to him prior to the pandemic.  Next, Representative Callender stopped into our Advanced Placement Government class where our students provided many outstanding questions that led to interesting discussions on how legislatures represent their districts and also stay true to their core beliefs.  Government teacher Mr. Jeff Goodman had this to say about the visit: “It was wonderful having Representative Callender visit with my AP Government class! It's always great when our students get a chance to interact directly with someone involved with local or state government. Too often the news only focuses on federal and presidential politics, when usually our day-to-day experiences with politics, power, and the law are more directly influenced by folks serving at the local and state level of government.”  The connection we have fostered with Representative Callender and other government officials remains imperative to ensure our voice and concerns are heard and considered when legislation is vetted and ultimately voted into law. 

These are but two examples of the numerous connections we rely on to ensure Perry Local Schools continue to be successful.  Whether currently volunteering as an active alumnus or serving on a support organization such as the Academic Boosters, Athletic Boosters, Alumni Association, Band Boosters, Business Advisory Council, Perry Teachers Association, Perry Foundation, Theatre Guild, or Wellness Committee, to name a few, thank you for the vital connections you provide.  Go Pirates! Perry Inspired.