From the Archives – Mentor Log (October 30, 1975)

What did Mentor School Board candidates think in 1975?

Mr. Steve Couch and Steven Dohm

Please enjoy this archived article from the old Mentor High School Log, one of the earlier incarnations of the Mentor High School student newspaper. Special thanks to Mr. Sanelli for finding these in an old bureau taken from the old Mentor High School Library during its renovation into the Hub. Also thanks to Mrs. Ford and the GenYes team for scanning and sharing the original article.

This article features interviews with candidates for Mentor School Board in 1975. With school boards frequently making news, it is interesting perspective to read about the issues of the day almost fifty years ago and remember – this too shall pass! Mrs. Gawronski ended up serving almost a quarter century as a Mentor School Board member. Mr. Vendel was also elected a board member. Both passed away in 2014. – Mr. Couch, Cardinal Nation Advisor

Board Hopefuls Interviewed 

October 30, 1975

Candidates for the Mentor Board of Education talked about themselves and related some of their views and opinions during exclusive MHS Log interviews.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are Mrs. Charlene Gawronski, Charles A. Riley, Joseph Vendel and John Waddington. Two of them will be elected Nov. 4 to four year terms.

Mrs. Gawronski lives with her husband Robert and her two children, Glenn, a MHS junior, and Grant, a Ridge 8th grader, at 6321 Dawson Blvd.

A homemaker, and running for the Board for her first time, Mrs. Gawronski says that she believes she “can do a great deal to improve the communication and the working relationship between the citizens, school board, and teachers of Mentor.”

“I don’t approve of security personnel at the high school,” answers Mrs. Gawronski in regard to a question on the para-professionals. She feels that if there is a security problem at the high school, additional teachers should be hired to lower the pupil-teacher ratio and clear up “half of the discipline problems.”

On students smoking at the high school, Mrs. Gawronski says that since she feels she is completely realistic, she would “favor a plan that would let students go outside and smoke.” However, she does not approve of students smoking, especially in the building.

Mrs. Gawronski is president of the Ridge Parent-Teacher Association, a state life member of Ohio PTA, a member of the Superintendent’s advisory committee, and the Secondary Schools Interim Report Committee.Mr. Riley resides at 7200 Taft St. with his wife Patricia and their four children, Kim, an MHS junior, Leslie, a Ridge student, Chip, a Ridge 7th grader, and Christopher, a Bellflower Elementary student. Mr. Riley is a production manager for the Traveler’sInsurance Company.

Mr. Riley is the only incumbent among the four candidates. He was first elected in 1971, and his four-year term expires at the end of December.

Mr. Riley gives as his reasons for running for the board his own four children, “plus 12,000 other reasons that I was interested in, being a school board member.”

Mr. Riley advocates a broader curriculum in the Mentor system, and he thinks that for academic students, “We are already doing great things.” On the security personnel being at the high school, Mr. Riley says, “It really hasn’t bothered me.”

“Some of the students seemed to have the feeling that it was a ‘Gestapo’ approach,'” says: Mr. Riley, “and that it was a hard armed approach.” Mr. Riley stresses that he would be very much against this.

“I have to honestly say that I don’t know what the answer is,” admits Mr. Riley regarding student smoking. Mr. Riley says that if students are given smoking permission by the schools, the parents who don’t allow their children to smoke, or don’t know if they do smoke, will be very upset.

“I’m very much in favor of an expanded student union, student lounge kind of facility,” maintains Mr. Riley.

Mr. Riley was the 1974 Board of Education president. He is presently on the Executive Committee Northeast Ohio School Boards and the Communications Council of Metropolitan Cleveland.

Mr. Vendel, who lives at 8744 Cliffwood Court, is a plant technical engineer at the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., Eastlake Plant. He has a wife, Kitty, and three children, Ann and Mary Kit, Shore students, and Joey, a student a Orchard Hollow Elementary.

This is Mr. Vendel’s first bid for public office of any kind, and he says he is running because he cares about the education of Mentor’s pupils.

Mr. Vendel says that his primary objective is “to see that the young people in Mentor receive the best education possible with the funds that are provided by the taxpayers of Mentor.”

“I would hope that I would receive input from the students as well. as interested parents, teachers, administrators, and citizens of Mentor,” adds Mr. Vendel.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to have security people,” says Mr. Vendel, “but if this is needed to provide an academic atmosphere, it’s good.”

Mr. Vendel says that the policy of no smoking “is a rule or regulation we have to live with, and I think it’s good.”

He elaborates, “If you have an area where students are allowed to smoke, I think you’re really encouraging this.”

“I feel that the high school is too big of an operation,’ he says. Mr. Vendel would advocate a second high school. Mr. Vendel is on the Mentor School Advisory Committee, the Mentor Shore PTA, and the MHS One Hundred Committee.

Mr. Waddington lives with his wife Kathleen and their three children, Laura Ann and Kathleen, who both attend Memorial Junior High, and John a student at Hopkins Elementary.

He is a supervisor of field research of the Diamond Shamrock Corp. Mr. Waddington feels that more people must get involved in political life and has already served as chairman of a committee appointed by the School Neighborhood Action Communication Committee (SNACC) to examine the various segments of the school system.

“It gave me an excellent chance to get to know some of the people involved and some of the problems that exist within the school system,” relates Mr. Waddington about his committee chairmanship. About the para-professionals, Mr. Waddington says, “To me, this is kind of a last resort. There are obviously better ways to initiate discipline.” He adds that he strongly advocates “reasonable discipline.”

Mr. Waddington feels that as long as there is a no-smoking policy for the high school, “it should be enforced.”

“I won’t do anything about it (smoking). The policy as it exists seems like a reasonable policy to me, explains Mr. Waddington.

Mr. Waddington says, however, that he would be open to ideas and suggestions on the subject.

Mr. Waddington continues to be a member of SNACC.