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The Waukesha Education Foundation, Inc. announces Aries Industries, Inc., The Friends of Retzer Nature Center, and Amy Lange as this year’s WEF Recognition Award winners.

Each year, the Waukesha Education Foundation, Inc. (WEF) accepts nominations for individuals or organizations that have made a difference within the School District of Waukesha and throughout the community. The WEF Recognition Awards include three separate categories: Corporate Partners in Education award, Community Partners in Education award, and the Sally Jo Michalko Lifetime Excellence in Education award.

The 2018 Corporate Partner in Education award was given to Aries Industries, Inc. The Waukesha-based manufacturer was one of the founding members of the MADE (Manufacturing, Automotive, Design, and Engineering) Committee with the Waukesha County Business Alliance. The MADE Committee connects local businesses with the School District of Waukesha to develop and promote industry programming and careers. By providing students real-world projects, lectures from guest instructors, and behind-the-scenes facility tours, Aries Industries and the rest of the MADE Committee have made it possible for educators and students alike to go beyond the classroom.

The Community Partner in Education award for 2018 has been awarded to The Friends of Retzer Nature Center. This organization supports the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha, which preserves over 450 acres of prairie and forest and offers educational programming at its environmental learning facilities. Recently, the Friends of Retzer assisted in fundraising $330,000 to update the planetarium house at the Retzer Nature Center with the new Digistar-6 equipment. Classrooms throughout the School District of Waukesha visit this facility.

Finally, Amy Lange has received the Sally Jo Michalko Lifetime Achievement award for 2018. Lange recently retired as the Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the School District of Waukesha. Lange was instrumental in the formation of several key programs: Financial Fitness 101, MADE Committee, MADE Career Fair, and more. She was a primary connector between businesses wanting to become involved and educators looking to supplement their lesson plans with local industry experts.

“This year’s WEF Recognition award winners are examples of what it means to truly give back to the community,” explained Gene Shoemaker, president of the Waukesha Education Foundation. “Whether through fundraising, educating, or connecting, it is because of their efforts that the School District of Waukesha continues to be an example of contemporary education throughout the state of Wisconsin.”

These three award winners will be recognized at this year’s WEF Partners in Education Reception. This event recognizes the support of area businesses and organizations, and highlights how the involvement of these partners make a difference in the classroom. Through annual sponsorships and one-time gifts to the foundation, WEF is able to award educators grants for innovative programming.


About the Waukesha Education Foundation, Inc.

Since its inception, the Waukesha Education Foundation, Inc. (WEF) has granted close to $262,000 to support projects and initiatives that directly benefit the students of the School District of Waukesha. Through fundraising efforts such as annual WEF Golf Outing, WEF Walk/Run & Wellness Fair, and the support of annual sponsors, WEF is able to award over $30,000 in grants each year to educators. WEF relies on donations from the community to further the educational experiences of Waukesha students. To learn more, please go to our website