Every spring, the Community Foundation awards a grant to the School District of Fort Atkinson to fund the Ed Winiarski Turnaround Award to a graduating high school senior who has made positive changes during their high school years.
Mr. Winiarski grew up in Milwaukee, served his country as a Marine in the Korean conflict, and graduated from UW-LaCrosse. He came to Fort Atkinson in 1958 and his career included positions as a physical education teacher, basketball coach, athletic director, and many years as an assistant principal at Fort Atkinson High School until his retirement in 1994.
There are literally hundreds of stories about Ed and how he “turned around” the lives of high school students. We are sure there are many Fort high alumni who have Mr. Winiarski stories. Ed was a friend to all students but could be very firm when he needed to be. Unfortunately, Mr. Winiarski was stricken with cancer shortly after he retired and he died in 1998.
After Ed’s passing, in honor of his work with students, his colleagues and friends annually cobbled together donations to fund a small Ed Winiarski Turnaround Award to a graduating high school senior. In 2003, teacher Bob Vincent reached out to the Community Foundation and asked us to take over funding this award. The Foundation directors were pleased to do so and have continued to fund this unique award for the past 20 years, increasing the award to $500 in 2005 and to $750 in 2009.
The 2023 recipient of the Ed Winiarski Turnaround Award will be announced at the high school’s Senior Scholarship Ceremony on Wednesday, May 17th.