Lansing resident’s legacy still felt at OutFront
One of Lansing's former residents had a lasting impact on the OutFront Adult Education program.
A teacher at OutFront for seven years and director for just more than one year, Donita Simons' legacy endures. Her husband, Ed Simons, continues to sponsor a scholarship each year for a student pursuing education through the program. It's his way of honoring his wife's memory.
"She just always had a great respect for adult education," Simons said. "She really appreciated and encouraged people to be enthusiastic about learning."
When Donita Simons died as director of the program in 1997, her colleagues and students dedicated one of the facility's rooms to her memory.
"After she died they dedicated that computer room to her," Simons said. "And I have given scholarships every year to try to encourage people to go ahead and complete their education."
Donita Simons herself was a successful story of adult education. After raising her kids, she attended and graduated from Donnelly College, and then matriculated to University of Saint Mary, where she got her degree in education.
But her former success in business provided the perfect blend of skills when the State of Kansas moved in the 1990s to require business skill preparation in secondary adult education programs. That's when computer skills were required, Simons said, which made the dedication of the lab to his wife a fitting honor.
"That made a lot of sense to her," Simons said. "She used her business background along with her love for adult education, and that year was really a great year for her."
"I like to see her remembered too because that meant a lot to her and that's probably the best way I could honor her, is to, you know, is to help that place. It's something she was deeply interested in."