Great Lakes Cheese donates $2 million to local school district

BURTON, Ohio — A local cheese company delivered a whole lot of “cheddar” to the Berkshire School District in Geauga County.

Great Lakes Cheese has always been a big supporter of the school district and donated thousands of dollars over the years.

Members of the Epprecht family, who own and operate the company in Northeast Ohio, graduated from Berkshire High School.

Friday afternoon, they returned to their alma mater and presented the Badgers with a $2-million check.

The money will be used to build a “state of the art” athletics facility at the nearby Kent State University Geauga Campus, and to help implement the district’s Prime Initiative plan which will create a unique partnership between local businesses, and the schools.

School Board President James Boyd said everyone from administrators to students were overwhelmed with gratitude upon learning about the donation.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Boyd. “It’s absolutely huge to see an outpouring from the business industry to schools, to support our efforts in this manner it’s breathtaking.”

According to Boyd, the company, which employs 3,000 people at nine plants in five states, recently received a 15-year tax abatement on an extensive expansion project in Ohio that will include hiring 200 additional workers.

John Epprecht said his family is committed to Geauga County and everyone who calls it home.

The donation and Prime Initiative are seen as a way to not only better educate and prepare students for the workforce, but to expand the local job market as well.

“We do a great job of educating our kids in this county, but they always think they have to leave Geauga County to get a better job,” said Epprecht. “I don’t want that to happen; I want to make sure they’ve got great jobs here.”

More information on the Prime Initiative, here.