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‘Tanny Tree’ to comfort Huron students

Alissa Widman Neese • Apr 7, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Shawnee Elementary School will honor its departed principal with a vibrant yellow shade tree, slated for planting this summer.

Overwhelming support of an online fundraiser coordinated by Satanta “Tanny” Vonthron’s high school classmates, Huron High School’s Class of 1992, will make the project possible.

Their modest goal: collect $1,100, enough funds to plant a memorial “Tanny Tree” near the elementary school’s playground.

The group shattered the target amount in only a few hours.

Want to donate?

Visit gofundme.com/7z5oy0 to donate to online on the Huron High School Class of 1992’s GoFundMe page.

Send checks for the Satanta Vonthron Memorial Scholarship Fund to Huron City Schools, 712 Cleveland Road East, Huron, OH 44839.

Call 419-433-1234 for more information.

“I’m so overwhelmed with how many people donated, but I’m not really surprised,” said Dawn Hohler, of Huron, who helped coordinate the effort. “She impacted so many people, including my three children, who all had her as a principal”

Vonthron, who had been Shawnee Elementary School’s principal since 2008, lost a lengthy battle with cancer March 12.

In just five days, her GoFundMe page, titled “Tanny Vonthron Memorial Tree at Shawnee” has received more than $5,500 in donations from 82 people and has been shared more than 300 times on social media.

The Class of ’92 will continue to promote the page, with all leftover proceeds benefitting the new Satanta Vonthron Memorial Scholarship Fund at Huron Schools.

Its members plan to host a ceremony and plant the memorial tree in July, during Huron River Fest weekend, Hohler said.

Barnes Nursery will supply the tree, as well as an engraved granite bench.

The tree, a gingko biloba, is commonly called an “Autumn Gold” because its leaves turn bright yellow in autumn months. They typically all fall off in a short amount of time, creating a golden blanket on the ground.

The class agreed it was the perfect memorial for Vonthron, whose favorite color was yellow.

Smiles for Tanny

“We want the little kids there to remember her legacy, and we hope the tree and the bench will help,” Hohler said. “If they’re having a bad day, they can head out there and sit under the tree and enjoy the same comfort she provided to everyone”

Huron Schools superintendent Dennis Muratori said the district will work with the classmates to coordinate the tree-planting ceremony.

Staff members of Shawnee Elementary School plan to plant a bed of yellow flowers near the building’s marquee sign, Muratori said. Additionally, playground equipment at the school will feature a plaque for Vonthron.

“We’re really allowing the school to take the lead on these projects,” Muratori said. “There are a lot of ideas going around right now for a proper tribute. The response has been tremendous”

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