By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — For several years Byron Oswald served the Wawasee Community School Corporation as a maintenance worker and also the head of maintenance at Wawasee High School before retiring. He often did the sort of work not noticed by the general public, but was seen and appreciated by staff, administrators and students at the high school.
Early in the afternoon Friday, May 8, it was Oswald’s turn to be served. Oswald, who is battling a brain tumor, was presented a check for $2,000 by Geoff Walmer, WHS principal, and Steve Perek, assistant principal. The funds were raised by the high school student council in conjunction with Pow Wow, an annual event normally held in March but which was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pow Wow, a week of festivities culminating in a carnival for students, was created in 2013 and is primarily held to increase school spirit and also to help a specific cause within the high school family. This year’s cause was to help Oswald, and although the carnival and other festivities were not held, funds had still been raised prior to cancellation.
“Byron was a staff member that our school has counted on for years and years,” said Alexandra Haberman, junior class vice president. “He has helped make Wawasee High School what it is today by constantly helping with every event. We would not be the school we are today without the support and extraordinary effort he put into everything he did.”
Zachary Leedy, student body president, added, “Byron had always supported Pow Wow by making sure everybody had the supplies needed for the event. Byron was a huge part of Pow Wow, and we as a school wanted to do something to thank him for that.”
Oswald is making some progress in his fight against the brain tumor and is undergoing radiation treatments. He was also given a collection of comments students had submitted through Padlet, an online resource.