Monday, November 27, 2017

Distinguished Alumni and Community Service Awards on December 21

The Education Foundation will award the Distinguished Alumni and Community Service Awards on December 21st at the Holiday Band/Orchestra Concert at 7 p.m. A reception will be held prior to the concert. Interested parties should contact Dr. Kathleen Hocker at

Richard G. Wells and Elizabeth J. Wells will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Ron & Holly Miller, Co-Founders of ‘In Ian’s Boots’ will receive the Community Service Award.

The Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to Richard G. Wells and Elizabeth J. WellsThis award is given annually to honor Owen J Roberts’s alumni who enhance the quality of life by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive and quantifiable traditional values and traits.  Richard and Elizabeth have dedicated their professional careers to education.

Mr. Wells, Class of 1954, was the OJR High School Band Director from 1961 to 1968.  He developed a love of music early in life.  He was a trumpet player and formed his own jazz band in high school.  He was band director with the Kutztown Area Schools prior to coming to OJR as the Band Director in 1961.  In 1968 he was named an associate professor in the Department of Music at Kutztown University.  In 1997 after 29 years of teaching he retired and was named professor emeritus.    Richard is credited with establishing the jazz studies program at KU and he continues to direct the alumni jazz ensembles.The large ensemble rehearsal space at Kutztown University was named Richard G. Wells Music Rehearsal Hall in 2013 as part of a $20 million renovation and expansion of Schaeffer Auditorium.  KU alumni, students, faculty and staff raised more than $500,000 to honor Wells with the naming rights.

Elizabeth J. Wells is a graduate of OJR, Class of 1956 where she was active in musical organization, cheerleading, and sports. She graduated from West Chester State College in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and earned a Master’s of Education Degree in 1968 with a major in Social Studies, Elizabeth began her career as an English teacher at Pottstown Junior High and later taught many high school social studies courses.  Although she taught many different courses, she concentrated on American History and American Government. While serving as Chairman of the Social Studies Department, her students took a number of the top History Day Awards. After forty years in the classroom, she retired in 2000.

Through the years, Mr. and Mrs. Wells have influenced scores of student to aspire for excellence in all they do. They remain committed to supporting students in various educational programs. Richard and Elizabeth Wells created the Instrumental Music Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded during the annual commencement exercises at Owen J. Roberts High School.

The Owen J. Roberts Community Service Award is presented to OJR residents who enhance the quality of life by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive and quantifiable traditional values and traits. 

The 2017 Award is being presented to Holly and Ron Miller who are the parents of one son, in heaven.  Ian Joshua Miller was born in August 1997.  Ian was 12 when he died in a tragic sledding accident during a Boy Scout skiing/snowboarding weekend.  Ian left a message in his boots that would help them persevere and make a difference in so many lives.  The message was a Bible verse, James 1:2-4.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Holly and Ron are Co-Founders of ‘In Ian’s Boots, Inc.’, a non-profit organization that provides shoes and boots to those in need.  They have taken a tragic event in their lives, the loss of their only child, and found a way to turn that dark day into an amazing bright spot for the OJR community and beyond.  To date, they have donated shoes to 3242 individuals in the tri-county area and over 150,000 pairs of shoes to 32 countries around the globe!

According to a volunteer at In Ian’s Boots, Holly and Ron’s faith and trust in God inspire not only me, but anyone else that has the chance to volunteer at In Ian’s Boots. Their message transcends across every race, age and religion and reminds everyone that comes through the door that one person CAN make a difference. In Ian’s Boots also provides our community a chance to give back – in 2016, 83 community members volunteered 2445 hours. 

There is a job for everyone in the Shoe Box.  Our OJR youth are exposed to reality and leave feeling blessed for what they have and often want to find other ways to help and our elderly are excited to still be able to give back to their community.  In Ian’s Boots also gives volunteers a chance to help after catastrophic events. We’ve all seen the recent news regarding the hurricane in Puerto Rico and many of us have felt the desire to physically help but can’t find a way to do so.  In Ian’s Boots gives our community volunteers that chance to help as shoes from OJR are already on the ground in Puerto Rico!

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