Rick and Jane Flory Schwartz are not new to supporting the arts; they have been active supporters of both the Victoria Theatre Association and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. But supporting the arts in Oakwood was a much more personal pursuit.

The two both identify their time exploring the arts in high school as important. “Oakwood Schools gave us a big head start in our lives,” Says Rick who, along with Jane, graduated from Oakwood High School in 1967. Rick played percussion in the Oakwood High School band and marching band, while Jane pursued the visual arts. Jane cites the encouragement of her Oakwood arts teacher, Mr. C. as leading her to minor in arts in college. Although their passions were different, they credit their experiences in the Oakwood schools as the foundation for their lifelong love of the arts, especially for theater and classical music.

It was this shared passion for the arts and fondness for Oakwood schools that led them to participate on the steering committee of the Oakwood School Foundation’s FLOURISH campaign for the arts. Becoming honorary chairs of the $8.8 million dollar effort to enhance and update the arts facilities at Oakwood High School was an obvious way to give back to a school and a subject that had meant so much to their lives. Moreover, as former students of the arts themselves, they understood the in-classroom needs. “When it comes to arts in our schools, the environment makes such a big difference in keeping students interested and engaged,” Rick said when describing the goals of the FLOURISH campaign, which will include structural and technological upgrades for band, choir, orchestra, visual arts classes, and theater and speech and debate programs.

The Oakwood Schools Foundation is grateful for the opportunities to connect the Oakwood schools, students, and teachers with Oakwood alumni, families, and the greater Oakwood community in pursuit of a shared goal: keeping the Oakwood schools excellent. To learn more about the Foundation’s work to enhance excellence in the arts at Oakwood and about the FLOURISH campaign, visit: www.oakwoodschoolsfoundation.org/FLOURISH.

Listen to their story in their own words in the video below.