Saint Paul Lutheran School Proclaimed Winner

of the “Cents for Central School” Challenge


Rick Bowman (second from left), manager of the Mount Prospect branch of Village Bank and Trust, counts the spare change collected by schoolchildren for the Central School restoration effort as Mount Prospect Historical Society volunteers look on. (Left to right: Mark Pope, Bowman, Julie Vowinkel, Linda Hoefert, Jill Friedrichs)

Saint Paul Lutheran School, 18 S. School St., Mount Prospect raised $939.49 in donations of quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies and a few dollar bills to put toward finishing the restoration of the 1896 one-room schoolhouse on the Mount Prospect Historical Society campus in downtown Mount Prospect.

“Central School has played such a large part in the history of Saint Paul Lutheran Church and School that we are delighted to join in the effort to preserve this important piece of Mount Prospect history,” said Jennifer Heinze, Principal of Saint Paul Lutheran School.
“Generosity is one of the core values here at Saint Paul, so we are proud of the students and staff who are so happy to give generously for a great cause.”

The Society had issued a challenge to local schools earlier this fall and six schools, as well as the public library and several Village departments and even one business – Millie’s Hallmark, 1024 S. Elmhurst Rd. — chose to get involved.

The challenge was to raise funds to complete the restoration of the 1896 one-room Central School through the collection of the spare change we all have lying around our houses, cars and lockers.  Large plastic containers were distributed to the participating schools, library and other locations and students and members of the public were encouraged to drop off that change throughout the month of October.

The cumbersome jugs were picked up from the schools on November 5 and Village Bank & Trust, 320 E. Northwest Hwy., generously provided counting services free of charge.

Once the mammoth job of counting was complete, it was determined that the schoolchildren of these six schools had together raised a grand total of $3,580.45 to help complete the historic schoolhouse’s restoration.

The school-by-school results were as follows:  Saint Paul Lutheran School came in first by raising $939.49. Lions Park School came in second, raising $864.12, followed by Indian Grove School in third with $804.64, Fairview School in fourth with $749.71, Prospect High School in fifth with $122.33 and Lincoln Middle School in sixth with $100.16.

“We are so grateful to all of the students who brought in generous contributions and to the teachers and staff members at the various schools who worked very hard to make the fund-raising effort a fun and educational endeavor,” said Linda Hoefert, co-chairman of the campaign. “This will truly help move the restoration effort on the Central School forward toward the finish line.”

Students from the winning school – Saint Paul – will be allowed to sign their names on paneling that will be preserved within the walls of Central School as a time capsule for the future. The winning school will also earn an MPTV-televised proclamation from Mayor Arlene Juracek and the Village Board on November 17 and prior to the ceremony, they will get the opportunity to tour the still-under-renovation historic schoolhouse. The framed proclamation they receive will probably be hung in the school for years to come as a testament to the school’s leadership role in the community.

Collection jugs staged at public sites throughout the Village, particularly at the library, Village Hall and Millie’s Hallmark, will remain in place until the end of 2015.

“Mount Prospect will celebrate its 100th birthday on February 3, 2017 and we hope to re-enact the signing of the Village’s papers of incorporation in the historic building where it actually took place a century ago.  In order for that to happen and for the schoolhouse to be opened for school field trips and public gatherings, the restoration needs to be completed,” explained Jill Friedrichs, co-chairman of the campaign with Hoefert.

“Since the Mount Prospect Historical Society began its adventure in 2003, the Society has raised – and expended – $370,000, almost entirely from private, local sources,” explained Frank Corry, Mount Prospect Historical Society president. “We have completed the move of the building, interior demolition, repair/replacement of the back wall and roof, structural reinforcement of the floor, construction of an interior utility
stairway and installation of the electrical, HVAC, fire alarm and sprinkler systems. It has been an exciting project and we are almost to our ultimate goal of restoring this iconic remnant of Mount Prospect’s past.”

Schools in Mount Prospect will be offered a second opportunity to raise funds for the schoolhouse restoration effort in the spring of 2016. Money during that phase of the campaign, called “Finish the Job,” can be raised in any way that the members of each school community choose. Ideas offered include car washes, walk-a-thons, encouraging students to do chores and contribute their earnings, rummage sales, a Fun Fair booth or, for parochial schools, an out-of-uniform day.

