Chico High School Foundation Finds New Leadership in the Wake of Tragedy

The Chico High School Foundation (CHSF) is pleased to announce a new president to its Board of Directors.

At the January meeting of the foundation the board voted unanimously to appoint Syl Lucena, a Chico native and Chico High School graduate into the leadership position. This decision was made after the sudden and unexpected loss of Roger Williams, former principal of Chico High School and Founder of the Chico High School Foundation.

Roger was a tireless advocate for quality education and supporter of Chico High School. Immediately following his 22-year tenure in the administration at Chico High Roger committed himself to raising endowments and various other funds to directly support teachers and students at Chico High School. Under his stellar leadership the CHSF raised more than $200,000 earmarked to benefit all facets of the high school from Agriculture to Arts and Sciences. Roger worked to provide former teachers and alumni effective ways to give back to their alma mater. His legacy was truly in promoting and supporting quality education.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work the past six years alongside Roger Williams. His commitment to our youth and quality education was unparalleled.  I truly believe Roger would be pleased knowing Syl is at the helm,” stated Alexa Valavanis, CEO of the North Valley Community Foundation the umbrella organization for CHSF. 

Syl Lucena is a graduate of both Chico High School and Chico State. He has been married to his wife, Carol for 51 years, has 3 sons, Marc, Steve and Matt, all graduates of CHS and is the proud grandpa of 6. Syl has owned Collier Hardware in Downtown Chico for 48 years. He has served on the Enloe Foundation, currenty serves on the Chico Rotary Foundation and is a board member of AAA NCNU.

The Chico High School Foundation Board of Directors also includes:

Syl Lucena, President; Alberta Simic, Vice President; Carol Laffins, Secretary; Tim Colbie, Treasurer.

Maribeth Growden; Michael Halldorson; Earl Jessee; Emma Jessee; Mary McGowan-Anderson; Michael Redman; Debi Stalions; and Dan Sours.

The mission of the Chico High School Foundation is to enhance and enrich student learning opportunities by providing additional financial support for the academic and extracurricular programs at Chico High School. Chico High School Foundation is a nonprofit public charity though it partnership with the North Valley Community Foundation.

CHS Foundation Builds Momentum

The Chico High Foundation Board continues to support many different programs at Chico High School. The board sincerely appreciates the many people who have generously donated money to enhance and enrich the learning experiences of students at Chico High School.

Below is a brief listing of the exciting and significant additions to the endowment and scholarship funds managed by the board this past year.

Patricia Wismer, former CHS English/drama/photo instructor, has donated $10,000 to the North Valley Community (NVCF) to support the English department budget in perpetuity.

Claudia Williamson Steel has donated $10,000 to NVCF to support the art department budget in perpetuity.

Marge and Dick Maddox have donated an additional $10,000 to their science scholarship. Dick was a former science instructor at CHS, and Marge was recently elected into the CUSD Hall of Fame.

An anonymous donor has donated $12,000 to a student entering the engineering program at CSUC.

The Bertagna Families initiated an annual $500 scholarship to an outstanding agriculture student this spring.

The CHSF board allocated $5000 in mini-grants to teachers in the Spring of 2008.

The board distributed over $4000 to the Fine and Performing Arts programs from silent auction proceeds raised at the Alumni dinner last fall.

The CHSF Board awarded $17,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors during the May senior awards ceremony.