The Sprowls Enrichment Fund for Fort Cherry provides an annual grant to Fort Cherry School District in support of student enrichment programs, including but not limited to agriculture, arts, humanities, or environmental studies.
The fund was created in 2005 by David and Dawn Sprowls Haber to honor the memories of Duane Sprowls and Lou Rae Sprowls White. Initially, the fund awarded scholarships to the graduates of Fort Cherry High School who were pursuing post-secondary education. However, the purpose of the fund was changed in 2023 in an effort to positively impact the educational experience for more students through the district's enrichment programming.
Duane Sprowls and Lou Rae Sprowls White valued education because it not only benefits the individual but benefits the greater good of society. Their lives illustrated a focus on education, while maintaining the importance of becoming a well rounded individual. The fund is a tribute to their dedication and a lasting gift to the community they loved.
As a young boy, one of Duane’s passions was baseball. He was a catcher for many local teams throughout his youth. This passion for sports followed him throughout his life. He coached baseball and basketball for several years, spending many years as a head coach in basketball. “He made you feel you could accomplish anything if you put your mind to it,” said one of his former players.
Duane stopped playing baseball to serve in the United States Air Force from 1950-1953. He was stationed in Germany.
In 1954, he married Lou Rae. The couple moved to Mt. Pleasant Township, a part of the Fort Cherry School District, in the early 1960s. They raised their daughters, all graduates of Fort Cherry High School, and became active members of the community.
Duane was one of the first members of his family to graduate from college and obtain a post graduate degree. He graduated from West Liberty State College and West Virginia University. After graduation, Duane began working at Fort Cherry High School. He worked there from the day the school opened until his retirement, teaching both history and the principles of education. He expanded his knowledge into new areas whenever he had a chance.
Likewise, Lou Rae was a lifetime learner. She went to commercial school as a young woman and worked at several businesses including a Washington law firm. Along with Duane, she operated a Montgomery Ward Catalog store and ran a small farm in Washington County. She finished her career as the secretary for Mt. Pleasant Township.
Throughout her life Lou Rae was involved in youth based activities, such as Girl Scouts and 4-H. She also served as a Deacon and Elder in the Hickory United Presbyterian Church, where she was able to give back to the community that benefited her and her family.