George Wolf’s dementia may well have overtaken him by now if he wasn’t helping out the kids and teachers at a nearby school.
George Wolf, from Mason, gets instructions on things to do for the summer from first-grade teacher Kimberle Lovett in her classroom at the Mason Early Childhood Center on Friday, June 7, 2013. The Enquirer/Leigh Taylor
That’s the consensus of those who love Wolf, 82, including the two first-grade teachers he volunteers for each school year and during summer break.
The retired General Electric worker and former U.S. Air Force airman volunteers at Mason Early Childhood Center.
In doing so, he is helping himself.
“It’s really a godsend that the teachers let him do this,” says George’s wife, Loretta, who recently took George to the Warren County school to load up on school supplies he will organize during the summer break.
“Otherwise he would be sitting in a chair all day and more and more of his dementia would take over. By keeping him working he doesn’t have time to sit there and realize something is wrong.”
Wolf started volunteering seven years ago at the recommendation of his daughter, Sandy Tomlin, whose son was then in Dona Mason’s first-grade class. An upcoming classroom Mother’s Day celebration was proving overwhelming and she needed extra hands for cutting paper, stuffing envelopes and other repetitive tasks suited for Wolf’s skill level.
With Loretta – his wife of 58 years – at his side, George goes about his school activities with an enthusiasm and playful temperament unchanged by his progressive dementia. He doesn’t talk much. When he does, it’s often a short quip alluding to his condition and work.
“You can tell I’m well broke in,” Wolf says with a smile while loading boxes of school supplies into his wife’s car.
Wolf works on average a combined 20 hours per week at school and at home on school projects. Teachers especially appreciate Wolf’s helping hands in the summer.
“(George and Loretta) take all the summer classroom supplies home. They clean all the scissors, check all the glue sticks and clean up the marker boards. He puts together the homework binders and prepares them for the parents at the beginning of the new school year,” Mason says.
Wolf’s dementia condition is reflective of the umbrella term that covers a number of degenerative mental aliments – including Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. The degenerative disease, which involves vascular or other physical changes in the brain, is often associated with advanced aging. Symptoms include impaired short-term memory, misjudgment, verbal difficulties, declining daily functioning and personality changes.
Dr. Susan Schrimpf Davis specializes in osteopathic and geriatric medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She applauds the Mason teachers, saying the volunteer opportunity can slow Wolf’s mental decline.
“The key component is maintaining functionality. Dementia robs people of short-term memories, but they still have lots of old memories,” Schrimpf Davis says.
There is also an emotional payoff.
“Everyone can get some emotional satisfaction by keeping active. It feels good for them to help and to continue to feel connected,” she says.
Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason Schools, says Wolf and his condition are unique among the hundreds of school volunteers in the district.
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina / Provided
Chrissie Thompson reports:
Ohio public school funding would grow by 11% over the next two years versus 2012-2013 spending levels, the largest increase in education spending in at least a decade, under the proposal Senate Republicans introduced Thursday.
In total, the majority Senate Republicans’ plan would spend about $6.6 billion in 2013-2014 and $7 billion in 2014-2015, versus the $6.3 billion the state spent on its public schools this school year.
The Senate plan would spend $141.6 million more on public schools than the plan that passed the House this spring. In addition, Senate leadership propose spending another $80 million more than the House on projects such as pre-kindergarten education and a program that emphasizes on teaching children to read by third grade.
The extra investments in education would use up nearly all of the extra money the Senate had to spend after making changes to the House budget.
“This is where we invested our dollars,” said Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina. “This is a significant investment. Matter of fact, this is most of the Senate investment.”
The Senate plans to vote next week on its version of the two-year Ohio budget. Then, House and Senate leaders will get together to reconcile their two versions of the budget. After votes on the compromise, the budget will go to Gov. John Kasich. It is to take effect on July 1.
Mason senior Chantal Woodson was presented with UC’s Cincinnatus Presidential scholarship award at a ceremony held May 23, 2013. From left, Mason Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart, school guidance counselor Seth Johnston, Woodson and UC’s Erica Henry. Provided
Mason High School senior Chantal Woodson has earned the University of Cincinnati’s highest scholarship award — a four-year, &88,000 Cincinnatus Presidential scholarship.
The prestigious scholarship competition selects students on the basic of academic achievement, leadership and commitment to community service. Each awarded scholar must perform 30 hours of community service each year.
Woodson received the award at a ceremony held May 23 at the university.
At Mason, the German National Honor Society member was involved with Senior Sibs, the varsity dance team and Comets in Action, a mentorship program for students with special needs.
Woodson plans to major in biology and minor in German and Spanish this fall. She’s also been accepted into UC’s Connections program, which grants her early admission to the university’s medical school.
Woodson will perform with the UC Dhadal International Dance team and hopes to study abroad.
“I am so excited about the opportunities this scholarship opens up for me. I plan to participate in UC’s study abroad program, and take advantage of all that UC has to offer,” she said.
She is the daughter of Anthony and Ursula Woodson of Mason.
Some teachers at a Mason elementary school are complaining about air quality at their school and Warren County health officials are investigating.
Mason school officials say today they have done air quality testing and there is no cause for alarm about the conditions at Western Row Elementary – a contention backed by county health officials.
Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason Schools, says the district recently hired a private environmental firm to test air quality in the school and found that parts of the building, which houses more than 900 students, had elevated levels of chloroform.
