The Friend of Education Award is presented to a person or persons who make special and unique contributions to the cause of education over an extended period, but particularly in the last year. Recipients should be outside of the education community or profession, or persons within the profession who have gone considerably beyond the normal expectations of professional assignment. 

The Coeur Group and Lola Hagadone
Nominated by Kelli Aiken 

When asked, most people will say they, of course, support students and public schools. But few show the real commitment of The Coeur Group and Lola Hagadone. 

Twenty-nine schools in the Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts have “Coeur Clothing Lockers,” a place where underprivileged children attending these schools can find many of the day-to-day school necessities their families just cannot provide. 

“Some kids come to school with the same underwear, no socks, or shoes with holes, or they get wet and cold during recess or need nice clothes for prom and senior project presentations,” wrote Kelli Aiken in her nomination of the group for IEA’s Friend of Education Award.  “The list of needs is endless.”  

The Coeur Group is a coalition of more than 40 young businessmen in the Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland areas that raises money to build, install and stock the lockers in the schools. Hagadone, a key benefactor of the group, matches their fundraising for the project.  

“I have personally experienced taking students to the clothing closets, allowing them to choose anything they need,” wrote Aiken, who serves as president of the Idaho Education Association’s Region 1, an IEA board member and a school counselor at Mountain View Alternative High School. Students often ask if it is really OK for them to pick anything from the closet. I am grateful to the Coeur Group and Lola Hagadone that students will have nice, warm clothing that fits them right now.”

On average, 450 kids use the lockers each week.  

“Both the Coeur Group and Lola Hagadone have gone above and beyond the normal expectations of community involvement in education,” Aiken wrote. “Their contributions have been invaluable in supporting the education of our students, and their commitment to education is truly commendable.”

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