Delaware News

Bustling summer segues into fall for Willis principal

Volunteerism keeping Heidi Kegley busy until school begins Aug. 13

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Willis Intermediate School Principal Heidi Kegley hasn't skipped a beat during her summer vacation.

Kegley has helped build a playground for a school in Nashville, Tenn.; volunteered to help with Supplies for Scholars and still managed to prepare letters for parents in anticipation of the first day of school.

At the beginning of July, Kegley attended the National Association of Elementary School principals conference in Nashville.

Since she is the president-elect of the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators, the organization funded her trip to the conference, attended by 100 other principals from across the nation -- and some from other countries.

Every year, at the beginning of the conference, the principals volunteer their time and manual labor to install donated playground equipment at an elementary school chosen by the organization.

Kegley said they were greeted at Inglewood Elementary School by teachers, students and parents who were excited to receive the equipment.

"The culture and climate of a school is so important in helping students succeed," she said. "Being able to see some of the faces of those who this playground will impact felt really good."

"These students now have a playground they can have pride and joy in, and is also handicap-accessible."

Kegley said the work was a great way to get to know the administrators from around the country, as well as provide some humor for inside jokes during the rest of the conference.

"The ground in Tennessee is quite rocky, so some of us had to use a jackhammer for about eight hours, and some of us had to swing sledgehammers. We had some good laughs watching each other struggle with the sledgehammer," she said.

Kegley said between the free playground equipment and free labor from the principals, the playground came at no cost to the school.

"I was honored to be part of something that reaches beyond our immediate community and helps another school succeed," she said.

Kegley also volunteered for Supplies for Scholars as part of her membership with the United Way of Delaware County Women's Leadership Network.

People who shopped at local Walmart stores during a certain period of time donated school supplies that were loaded onto a bus and taken to United Way to be sorted.

The supplies will be donated to families in Delaware County who need assistance in getting their children ready for school.

"There was an opportunity for free haircuts, shoe vouchers and to pick up supplies. It's a great community resource," Kegley said.

Now, she is busy getting letters out to parents with information about the upcoming school year, which begins Aug. 13.

"I was honored to be part of all these events this summer, but now I'm gearing up for school to start in less than a month," she said.

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