Members of the SPAPSD community recently gathered to commemorate the legacy of esteemed educator, Gene LaRose, during a special memorial tree planting ceremony. The event took place the first morning of the 52nd Annual Gene LaRose Elementary Track Meet. Family, friends, and former colleagues came together to honor Gene's lifelong dedication to students of the Stevens Point Area Public School District.
Gene LaRose's journey began after graduating from La Crosse State Teachers College in 1959. He embarked on his teaching career in the Stevens Point Public School District, starting as a Math and Physical Education teacher at Emerson Junior High School. Over the years, Gene's passion for education and commitment to fostering well-rounded individuals led him to take on various leadership roles within the district. He served as the Elementary Physical Education Supervisor, ensuring that students received a comprehensive and enriching physical education curriculum. Later, he held principal positions at McKinley, Kennedy, and McDill Elementary Schools, where he made a lasting impact on countless students' lives.
One of Gene LaRose's most remarkable achievements was the establishment of the 5th and 6th Grade Elementary School District Track Meet. This annual event provids an opportunity for thousands of Stevens Point Area students to participate in friendly competition and showcase their athletic abilities. Throughout the years, the track meet has become a cherished tradition within the community, promoting sportsmanship, teamwork, and healthy competition.
In recognition of Gene's immeasurable contributions to the Stevens Point Area Public School District and his dedication to the track meet, the event was renamed the Gene LaRose Elementary Track Meet on its 50th anniversary in 2019. This renaming served as a testament to the impact Gene had on countless students and the community as a whole. The gesture symbolized the gratitude and respect that the district and its members hold for Gene's tireless efforts.
To honor Gene LaRose's enduring legacy following his death in March of 2023, a Prairie Horizon Manchurian Alder tree was planted on the grounds of P.J. Jacobs Junior High School. This tree represents growth, strength, and resilience—qualities that Gene embodied throughout his career.
The ceremony brought together family, friends, and former colleagues who shared their fond memories and stories of Gene's unwavering dedication to education and athletics. It was a touching tribute to a man who had left an indelible mark on the Stevens Point community.
Gene LaRose's impact on the Stevens Point Area Public School District and the community at large is immeasurable. As a teacher, administrator, and founder of the annual elementary track meet, he touched the lives of thousands of students and inspired a love for learning and sportsmanship. The memorial tree planting ceremony, held on the morning of the 52nd annual Gene LaRose Track Meet, was a heartfelt celebration of his contributions. As the Prairie Horizon Manchurian Alder tree continues to grow and flourish, it will serve as a lasting reminder of Gene's unwavering commitment to education, athletics, and the Stevens Point community as a whole.