Four families honored during annual tree dedication ceremony

Hannah Kopek, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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  Continuing the tradition of years prior, former principal and school board member Bob Smith hosted a tree dedication ceremony for four recipients on Friday Sept. 27. Each year select members of the community are honored by having a tree planted on campus in their name. This year, Linda and Bill Hanley, Margie and Roger Bonuchi, Karen Roppa, and Dave Stephens were recognized.
“We’ve had students and staff who are very active in the school community, and we want to celebrate what they have accomplished,” Smith said.
The Hanley family was honored for their contributions from the Needy Family Fund. Since its inception in 1992, they have purchased gifts for less fortunate families within the district.
“Our family has certainly received great benefits from the school,” B. Hanley, recipient, said. “This school has been a vital part to the community and our family.”
The Bonuchi family were active members of the band boosters. Margie has been sponsoring the annual fall craft show for the last 22 years, which is the band’s biggest fundraiser. Roger also served on the school board during a major financial deficit.
“I came to Plainfield 25 years ago, and it felt like home from the minute I got here,” M. Bonuchi said. “I just wanted to be a part of this great community of people.”
Former softball coach and physical education teacher Karen Roppa was formally honored at the event. Her tree was planted in between the softball fields by players of the softball teams that  she coached in the 1980s and 1990s.
“I was overwhelmed and very honored,” Roppa said. “A piece of me is now on my home ground, and it makes me very, very proud.”
As a surprise, Smith also honored principal Dave Stephens.
“It’s a huge honor,” Stephens said. “It was very nice of him [Smith]. I’m very appreciative.”
Stephens has been working in the school district for 33 years as an educator, athletic director, and principal. He is retiring this spring.
“It’s a great tradition at a school that prides itself on tradition,” Stephens said. “It is another example of the legacy of the people associated with PHS.”

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