Making Education a Possibility for All

When you grow up with two educators as parents, you learn to appreciate the value of education from an early age—and this was especially true for Darlene Drage.

“Getting an education was always important in our family,” said Darlene.

Darlene’s dad, Dr. Raymond G. Drage, served the Stark County community for over six decades as a teacher, principal, district superintendent, county superintendent and county school board member. He started his career in a one-room school house, and during his career taught nearly every grade, kindergarten through college. Her mom, Marianna, taught music in Paris Township and North Canton City schools and actually met Dr. Drage while teaching. The two went on to celebrate 65 years of marriage in 2006.

Dr. Drage introduced the regional concept of vocational education to county school systems in Ohio, and in 1963, he co-authored a bill for the Ohio Legislature to make vocational education available to all Ohio students in grades 11-12.

“He believed that all children need opportunities to learn career skills,” said Darlene.

Due in large part to Dr. Drage’s persistence and passion, a two-year public vocational school in Massillon was created in 1977 to prepare Stark County students for challenging and meaningful careers. The school was named the R. G. Drage Career Technical Center by the Stark County Area Vocational School District Board in recognition of his more than 40 years of service and significant impact on vocational education in Ohio.

Dr. Drage and Marianna dedicated their lives to supporting the educational community, serving on many boards and attending too many school events to count throughout the years. They even established a scholarship fund in their name through the R. G. Drage Career Technical Center to help the countless students pursuing careers in auto services, construction, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, HVAC and landscape management, among other fields.

Even as their health started to decline, Darlene remembers reassuring her parents each year that their annual check to support their scholarship fund was sent. After they passed away, Darlene and her family established a designated fund through Stark Community Foundation to ensure her parents’ annual scholarship support to the R. G. Drage Career Technical Center would continue.

“I know how important that scholarship was to my parents,” said Darlene. “We wanted a way for their support to carry on into the future.”

Now, through the Dr. and Mrs. Raymond G. Drage Scholarship Fund, there will never be any doubt that their legacy and commitment to education will live on forever.

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