The Menasha High students curiously peeked at the shovel Chris VanderHeyden was holding, an object seemingly out of place in the band room where everyone had gathered.
VanderHeyden, superintendent of the Menasha Joint School District, proudly showed them the recently discovered treasure he had brought: the original shovel that was used nearly 54 years ago for the groundbreaking of the Bluejays’ iconic Nathan Calder Stadium.
“Someone discovered this a few weeks ago in an elevator closet at the Menasha Public Library,” VanderHeyden shared with them.
The historic shovel was a fitting prop for this momentous occasion that had VanderHeyden and two dozen students congregating in the band room. Together, they recorded their special video message about the Menasha Strong capital campaign: after more than a year of fundraising, the project was moving forward.
Menasha Strong is the $3.5 million joint public-private capital campaign that will support the MJSD. This community-led effort will upgrade Calder Stadium, Bayer Field and the renowned Bluejay Brigade Marching Band program. Dollars raised will:
VanderHeyden said that, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the community, the campaign has raised enough money to greenlight the project.
“We’re at 94% of our goal, so we still have a little bit to go,” he said. “But we’re at a good place with our fundraising and are comfortable starting the project. Starting the project now will also ensure that everything will be completed in time for the 2017-18 school year.”
VanderHeyden also said that the incredible support of the community has been nothing short of inspiring. The list of impressive companies rallying behind Menasha Strong has given the campaign many big boosts. And, VanderHeyden said, the sheer number of community members donating (nearly 500) is what Menasha Strong is all about – community.
“We’ve just had our minds blown by how the community continues to rally behind our Bluejays,” VanderHeyden said. “Menasha is the true definition of what it means to be a community.”
We know that we cannot have a successful campaign without the generous businesses in our community. Many of these businesses have stepped up and shown that they are Menasha Strong with us! Their support of our students and families has touched us in many ways. In turn, we want to show our gratitude and appreciation by sharing with the community who some of these major donors are –and what makes them such fantastic community partners! Thank you to all our donors!
We previously featured FNB Fox Valley as a donor towards Menasha Strong with its generous gift of $100,000, making the bank the sponsor of the ticket booth. Shortly afterwards, Nicolet National Bank purchased FNB Fox Valley. Nicolet will now be the proud sponsor of the ticket booth.
FNB Fox Valley, now operating as Nicolet National Bank, is a full-service community bank providing commercial and consumer banking to wealth management and retirement plan services. The bank operates branches in Northeast and Central Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
What is the company’s connection to the Menasha Joint School District?
FNB has had a strong connection to Menasha and holds it near and dear since it’s where we started. This is a community project that will improve not only students’ high school and sports experiences, but it will bring the community together and improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood. The stadium is a gathering place for Menasha residents and we’re happy to help improve it.
What compelled the company to contribute such a generous amount to Menasha Strong?
Much of our charitable giving is centered around youth and education. Young people are tomorrow’s leaders and we want to do our part to ensure they receive a great education and that they are able to take pride in their communities and schools.
What’s the greatest thing about a community like Menasha?
Menasha has a great history, wonderful residents who take pride in their community, scenic waterfronts and is undergoing some impressive downtown improvements which is making it more of a destination. Great things are happening!
Anything else we should know?
FNB Fox Valley/Nicolet National Bank gives to many non-profits, civic organizations and educational programs throughout the year.
MENASHA STRONG is a $3.5 million private fundraising effort to address pressing needs for Menasha High School: repairing and renovating Nathan Calder Stadium, installing turf at Bayer Field and purchasing new uniforms for the Bluejay Brigade Marching Band. The campaign is an effort from the Menasha Joint School District and its friends and supporters.
Learn more about the Menasha Joint School District.