LIMA — Perry High School alumni Larry Spees will always remember the education and support he received in a small school setting.
On Wednesday, Larry and his wife, Beverly, made a donation to the school to reflect that appreciation.
The couple donated a reprint of the painting Perry’s Victory to display at the school. Painted by William Powell of Cincinnati, the original painting is in the rotunda of the Ohio State Capitol Building in Columbus. The painting depicts America’s effort commanded by Commodore Oliver Perry to reclaim control of Lake Erie from the British during the War of 1812. Commodore Perry is the school’s namesake.
“I was so impressed with the new school building that was just completed,” Spees said of the new elementary school that was just built. “I thought that Perry should have a real picture of Perry.
Then a nine-year school, Spees attended Perry from 1943 to 1952. His mother, Christine, was a first- and second-grade teacher at Perry and his father was a longtime member of the school board. Spees’ wife also had relatives formerly on the school board and still has family members living in Perry Township.
“We wanted to do something for the students and the community,” Spees said.
Spees’ family tree also traces back to the same war featured in the painting. His great-great-grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812. Spees and his wife now live in Westerville, but they frequently return to visit his wife’s relatives in the area.
“I hope the picture will encourage students to find out about Perry and all of the brave things he done,” Spees said. “I hope he can serve as an inspiration to them.”
Perry High School Principal Nick Weingart said the picture will be placed in the West Wing Commons of the school.
“Perry overcame a lot in the War of 1812,” Weingart said. “Eighty percent of his men were wounded or dead, and he sailed back into the battle and won. We will all face diversity. You are measured by how you handle it. That is what we are about at Perry.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter @LanceMihm.