For Immediate Release:
The Gasconade County R-1 School district is excited to announce a generous donation to the existing Gaertner-Roetheli Scholarship fund. The fund was established by Agnes and Harvey Gaertner in 2007. From its inception to now, the Gaertners have invested over $275,000 into our graduates over the past 15 years, which has benefited 64 Hermann High School graduates. In addition to the original scholarships, 24 students have had their awards renewed for additional years. Agnes and Harvey have also contributed to teacher recruitment grants and helped the Hermann Schools meet the goal of all students having a Chromebook. They have worked hard during their life together and feel the call to share their good fortune with the next generations. With their most recent donation the Gaertners have committed close to $1,000,000 dollars to the students of Hermann!
Agnes (Roetheli) and Harvey Gaertner grew up on farms in the Hermann area and attended local schools. Agnes transferred to Hermann High from St. George Catholic School in her junior year and graduated as Valedictorian of the Class of 1963. Harvey graduated from Hermann High in 1962. Harvey was an active member of FFA, serving as chapter president his senior year. Both graduated from the University of Missouri - Columbia, Harvey with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and Agnes with a BA in German and a BS in Secondary Education.
Harvey served as an aircraft maintenance officer at Norton AFB and then pursued a career in agricultural finance. Agnes taught German and French for 35 years in Southern CA, and in 1978-79, taught English at a German Gymnasium (college-prep high school) as a Fulbright Foreign Exchange Teacher. They both fell in love with the warm climate, purchased bare land near Temecula, CA and established a citrus and avocado ranch. Although retired from their careers, they are still pursuing their agricultural roots on the ranch.
When asked why they do this, they explain that they want to give back to the community that nurtured them. They want to award these scholarships while they are living so they can form relationships with the recipients and follow them as they enter the world. Agnes and Harvey want to offer significant scholarships to students who show evidence of working hard and having a balanced life. When the committee meets each year to select the recipients, they look for strong grades, solid test scores, and those who can articulate a realistic passion for their chosen careers.
Agnes and Harvey value hard work, community service, and generosity. These are the same traits that our current educators try to instill in our students today. The Gaertners serve as living examples of The Bearcat Way. With their previous commitments to the students and the generous gift presented to the district this year the Gaertner-Roetheli Scholarship Fund will positively impact the students and community of Hermann, MO for many years to come.
The Gasconade County R-1 School district would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Agnes and Harvey Gaertner. Your commitment to our students and community is admirable and reflect the wonderful spirit of Hermann and the best of what our graduates can do.