“The school’s (one) wing had chloroform levels at 8.9 parts per billion,” says Carson. “Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that 240,000 parts per billion is cause for concern, and there is an immediate danger at 2 million parts per billion.”
The chloroform may be a by-product of cleaning solutions used in the school and may be combining with some organic materials, say county health officials.
Carson said the private testing company “recommended further testing be done, and that the HVAC system be examined.”
Warren County Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury says his department has received about a half-dozen calls from both teachers and parents complaining about air quality in the school, which holds grades two and three for Mason Schools.
A public records lawsuit filed to the Ohio Supreme Court and connected to a former special education teacher ended with a settlement approved by the Kings school board Tuesday evening.
The Kings Board of Education voted unanimously to approve an out-of-court settlement with the anti-tax group Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes to release depositions taken by the district’s attorney during an investigation into allegations the former teacher had mistreated students.
The teacher, who resigned last year, was investigated by district officials, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the county prosecutor, but no charges were filed.
The Enquirer is not naming the former teacher because there have been no criminal charges filed by law enforcement agencies, nor are there documented allegations by Kings officials or any findings of wrongdoing by the Ohio Department of Education.
John Charleton, spokesman for state education department, said under Ohio law, department officials do not confirm the existence of any investigation unless it reaches the hearing stage or resolution on whether a teacher’s license is suspended or revoked.
The first complaint about the teacher came to Kings officials in October 2011 and by January 2012 the teacher was placed on administrative leave. The instructor, under a negotiated resignation agreement with the district in March 2012, received a letter of recommendation that included an excerpt from the teacher’s previously favorable job reviews.
Kings officials had initially disputed COAST’s lawsuit, contending depositions done by the district’s attorney with former school staffers, classroom aides and some of the students’ parents were not public record and were covered under attorney-client privilege.
Moreover, said Kings Superintendent Valerie Browning, Kings contended the depositions “might jeopardize the privacy and identity of our students” and their families if they were made public.
Clynn Yeoh, with her winning Google Doodle art entry. Clynn won the contest’s state award and is now in the running for the national award. The Enquirer/Tony Jones
It’s when the Kings Junior High School seventh grader learns whether her entry into the sixth annual Doodle 4 Google art competition wins the top prize, based on online voting earlier this month.
Clynn’s entry was selected the tops in Ohio, earning her a 3-day trip to New York City with the other state winners.
The top entry in each of five age groups will become finalists and the national winner from those will be announced today in New York.
“It’s top secret. No one knows anything yet,” said Google spokesman Reid Vineis.
Among the panel of judges for this year’s competition are journalist and TV host Katie Couric; Brian Henson, Jim Henson Company puppeteer and chairman; Aly Raisman, Olympic gymnastics gold and bronze medalist and captain of the United States women’s gymnastics team.
Since Google representatives came to an assembly at Kings May 1 to make the announcement, Clynn has had some excitement. Her winning entry was on the big screen at Great American Ball Park May 7 – the same day she threw out the first pitch.
Her entry was one of 130,000 from across the United States in Google’s sixth annual contest. The winning doodle – Google logo design that appears on www.google.com periodically to celebrate special events, holidays or other themes – will be featured on the U.S. Google homepage for 24 hours.
The theme was My Best Day Ever. To illustrate it Clynn thought back to her first day in the United States nearly three years ago.
A Malaysia native, Clynn chose to weave impressions of that first day in Los Angeles into her design, which she titled “My first day in the United States.”
Set against a United States flag, Clynn weaved a hotel, binoculars, compass and the Statue of Liberty into the Google logo. Below that was a streetscape design.
“It’s my first time to travel this far,’’ Clynn said earlier this month. “I’m thinking of buildings in United States that make city – not one city.”
Clynn’s design – whether or not it is selected as a finalist or winner – will become part of an American Museum of Natural History exhibit in New York today through July 14.
A Mason High School freshman placed third at the Ohio State Science Day competition in Columbus.
Neil Giridharan’s project, Using User-generated Entropy to Generate Truly Random Numbers, earned him honors in the Yost Engineering Award for Originality in Computer Engineering and Science category at last Saturday’s competition.
Giridharan will receive a $100 award for his project. More than 1,000 students in grades 5-12 participated in the science day.
Kings High School student athletes signed letters of intent to play college level sports. Seated, from left, are: Kayla Smith, Lauren McLennan, Haley Delaney, Natalie Weinrich, Kacy Dunn, Brady Vanover; standing: Paul Koerbel, Joe Shumar, David Hare, Nick Wolf, Jacob Himes, Kennedy Cook, Autin Copeland, Landon Kirby, and Matt Schlehr. Provided photo.
During a signing ceremony Thursday, 15 Kings High School students made their official commitments to colleges and universities to play a specific sport.
The students, the school they will attend and the sport they agreed to play are:
Kennedy Cook, Wittenberg University, football
Austin Copeland, Thomas More, football
Haley Delaney, Waynesburg University, basketball
Kacy Dunn, Cedarville University, cross country, track, and field
David Hare, Baldwin Wallace University, baseball
Jacob Himes, Manchester University, basketball
Landon Kirby, Ohio Christian University, soccer
Paul Koerbel, Wilmington College, lacrosse
Lauren McLennan, Rose Hulman, swimming and cross country
Matt Schlehr, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, swimming
Joe Shumar, Muskingum University, baseball
Kayla Smith, University of Northwestern Ohio, softball