Brecksville Chicks making their mark

by Dan Holland

Visitors to the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School and Middle School campus will take note of the “Brecksville Chicks” street sign.

The street was recently re-named by 11 moms who decided to form a group 11 years ago when each one’s daughter – now all sophomores at the high school – was in kindergarten at Highland Elementary School.

An annual renaming of a number of street signs along a thoroughfare that runs through the campus is part of a fundraising program sponsored by the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Schools Foundation, which awards the renaming rights to the highest bidder.

Brecksville Councilperson Ann Koepke, a founding member of the Brecksville Chicks, explained that the group initially formed to provide friendship and support for parents in the school district.

“At first, we all had young kids, and it was about having friends; not only friends for the kids to have, but for the adults as well,” said Koepke. “We started through the PSO at the school, and it involved a lot of being room moms and volunteering. Then we decided to bid on one of these signs, which was through the Schools Foundation – that was a fundraiser that we all pitched in on and bought the sign; we’ve been involved in that three or four years in a row now.”

According to BBHCSD Superintendent Joelle Magyar – who also sits on the board of trustees of the BBH Schools Foundation – the foundation “raises funds for classroom and teacher grants, while helping to greatly enhance the pride, dedication and compassion our community has in its school district.”

The group was especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Koepke.

“It’s amazing how we kept each other informed, especially during the pandemic,” she said. “We would keep each other up-to-date, especially in transitioning from the middle school to the high school down to questions about classes, trying to figure out the difference between honors classes and college credit courses. It’s a great place to sound off and ask questions and get feedback from someone who may have an older child.”

With a diversity of backgrounds, professions and areas of knowledge, the group is always willing to help out other parents with children in the district, said Koepke.

“If there was to be a goal, I think it would be to try to make things easier for other moms and parents in the school district,” she said. “Just to let them know that there could be a good foundation for them as well, and people are always welcome. We’re always willing to share any knowledge we have.”

The group members support and lift up one another in the various facets of life.

“Looking back, we met when our kids were learning to tie their shoes and learning to read; now they are getting their drivers licenses and thinking about colleges,” said Koepke. “I had these women supporting me when I was running for council, which was something I never thought I would do. We push our boundaries and help each other achieve our goals. I’m very grateful and blessed to have found this group.”

Group member Shelley Roth, who works as an educational assistant at Brecksville-Broadview High School and has three children of her own in the district, echoes those sentiments.

“I’m so grateful to have such a great group of mom friends,” she said. “Throughout the years, our bond has grown stronger and we’ve all become close friends and we’re all very supportive of one another. … [We] bring a sense of camaraderie to the community,” she said. “We have a diverse group of ladies in the group in a lot of different ways.”

A statement from the school district notes of the group: “The Brecksville Chicks are a special group of mothers who have watched their children grow from a young age to high school students. They reflect the very best of what it means to be devoted members of our BBHCSD school family.” ∞

The Brecksville Chicks, including Amy Ference, Pam Daiker-Middaugh, Madalynn
Wendland, Jill Lahrmer, Ann Koepke, Janet Popielski, Jill Mansfield, Denise Beach,
Ruth Schneider, Shelley Roth and Suzanne Brown pose in front of their new street sign.
Photo submitted.