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New Scholarship Fund Honors Remarkable Teacher

Mike Stuckey, Phyllis Butterworth, Kathy Rice, Amy Adams, and Dr. McCall
June 06, 2023

One remarkable teacher touched thousands of lives. Now one of her students is creating a scholarship fund in her memory. The Donna Day Scholarship Fund created by Kathy Rice will help a Marion Technical College student with financial needs from Green Camp, where Mrs. Day was born and served throughout her life.

Donna Ruth Weston Donna Ruth Weston

Kathy Rice and her siblings attended Mrs. Day’s first-grade class. Rice said Mrs. Day inspired her to become a teacher and educator. Rice has been with Marion Technical College for 28 years and is currently the Director of the Aspire program, which provides free classes to students learning English as a second language, those with high school diplomas who need to refresh their basic academic skills, and students who are studying for their high school equivalency (GED) test.

“I believe she would be humbled and pleased to know that her many years of service and dedication to education and her community were my inspiration throughout my career. Because of her example, I have known since I was a young girl that I wanted to be a teacher—and that I wanted to be like Mrs. Day,” Rice said. “I wanted to emulate her kindness and compassion for students. I wanted to encourage them and excite them about learning. As I grew older, I wanted to help them build foundational skills that would carry them through life. I wanted to help them achieve their goals and dreams. I wanted them to know they were valuable individuals in God’s eyes. I wanted them to know there was someone cheering them on.”

Donna Ruth Weston was born in Green Camp on May 17, 1912. She graduated from Green Camp High School and Bowling Green State University. Miss Weston married and became Mrs. Jones and then Mrs. Day.

Mrs. Day never had children of her own, but she treated each student like her own child, Rice recalled. Rice remembers lining up each day at Mrs. Day’s desk to tell her if they would buy a school lunch or bring one from home.

“She gave you her full attention. You felt like the only other person in the classroom. She listened to our stories, made us feel loved and special, and ended every conversation with a bear hug,” Rice said.

Looking back, Rice remembers how kind Mrs. Day was to a student in need.

Group From left to right: Mike Stuckey, Phyllis Butterworth, Kathy Rice, Dr. Amy Adams, Dr. Ryan McCall.

“One student in my class always received extra attention, though it was not until years later that I realized what a special gesture this was. Mrs. Day would reach into her desk drawer, pull out toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a washcloth, and quietly tell the girl to go to the bathroom to get ready for school. When the girl returned the items to the teacher’s desk, Mrs. Day would pull out a hairbrush. While instructing the rest of the class to finish our morning seatwork, she would brush the young girl’s tangled, shoulder-length hair, then give her a hug and have her go to her seat. She was ready for the day!” Rice recalled.

In honor of her kindness, this scholarship will go to a second-year student in financial need with at least a 2.5-grade point average. Priority will be given to someone from the Green Camp area and an Elgin graduate.

“How thoughtful of you to do this in memory of your teacher. Sometimes struggling students just need a hand up. Thank you for reinvesting in our students,” said Phyllis Butterworth, immediate past president of the Marion Technical College Foundation Board of Directors.

Day died on June 19, 2001, but her influence lives on in her community and the hearts of her students.

“She influenced so many lives. She genuinely enjoyed her life’s calling and left indelible memories in our minds of her compassion, her zeal for learning, and her beautiful, warm smile,” Rice said.

Rice said she also encouraged a love of reading.

“The excitement and drama in her voice while she read books like The Boxcar Children enthralled us all,” Rice remembered.

In addition to teaching, Day was very active in the Green Camp Baptist Church where she taught adult Sunday School classes for 45 years. She also served as the president of the Women’s Missionary Society, director of the children’s choir, and Sunday School superintendent. She was an active community member of Ye Pastyme Club, the Mount Olive Grange, the Marion County Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Marion County Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the Ohio State Teachers Association (now the Ohio Education Association).

Rice said Day’s encouragement at church not only taught her and other students how to sing harmony in third grade but also influenced her faith.

“Several of the songs we sang, though simple in word and tune, still spring to mind to this day and were foundational to my understanding of who God is and why faith in Him matters. I am certain Mrs. Day’s faith is why she was the person she was,” Rice said.

Contributions to the Donna Day Scholarship Fund may be made by anyone in the community who would like to support this fund. Go to make a donation and designate the Donna Day Scholarship Fund. For more information, contact Mike Stuckey at the Marion Technical College Foundation through email at or by phone at (740) 386-4171.

For more than 50 years, Marion Technical College has welcomed thousands of students and helped them achieve their next goals. From short-term certificates to associate degrees, Marion Tech offers more than 50 programs and majors to help students get to next. Marion Tech has one of the lowest tuition rates among Ohio colleges. With zero textbook costs for many classes, the college helps students save money and start or advance their careers. 

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