Updated: Aug 1
Let's Pay it Forward
by Jeremy Clarkson
Charles Criniere was a radical giver. We are just now learning how much he really gave of himself and his limited resources. Apparently, he gave $1000 away to various people many, many times over the years. Considering he was raising a family with 10 kids on a public teacher salary this was very radical!
I taught with Charles in the Grandview High School Math department and we learned of a particular time that Charles personally gave $1000 dollars to one of his students who was trying to go to back to school. Wow! Can you imagine receiving $1000 from your former teacher?!?!
To honor the memory and legacy of Charles Criniere, the Grandview High School Math Department has decided to establish a scholarship to honor Charlie's generocity by continuing to offer scholarships of $1000 to qualifying students who want to continue in higher education with plans on living a life of service.
Mr. Criniere always created a warm and welcoming environment that challenged all students to believe in themselves and aim high to achieve their dreams and goals. We want to be able to honor this legacy and pay Charlie's generocity forward to provide for students who aspire to serve others through their work.
It is our goal that we will be able to maintain this scholarship for the next few years, as our way to honor Charles and continue his legacy and build upon the impact he made on so many of his students.
While we all miss Charles greatly since his sudden passing, we are committed to finding ways to honor him and remember all of the ways he impacted our school and community.
As a means to help encourage fundraising, I have committed to shaving my head bald to look like my friend Charles if we are successful in raising $5000 towards this scholarship. Charles was a good friend of mine, whom I always liked to find ways to make laugh at random times. I figure this would be something Charles would be laughing at me for doing. Here is a picture to show you the amount of hair I'll be loosing .... haha.
Here are a few more testimonies from staff and students about Mr. Criniere.
My name is Josie Goeke. I am a teacher at Grandview High School, and although I didn't know Charles well, it only took a few encounters with him to understand just how special he was. I remember him as someone who was calm yet energetic, gentle and inspiring, realistic yet optimistic, and always genuine with both students and staff. When the world loses someone like Charles, I personally find myself reevaluating the way I live my life. I can't tell you how many times, since Charles's passing, that I have found myself thinking things like, "Am I being fully present with people the way Charles always was? How would Charles approach this challenging student? Am I avoiding judgment the way Charles did?" How wonderful is it that we could substitute Charles's name for Jesus's, and the answers to these questions would still be the same. How often on this Earth do we encounter people who truly, truly live as Jesus did? I believe the positive impact Charles had on the people he encountered is profound and will be long lasting. I certainly know that I am a better person for having known him, and for that, I am forever grateful.
My name is David Benjamin Chavous-Williams. For me, I have many wonderful memories of Mr. Criniere. My favorite one is most definitely how we met. This led to not just more amazing memories, but a deep bond between teacher and student.
It was my first day of high school and I was looking for his classroom. When I finally found his class there was a long line because he wanted to introduce himself to all of us one by one as we entered into the class for the first time. Everyone’s was about the same in the line ”Hey My name is Mr.Criniere it’s nice to meet you”. When he got to me it’s was different. He had this big smile on his face and said ”Hi son! I’m your dad Mr.Criniere!” I gave him this look and laughed stating “your not my dad.” He then laughed back and said” Sure I am ... your just as bald as me”. I didn’t know how to react so I just laughed and went into the class. As the days progressed and we saw each other in and out of class he would call me son instead of my name, and I would keep saying "your not my dad", but sure enough I gave in and called him dad.
From then we grew a bond that led me to go to him and talk to him about everything going on. Even in my darkest hour he was there and never saw me any different regardless of how I felt or how and what I said. We’d even pray together when we had the chance to before and even after class. Around our birthdays we’d give each other candy and one time he gave me his leather jacket! When he did that I told him ”I couldn’t take this from him” but he insisted and told me he wanted me to. I think back on those days with him, and all those memories just thankful that he was in my life and truly cared about me not just as a student but as a human being too. I’ll never forget him and everything he’s done for me. Love you always and forever Papa Criniere.
My name is Sabrina Neely. Mr. Criniere was my neighbor before he became my teacher. So some of my favorite memories from then up until now were when I was younger probably.. about 6 or 7 …me and my sisters and all the neighborhood kids use to go to his family’s house. We used to play with their kids all the time. We rode our bikes up and down our street, playing with chalk and barbies and baby dolls. The Criniere family would always make sure we were in good spirits and had us well protected. Fast forward to 8 years and I was a freshman in high school. I was transferred from one math class to be placed in Mr. C’s pre-algebra class. I didn’t notice that he was Mr. Criniere until I went home one day and talked to my older sister about my schedule and she was just like” Oh shoot you got Mr.Criniere” I was like yeah anndd…? Then she proceeded to enlighten me that he was our old neighbor then everything clicked. Since then until I graduated high school in 2020 I would always go to Mr. C’s class and just chill out. We would talk about the Bible and just have a good time crackin' jokes. Me and a few friends would call him “Mr.Worldwide”aka pitbull (the singer) just for the fun of it and he would laugh along. He ended up being my teacher again summer of 19’ which was the most fun I ever had being in summer school. He was such a great person.
Anyone interested in donating towards the scholarship you can click the button below to send a donation to the Grandview Educational Foundation