Former Bogalusa teacher gets Rotary award

Published 8:20 am Friday, June 10, 2016

Special to the Daily News

Danny R. Von Kanel, a former Bogalusa music teacher and Franklinton resident and Natchitoches choral music teacher was awarded the Natchitoches Rotary’s “Service Above Self” award at their monthly meeting on May 3.

With a packed house, local leaders of Natchitoches businesses and Northwestern State University spoke in Von Kanel’s behalf. Von Kanel then spoke for twenty minutes on his life story. An unusual standing ovation followed the presentation.

Von Kanel was recognized for raising $28,000.00 over a five year period with three fundraisers and for directing a successful “L.P. Vaughn School of Fine Arts” for the past two years.

Last year, the Natchitoches Parish School Board recognized Von Kanel at the regular June 4th, 2015 board meeting with a plaque for excellence in setting up the first School of Fine Arts.

The money raised this year was used to give a $192.00 scholarship to students who took one of 12 fine classes offered after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 P.M.

This year, Von Kanel led his school to raise $15,582.00 through sponsorships and a brick memorial fundraiser. On April 19th, 2016, a dedication was held for the brick memorial. Corporate sponsors of the School of Fine Arts included Alliance Compressors, Weyerhauser, and Demery Resources.

Numerous articles have appeared in the Natchitoches Times about the fundraisers and schools of fine arts. A half page article appeared about Von Kanel and the “Service Above Self” award in the May 12th edition of the Natchitoches Times.

Cynthia Cole, Von Kanel’s principal, Ken Gardner, manager of Alliance Compressors, and Dr. Greg Handel, director of the  at Northwestern State University School of Performing Arts, each spoke in Von Kanel’s behalf. Dr. Sue Weaver, a retired dean of Northwestern, a Rotarian, and a member of the team that chose Von Kanel introduced him to the audience.

Von Kanel, visibly emotional, said, “I was totally overwhelmed. What a wonderful way to be honored.” Von Kanel received a “Service Above Self” trophy and principal, Cynthia Cole was presented a “Service Above Self” plaque for the school.

VonKanel said that plans are in the making for next year‘s School of Fine Arts. Von Kanel has lived in Franklinton since 2002 and served First Baptist Church, Franklinton from 2002-2005 as Minister of Music and Memorial Baptist Church in Bogalusa from 2005-2008. He taught music one year at Northside Tech Middle School. in Bogalusa from 2008-2009. From 2011 to present he has been a choral music teacher at the L.P.Vaughn Elementary School in Natchitoches. Von Kanel’s wife, Beverly Von Kanel, works at Dr. Butch and Dr. Chip McVea’s dental office in Franklinton. The Von Kanel’s have two grown sons and six grandchildren. They are members of Trinity Baptist Church in Franklinton.