Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friend of education to be honored through scholarship

August 22, 2007

Lou Haney was remembered as funny, likeable and an advocate for youths.

The former Basehor-Linwood School Board president made his mark on the district through the controversial consolidation of Basehor and Linwood schools in the 1980s as well as his involvement in youth sports.

His likeness on a plaque greets current school board members and guests as they enter the boardroom named after him located in the district's central office. The meeting room was dedicated in his honor about a year after his death in 1993 for his contributions to the district.

"He really cared deeply about kids' education," said Lynne Sebree, who served on the school board with Haney. "Whatever was best for the kids was what Louie was for."

It's been almost 15 years since his death, but his wife, Jeanie Haney, thought of a way to not only honor her late husband, but help the students in the Basehor-Linwood school district as well. She, along with her three daughters, recently gave the Basehor-Linwood Education Foundation a large donation in Lou Haney's name.

The Education Foundation is an organization that provides student scholarships and teacher grants through several fundraisers and donations. Brenda Chumley, a member of the foundation's advisory committee, said the Haney family's donation is one of the largest gifts the Education Foundation has ever received since it began in 2000. Twelve scholarships were awarded to students in the district last year through the foundation, Chumley said, and now they will be able to add at least one more this year -- the Lou Haney Memorial Scholarship.

"It was something we had contemplated for quite awhile because he made such a large contribution not only to the schools, but to the kids in the area," Jeanie Haney said. "Now we had a way to do it."

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must participate in athletics for at least two years in high school including their junior and senior years and maintain a 3.0 grade point average.

"He strongly believed in sports for the children when they were younger to teach them a lot of life skills," Jeanie Haney said about Lou Haney. "It doesn't necessarily have to be the athlete of the year, but we do want them to have good civics; just a clean-cut kid and a good scholar because he did very much believe in education."

The way the scholarship is set up now, Jeanie Haney said, it would go on for 10 years. But, what is unique about this particular memorial scholarship is that others may donate to the fund to keep it going after the allotted 10 years, Chumley said. The scholarship will be ongoing as long as there are funds for it.

"He was soft-spoken with a big heart," Sebree said about his colleague and friend. "He did a lot of things behind the scenes that a lot of people didn't know about. I think the scholarship is a great way to honor him."

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