Hawthorn Woods school's beautification project honors beloved secretary
Students, parents and employees at Spencer Loomis Elementary School in Hawthorn Woods will work together Saturday on a landscaping beautification effort that'll honor a beloved building secretary who died about a year ago.
About $8,700 in donations were collected for the project in memory of Susan Lindner, who spent roughly 20 years at Lake Zurich Unit District 95. Her final 11 years were as a secretary at Spencer Loomis, where she was legendary for knowing the names of all 500 or so students and their parents.
Lindner's welcoming nature led to the idea of Saturday's volunteer gathering to refresh the landscaping at the front entrance to Spencer Loomis, said school PTO President Kerry Pollard. The children and adults are scheduled to work from 8 a.m. to noon, with a short dedication at 1 p.m.
"She was such a hardworking, dedicated person who was known to help others with their work and often stayed late to finish her own," Pollard said of Lindner.
Pollard said about 65 adult and child volunteers have signed up for Saturday. She said the work will occur rain or shine.
Lindner, 64, died May 15, 2014. Only a month before her death, she received District 95's Distinguished Service Award and $400 -- money she donated to Spencer Loomis.
Pollard said preliminary chores will begin Friday with a cleanup and removal of flowers that have been at Spencer Loomis since the school opened in 2003. She said those flowers will be replanted Saturday, along with evergreen shrubs, two green metal benches, ornamental grass and about 200 perennials.
Lindner was a 36-year Lake Zurich resident who raised three children in the village with her husband, Mark. In an interview with the Daily Herald in 2010, the Maryland native credited her tremendous power of recall to playing countless hours of board games.
Spencer Loomis parent Amy Kappelman said Lindner was "the heart and soul" of the school.
"When we moved here, it was Susan who made sure we felt at home and knew everything we needed to know to get settled," Kappelman said. "She was a connector, and she is missed every single day."
Pollard, Kappelman and six other members of the Susan Lindner Memorial Committee organized Saturday's project at Spencer Loomis.