Students from the winning school in the spring will have the honor of marching in the Mount Prospect Fourth of July parade alongside the Mount Prospect Historical Society’s replica schoolhouse float.  They will carry a banner announcing that they were the winners of the “Finish the Job” challenge.

“We hope that even more schools choose to participate in the spring,” said Julie Vowinkel, a member of the fundraising committee.

For more information about the Central School restoration, phone the Mount Prospect Historical Society at 847-392-9006.

Lions Park School Raises Funds



For the ninth consecutive year, the second graders of Lions Park School in Mount Prospect raised funds to help with the Mount Prospect Historical Society’s restoration of their school district’s original schoolhouse.  Central School was built in 1896 as the first educational facility of Mount Prospect School District 57.

Under the direction of their five teachers, Tobey Black, Mary Hunt, Heidi Jorgenson, Courtney Voss and Julie Vowinkel, this year’s 115 second graders raised $617.70 for the restoration effort and on June 10 they presented a check to MPHS Executive Director Lindsay Rice during the school’s end-of-the-year awards assembly.

Lions Park School donates

Left to right (When all teachers are visible): Heidi Jorgenson–Tobey Black–Mary Hunt–Julie Vowinkel–Courtney Voss–Kris Gritzmacher (principal)

Over the nine years a succession of Lions Park second graders have raised a total of  $5,492.58 for the restoration of the schoolhouse, placing them among the project’s most generous donors.

“Central School is Mount Prospect’s treasure! Not many communities have one-room schoolhouses, and it is our privilege to take part in its restoration,” explained Julie Vowinkel, the teacher who began this project in 2006.  

“The Central School project began nine years ago as an extension of our local history unit, which is a “Then and Now” tour of Mount Prospect. Second grade students were very interested in the school and wanted to know why we couldn’t go inside Central School as part of our field trip.  When they learned that the building needed to be relocated and restored before it could be opened to the public, they responded enthusiastically to a challenge to raise money for this purpose,” she recalled.

“The first year, the second graders sold “Central School Dollars” to fellow students. Since then, second graders have raised money each year by doing chores at home. It has been heartwarming that every spring the students are so excited to participate in this citizenship project. They bring in their coins and dollars, and it all adds up,” Vowinkel continued.

“Six years ago, we rejoiced when Central School was successfully moved to its present location: Lions Park students had front-row seats on Elmhurst Road to view the move, and that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Today, the second grade students and their teachers remain committed to the restoration of Lions Park School. We consider it our responsibility to take care of this prized landmark. It will be thrilling when present and former Lions Park students gather in the future for the reopening of Central School,” she concluded.

The plan is for the Central School to open to the public in time for the start of the Village’s Centennial in 2017.  It is hoped that a re-enactment of the signing of the Village’s papers of incorporation will be able to be held in the restored schoolhouse on February 3, 2017.

To date, with the help of Lions Park students, $327,000 has been raised to move and restore the venerable old structure.  Those funds have allowed the Society to secure and move the building; set it on a new foundation over a basement that will be providing much-needed space for the Society’s growing collection; demolish several generations of non-original partitions and modifications; close up the exterior of the building; and most recently, reinforce the floor and add an interior utility stairway.  A new roof was also donated by a local contractor.

Another $76,000 must be raised in order to complete the job and permanently open the schoolhouse to school groups and the general public.

For more information about contributing to the project, phone 847-392-9006.

Project Notes – Part 1

It was a little over two years when the Central School project received a big shot in the arm from Peterson Roofing of Mount Prospect. Jim Peterson donated a complete new roof for the school building, a project which would have otherwise costed the Society well over $20,000.00. The roofing project commenced in late July of 2009. Given the unique angles of the roof, and the fact that there were two existing roofs underneath the current one, this project presented challenges. Within two weeks, the majority of the roof was completed, and the crew came several days later to put the finishing touches (complete with a “cherry picker”) on the building’s cupola.