REF benefit performance tickets still available

January 6, 2011 // 0 Comments

Step into the new year with a visit to the Capitol Steps. Good reserved seating is still available for the Rockford Education Foundation’s (REF) 15th annual benefit performance. Don’t wait until the last minute. The Capitol Steps is a comedic and satirical touring group whose material is always fresh and bipartisan. Appearing before sold-out audiences nationwide, the Steps make fun of everybody, especially politicians and governmental officials. Laugh along with the Capitol Steps as they poke good-natured satirical fun at the rich and powerful. Tickets for the single 8 p.m. performance on January 15 are available by contacting the REF office at (616) 863-6317.

RPS launches Hall of Fame, seeks nominations

April 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Education Foundation (REF) in collaboration with Rockford Public Schools (RPS) is launching the RPS Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will develop and maintain relationships with Rockford High School alumni, current students and the community. The RPS Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize Jon and Carol Muth along with Pete and Amy Kruer as the 2010 Honorary Chairs. The Hall of Fame will recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in their field or made significant contributions to RPS or their respective communities on a local, national or global level. The Hall of Fame Steering Committee is asking community members to consider nominating someone who fits the profile for this honor. The four categories are Cultural/Performing Arts, Academic/Career Accomplishments, Service to the Rockford Public Schools/Community, and Honorary Achievement-Contribution to Rockford Public Schools. The goal of this platform is to inspire today’s students with vision and encouragement from the examples set by the inductees. The hope is to provide students an opportunity to connect with these individuals through talks and forums allowing the students to have face-to-face conversations with these role models. A panel will be selected to review nominations and choose the Hall of Fame Inductees, with the induction celebration scheduled for October 1-3, 2010. The celebration will include inductee classroom visits, a dedication and installment of a Hall of Fame Commemorative Monument, and a benefit induction dinner. Applications and details can be found online at or For more information, please contact the REF at (616) 863-6317.

Letters to the Editor — March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010 // 0 Comments

REF sends thanks REF sends thanks Dear Editor, The Rockford Education Foundation (REF) had another very successful Phone A Thon Event. We would like to say a big THANK YOU to the staff and families of Rockford public and private schools for volunteering their time to make the phone calls and to the Rockford community for answering those calls and pledging so generously. REF continues to be a success and able to grant money back into our area schools and learning programs because of your support. Thank you. REF Board of Trustees

Curbside Service

May 7, 2009 // 0 Comments

Coke was driving in town last Saturday morning when she spotted signs promoting the REF’s “TipToe through the Ted” sod sale. She hurried on over to the high school and purchased six rolls of sod and returned home to place them in her yard. The football turf looked so great she quickly returned to the high school and purchased eight more rolls. Ram football players provided assistance through-out the day by loading sod in purchasers vehicles. About to load sod in the rear of Coke’s vehicle are Rockford varsity football players Joe Stefanski (middle) and Jon Newsome (r). The days activities were sponsored by the Rockford Education Foundation (REF), Rockford Football and Band Boosters. REF administrator Sue Arend tells the Squire that the promotion was a “win-win for everyone involved”. As of Monday morning, May 4, some 500 yards of sod had been sold and she was still busy fielding calls from new first time purchasers as well as those seeking to add to a previous purchase or donation.

Concert Continues Tradition of Excellence

January 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF and NANCY HILL The mission of the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) is to promote excellence in education for people of all ages in the Rockford community. Toward that end the REF annually sponsors an eagerly awaited and excellent benefit performance usually held in the acoustically correct and comfortable confines of the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium. Every year REF Administrator Sue Arend and a committee of REF trustees agree upon and book the finest available performing artist(s) to headline the annual concert. Over the years the selections have been an eclectic mix chosen to appeal to the diverse tastes of the Rockford area. Last Saturday evening the REF was proud to present the multi-talented singer/songwriter and recording artist, Brian Vander Ark. Vander Ark is a native of West Michigan who currently resides in East Grand Rapids with his wife and three-year-old daughter, Evie. Wife, Lux Land, is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her own right. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s Vander Ark was the principal songwriter and frontman for the Verve Pipe, a band that has sold over three million albums worldwide. In 1997 he wrote and, along with the band, recorded the hit single The Freshmen. His gift as a songwriter has resulted in a collection of original songs of a storyteller relating life experiences that he as well as his listeners, have lived. His melodies and rhythms are unique, intensely personal, and riveting. Leading off the evening’s concert was Vander Ark’s beautiful and talented wife, recording artist Lux Land, who warmed the crowd up singing a collection of her own penned songs. What followed was a performance by Brian Vander Ark that resulted in a standing ovation at its close. Vander Ark had brought in a group of accomplished musicians from Texas to back him up for the evening. The group, which remained nameless, was composed of Richard Hewett on drums, Dylan Sneed on guitar, Bryan Frink on bass, and featured Kristy Kruger on keyboard and pedal steel guitar, while at times providing vocal accompaniment. For the better part of two hours Vander Ark and the band performed a selection of his songs that explored themes of life and family along with love and loss. Crowd favorites included Monday […]

1 2