Kent Community Turns Out for Robin McManus Benefit

Nearly 100 people from the local community, including parents, families and friends, gathered recently at Hobbs Hall in Kent to celebrate the Child Development Center (CDC) – one of Kent State University’s most coveted educational resources – during the annual Robin McManus Scholarship Benefit.

The affair raised more than $12,000 for the Robin McManus Scholarship, which provides need-based student scholarships and allows more children in the Kent community to access the enriching experience of a CDC education.

Nearly 100 people attending the McManus Scholarship Benefit in Hobbs Hall.

“As a father of three, I know the importance of early education opportunities,” said Ryan McManus, who attended with his father Jeff and sisters Kelly and Katie. “The fact that over 40 children have been able to experience an awesome early education opportunity through this scholarship just means the world to our family. This is something our mom would be extremely proud of. Her legacy lives on through these kids.”

Robin McManus was a compassionate and skilled teacher and supervisor who cared deeply about young children, their families, and pre-service teachers. Since the McManus fund's founding 11 years ago, 45 children have attended the CDC with support from the McManus Scholarship.

For more than 50 years, the CDC has played a central role in the education of young children, preparing future teachers and furthering research in education.

As an early childhood education research site, the CDC hosts graduate students, visiting scholars, and Kent State faculty. The CDC continues to serve children and families by providing exemplary care, preparing pre-service and in-service teachers.

Monica Miller Marsh, CDC Executive Director and associate professor in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies, said several cutting-edge research projects have been conducted at the CDC this year, ranging from an investigation of how various settings affect children’s problem-solving while playing games; the effects of using different scaffolding techniques on children’s mathematical development in partitioning circles into equal parts, and a nature-based approach to addressing climate change with young children.

“The research is something that is really innovative about our CDC that’s very different from a lot of other childcare centers, is that they don’t focus on the research aspect of child development,” said James Hannon, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services. “It’s really a standout piece of our child development center at Kent State.”

Marilyn Sessions receives 2024 CDC Humanitarian Award

Marilyn Sessions holds the Robin McManus humanitarian award

Born with a passion for serving others, Marilyn Sessions has been an ambassador for the CDC since 2018, generously offering her time and talents to the children and staff. When teachers expressed the need for a shade tree in the outdoor learning laboratory, it took only a week for Marilyn to work with the Davey Tree Co. to get a tree donated and planted.

During the early stages of COVID-19 pandemic, Marilyn served on the re-opening task force and provided consistent guidance and support. Within a day, she secured a $5,000 grant to provide air purifiers for classrooms and common areas. Marilyn currently serves on 10 community boards, including Kent Social Services, the Akron Canton Food Bank, and the Portage Learning Center.

The Portage County Sheriff's Department named her Citizen of the Year in December 2021, and the Kent Police Department bestowed her with its Civilian Leadership Award in May 2019.

An Ohio native, Marilyn was born in Alliance and grew up in Shalersville. She attended Kent State University in the late 70’s and again in the early 90’s. She has worked at Hometown Bank in Kent for 22 years, serving as the bank’s public relations and marketing officer for the last five years.

She currently lives in Twin Lakes with her husband Brian, and two golden retrievers, Clyde and Tullamore.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 11:15 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 02:30 PM