STEPHENSON — The Stephenson Board of Education Wednesday discussed a plan to honor retired Stephenson Area Public Schools staff.

Board member Christina Kakuk updated the board on the plan to honor district retirees. She said the plan is to send former staff members, who had retired after working for the district for 10 or more years, with a letter. Depending on when they retired, they would also get their name on a service-memorial plaque, which will be displayed in the high school building or be presented with a blue apple with their name engraved on it.

Kakuk said she would volunteer to continue working on this project when her term on the board of education ends, but the next board will have to take over in January.

Kakuk said the plan is to honor anyone who has worked for the school for more than 10 years. Those who retired after Jan 1, 2016, will be presented with the blue apple. Individuals who retired prior this date, but have also donated services to Stephenson Area Public School District clubs, organizations or programs for five years or more, will also be eligible for the apple, she said. 

Other former staff members who have worked for the district for 10 years and retired prior to 2016 will not receive an apple, but will have their names posted on a service memorial plaque that will be on display in the school.

Board member, Kurt Wangerin asked if former staff members who will receive the apples will also get their name on the plaque. “If it were me, I think I would rather have my name on the plaque than receive the apple,” he said. He said the plaque is a public honor that can be seen by the entire community. “The plaque will be seen by people for years to come. As long as this institution stands, the plaque can be seen and appreciated.”

Kakuk said the original plan was to present retirees with either their name on the plaque or the apple, but it would be a simple change to ensure every person recognized gets their name on the plaque.

The former staff member’s positions or job titles will not be displayed on the plaque. “This isn’t about teachers or administration, this is about every retired employee who has dedicated 10 years to our school,” Kakuk said.

Board member Jane Moker agreed that this project is to honor all former employees of the school district, regardless of position. “They have each touched the students lives in different ways, from the kitchen ladies to the teachers.”

Kakuk said that anyone from the community could nominate a former employee for the plaque, but documentation of that person’s time as an employee will be needed. “There isn’t a great record for former employees,” she told the board. “The board will have to decide what it considers valid ‘proof.’” Kakuk suggested old yearbooks, check stubs and other physical items that can be help document a retiree’s employment at Stephenson Area Public Schools.

This project is still being discussed and no dates for the project’s completion were announced at the meeting.