At a ceremony held Friday to honor the late Dixie Overstake, a teacher at Rainsboro Elementary, friends, family, former students and staff gathered to remember a much-loved individual who was much more than just an educator.
In the holiday favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life,” what Clarence the angel wrote to George Baily could be paraphrased for Dixie Overstake, school officials said, as well: “No person is a failure who has friends.”
Rainsboro Elementary Principal Maggie Lyons, along with Greenfield Superintendent Quincey Gray, spoke during a dedication ceremony of a picnic table and playground bench in memory of Overstake, who passed away on July 20, 2019 at the age of 62.
“This small lid really made a difference,” Lyons said during the ceremony, holding up a small plastic lid from a water bottle. “Because this small lid represents us, and allows us to turn it into something grand.”
With the help, encouragement and selfless labor of fellow educator Heidi Tite, a districtwide campaign began last summer to collect four tons of plastic lids to be recycled into a playground bench manufactured by Green Tree Plastics of Evansville, Indiana.
“Within a matter of months, we had surpassed our goal of a bench and collected eight tons of lids, and that turned into a picnic table,” Tite said. “And with that came an opportunity to pick the colors to match your school and to dedicate it to someone who means a lot to you, so we decided to use this to honor the memory of Mrs. Dixie Overstake.”
Collecting enough lids for the recycling effort was only half the battle, she said, since it cost an additional $600 after the plastic lids were transported to the Evansville recycling facility.
Tite thanked Steven and Patty Karnes, the Mowrystown Presbyterian Church, Linda Emery, Dennis Overstake and family, Rainsboro Elementary staff and the PTO, and Greenfield school students and employees for their monetary donations for the project.
Gray spoke of the kindness and compassion that Overstake brought to the classroom.
“There are many teary-eyed conversations that I had with her in the doorway while we talked about kids,” she said. “The one thing that really comes to mind when I think about Dixie is that she only had two years left before she could retire when I came here, and she could’ve looked at me and said ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’ve been doing this forever,’ but she never thought or spoke that way.”
Gray also confessed to not being a fan of apple pies, but said that Overstake was well-known for making her own homemade apple pies.
“I always tell people I don’t like apple pie except for Dixie Overstake’s,” she said. “I would never eat one anywhere else, from anybody else, but I did enjoy her’s.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.