Reaching Heights presents annual awards

Geizel Canady-Ashford (right) accepts the Friend of Public Education award from Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights.

In December, Reaching Heights held its annual meeting in the Platinum Lounge of Motorcars Honda in Cleveland Heights. Each year at this event, Reaching Heights welcomes members and the community to review the year’s highlights, to thank outgoing board members and welcome new board members, and to recognize caring community members and local businesses for their contributions in embracing a shared responsibility for the successful education of all students attending CH-UH public schools.

Reaching Heights members, board and staff thanked Darrin Gamble for serving for three years as board treasurer and overall “financial guru” for the nonprofit.

The Reaching Heights Board of Directors voted to accept Ditte Wolin, Tiera Briggs, Lance Godard and Kim Skillern-Samuels as new board members.

Geizel Canady-Ashford received a Friend of Public Education award for her many contributions, including serving as a tutor to many students, as a PTA member at Noble Elementary and Monticello Middle schools, and as PTA vice president at Heights High. She has also been an active volunteer and tour chaperone with the Band and Orchestra Parents Organization (BOPO) and the Vocal Arts Parents Organization (VAPO). Last year, the Heights High Lady Tigers tennis team named Canady-Ashford "Team Mom.” For the past four years, she attended every practice and all home and away matches, armed with snacks, blankets, and encouraging words.

Reaching Heights also named Chuck Lamb a Friend of Public Education. He served as an unpaid assistant varsity basketball coach for the Heights High men's basketball team for 38 years, from 1979 to 2017. He also supported CH-UH schools' operating levies by assisting the Heights basketball players in canvassing neighborhoods with levy literature. His employer, Motorcars Honda, provided vans to transport the athletes, and Lamb helped the young men figure out what to say to homeowners to promote Heights schools. Coach Lamb was proud to say that both levies he and his players supported were successful.

Chuck Gile, owner of the Motorcars Group, accepted the award for Reaching Heights Outstanding Community Partner. Reaching Heights recognized Motorcars for employing Heights students and graduates, and for allowing employees to volunteer time and resources to support Heights sports teams and levy campaigns. The Motorcars Group made a large donation to rebuilding the Lady Tigers Softball Field in 2013, and regularly donates to many student groups, placing sponsorship ads in event programs and providing raffle prizes for fundraisers.

The nonprofit Reaching Heights connects the community to the Heights public schools by providing information, programs and events that enrich students and support teachers. Connect, support, or volunteer by contacting Reaching Heights through its website (, by phone (216-932-5110), by e-mail ( or traditional mail (2843 Washington Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118).

Krista Hawthorne

Krista Hawthorne is executive director of Reaching Heights.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:49 AM, 01.21.2018