Kathy Perron (1990)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives published by the Topeka Capital-Journal. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Kathy Perron (1990)

People who know Kathy Perron don’t need proof she is a caring person.

But Perron, a 1990 Hayden High School graduate, will get that proof Thursday in Washington, D.C. She will be one of  20 Americans honored by the Caring Institute as being among the most caring people in the country. It is a select group.

Other honorees this year include:

  • Ewing Kauffman, Kansas City Royals owner and philanthropist.
  • Norman Vincent Peale, minister, author and advocate of positive thinking.
  • Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos Cookies and champion for national literacy.

Perron, now a freshman at Emporia State University, admitted she is a bit embarrassed by the award. She was nominated for it by Jerry Simecka, the principal at Hayden.

Perron, the daughter of Robert and Roberta Perron, didn’t get involved in the community to receive recognition. She said she did it because it was enjoyable.

Perron started her volunteer work the summer before her freshman year at Hayden. She worked full time at Capper Foundation.

That summer changed her life. She now is a special education major. Her career goal is to teach at the foundation or a place like it.

“When I walk into Capper, I feel like I’m at home. Handicapped people really aren’t that different.”

Her volunteer work grew during her high school years. She worked with a program at the Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church parish titled REACH – Religious Education Activities for the Community Handicapped. That took two to six hours of her time each week.

She also started a Camp Fire troop for children at Lafeyette Elementary School in East Topeka.

At Hayden High, she was an officer of Students Against Driving Drunk.

Perron said she first became interested in working with children with disabilities in the fifth grade, while a student at Linn Elementary. She sometimes visited a class in her school that included disabled students and attended a circus with them.

Frank E. Moss, chairman of the Caring Institute’s board of trustees, called Perron and the others “the best of the best. They demonstrate the fact that the solution to most of our problems lies in the extension of the care and concern of one human being for another.”