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Kickoff Scholarship Fundraiser Raises 5K in Teacher’s Memory
Jackson Miyamoto received the first Ed Neumann Memorial Scholarship at Belleville High School.

The first “Neumann Night” was held in the quiet space of Belleville High School’s library on May 20 in an attempt to bring families, teachers, students, and friends of the late Ed Neumann together to take what this special teacher did for his learning community and insure his work lives on with regard to STEAM education in rural Wisconsin. It was a night that the Belleville learning community set aside to do some good work for a teacher who deeply cared about the work he did and the opportunities he created for his students.

Though libraries are often thought to be “SSSSHHHHH” spaces for students to get down to business and study, “Neumann Night” broke that mold as over 80 trivia buffs gathered there to compete and test their wits with questions geared to celebrate Ed’s memory as not just an award-winning Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher, but also an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and “meat eater!”

A combination raffle and silent auction, as well as a “Scary Smoothie Challenge” between trivia rounds, created additional fundraising opportunities.” Congratulations” went to a team captained by Blake Anson on their trivia victory! His team then donated the $150 cash prize back to the Ed Neumann Memorial Scholarship fund.

“Neumann Night” offered a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and celebrate a life well lived with donations that reflected the interests and personality of a beloved teacher. A special “thank you” from the event’s organizers goes out to those who donated popular raffle/silent auction items — Dan Jenkins who provided a gift basket of signed copies from the creators of five “Call of Duty” games, along with other Raven Software merchandise; Joel Jacobs who provided a custom-made fly fishing rod; and to artist Marie Fritz Perry for her framed/signed Sporting Dog prints. Additionally, Ed Neumann’s own portable fire pit was donated by his family and was auctioned off to help build the funding necessary to support an annual high school scholarship in his name. All in all, $5,000 was raised during this special night and was the first in an event the School District of Belleville expects to hold annually to make this possible for their high school graduating seniors as they take their next steps in education.

The evening was made even more special by the ability to bestow the first Ed Neumann Memorial Scholarship to Belleville High School graduating senior Jackson Miyamoto. District Administrator Nate Perry says, “I think Mr. Neumann would have approved of the first scholarship going to Jackson Miyamoto. Jackson had Mr. Neumann for four classes, and he plans on attending the Milwaukee School of Engineering to study mechanical engineering next year. Jackson had a ton of respect for Mr. Neumann as a teacher.”

Memorial events such as “Neumann Night” give a community a chance to take a significant loss and do something positive for all those who are grieving. While no one wants to experience tragedy, how we teach others to cope and do something positive with that loss is monumental as we help youth develop their coping skills for all the curveballs life throws at us. Ed Neumann always wanted to think about the future and help his students be prepared with skill sets that helped them pivot and adapt in an ever changing field. In his passing, Belleville educators worked as a community to mourn the loss of a friend and colleague and provide the support for all who knew Mr. Neumann to go on and live their best lives. It is what Ed would have wanted!

— Story supplied by Marie Perry, the Communications Director and MS/HS Librarian & Media Specialist for the School District of Belleville.