New $50K Wilkinson Scholarship honors couple’s service

A small group of parents connected with Lava Ridge Elementary School announced plans to donate more than $50,000 to create a Wilkinson Scholarship to honor the lifelong dedication Gail and Ron Wilkinson have shown to the field of education.

Gail, a first grade teacher at Lava Ridge, and Ron, superintendent for Bend-La Pine Schools, are both retiring as of June 30. Combined, they have spent 75 years working in public education. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating senior who plans to pursue a career in the field of education.

“We feel the world needs more Wilkinsons. We hope that by helping Bend-La Pine students pursue careers in education, we might encourage the kind of service Gail and Ron Wilkinson have given to our district and others for so many years,” said Lorie Coiner, president of the Lava Ridge Parent Teacher Organization. “They have both been an influence for good on generations of students and families and we wanted to give something tangible to in some small way represent the combined decades of service they have given on behalf of thousands of students. Our school district has greatly benefited by the leadership of these two amazing educators.”

Ron and Gail Wilkinson will both lead the selection committee for the Wilkinson Scholarship. The plan is to award one $3,000 scholarship per year, for at least 17 years.

“Gail and I are humbled by the generosity of these parents and thank them for this tremendous honor,” said Ron Wilkinson.

The Lava Ridge donors say they would like to see other parents and community members consider making contributions to the scholarship fund now, or through planned giving. Those interested in making a contribution can do so by sending a check made out to Bend-La Pine Schools, care of: Wilkinson Scholarship Fund, 520 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR, 97701.

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