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Cougar Strong

Fundraiser honors former MNW teachers

-Submitted photo
Manson Northwest Webster kindergarten students react to a demonstration from their teacher, Tricia Larson. Larson died in July 2020 from COVID-19.

MANSON — The legacies of two former Manson Northwest Webster Community School District teachers will live on with the creation of two new college scholarships for aspiring school teachers.

MNW kindergarten teacher Tricia Larson died in early July 2020 after contracting COVID-19. A few months later in November, former MNW high school math teacher Jason Englert also died of complications caused by the coronavirus. Englert was teaching math and science to talented and gifted students in the Belmond-Klemme Community School District at the time of his death. He had been with MNW for the six years prior.

To honor their memory and the impact they had on students, MNW teachers Jan Nelson and Stacey Origer have created two new college scholarships for students who wish to go into teaching– one for elementary education and one for secondary education. To make the scholarships a reality, a Cougar Strong fundraiser is happening right now to raise money for the scholarship funds.

“We really wanted to do something for both of them because they were great teachers and very, very respected and we just wanted to honor their dedication to education and to children,” Nelson said.

This first fundraiser is the sale of Cougar Strong T-shirts, which include Larson and Englert’s initials in the logo design. The organizers wanted something that was simple but still meant something.

-Submitted photo
Manson Northwest Webster teachers Stacey Origer and Jan Nelson have organized a Cougar Strong fundraiser selling T-shirts to support two new college scholarships for aspiring school teachers in honor of Tricia Larson and Jason Englert, two local teachers who passed away in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“They were not only co-workers, but they were dear friends of ours,” Origer said. “And we just wanted to honor them and let everyone know they have a special place in our hearts.”

The loss of Larson and Englert “hit us very hard,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the goal is for these scholarships to continue for many years, so more fundraisers are being planned for the future.

The link to order the T-shirt online can be found on the main page of the district’s website, https://www.manson-nw.k12.ia.us.

The shirts are available in sizes youth small through adult 4XL for $15 each (add $3 for plus sizes). Shipping is available.

As of Tuesday night, 102 shirts had been ordered and more than $500 raised for the scholarships.

The T-shirt orders will remain open until Feb. 26.

Other donations to the scholarship fund are accepted at the MNW Central Office, 1030 Main St., Manson.

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