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Foundation boosts ideas and scholars
Foundation boosts ideas and scholars
By SUE HOFFMAN
While people are beginning to think of their holiday wish lists, many teachers in the Kenston School District are hoping for some gifts for their classes in the form of new equipment and supplies.
Last month, teachers submitted applications to the Kenston Foundation for $28,000 in funding, said Stacy Frank, foundation president. "They have some phenomenal ideas, and you want to grant everyone's wishes."
The foundation has funded $40,000 in projects over the last four years. Mrs. Frank, a Kenston alumna with two children in the district, said grants have ranged from interactive computer boards and science equipment to tents for the high school field experience.
For those who don't receive the funds they need, "we try to do a good job behind the scenes," Mrs. Frank said. In the past, PTO has been able to help fund some projects, and there are some community resources as well, she said.
In addition to teacher grants, the foundation awards annual scholarships to graduating seniors.
Last year, the foundation granted 19 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500. "These scholarships are awarded to candidates with a variety of expertise and interests, including math and science, humanities, education and community service," Mrs. Frank said.
The nonprofit Kenston Foundation was founded in 1983 to provide an avenue for individual and corporate donors to promote academic excellence with tax-deductible gifts. While most scholarships are funded through donations, funds for all of the professional grants are raised through a variety of events and sales throughout the year, including a summer golf outing, springtime art auction and last week's swing concert at the high school.
Many of the scholarships were created as memorials to loved ones or in honor of people who have contributed to the district.
"Every instance touches my heart," Mrs. Frank said. "Their common strand is making a difference in a student's life."
Scholarship opportunities will be posted at the end of January, and applications will be due prior to spring break, she said.
Examples of scholarships include the Richard B. Kay Memorial Horticultural Scholarship, which provides $1,000 the first year of college, $1,500 the second year and an eight-week internship at Breezewood Gardens in Bainbridge.
Another memorial scholarship is a $1,000 annual award in memory of Edward L. Randall, of Bainbridge, to a student interested in the arts. He was the husband of Kenston School Board member and retired teacher Anne Randall.
Classmates of the late Arnie Kruza, who graduated from Kenston during the 1970s, created a scholarship in his name. Their stipulation was that the student "must have a playful enjoyment of life," Mrs. Frank said.
The Kenston Education Association, which represents teachers, provides a scholarship for a person interested in an education career. Athletic Boosters and Tom E. Goodman Memorial awards are given to scholar-athletes.
Kenston High School teacher Brian Turk was a scholarship recipient and has had first-hand experience with the benefits of a teacher grant.
"I was happy to receive a scholarship as a senior," Mr. Turk said last week. "There were so many qualified students they could have picked, so I was very honored they chose me as one of the recipients. College is so expensive, any amount helps."
Mr. Turk, a 2003 alumnus, was inspired to study geology and education as a result of Kenston's "Out West" trip and helped lead the 24-day journey through national parks last summer.
He appreciated the grants the foundation gave teacher Donald Torma to purchase tents and other equipment for the trip, Mr. Turk said. "We really needed new tents, and the Kenston Foundation definitely made it possible to purchase the tents with ease. Also, the tents held up rather nicely in two of the worst thunderstorms I have ever camped in."
Another Kenston alumnus, science teacher Lynn Fagerholm said several grants were given to the elementary science lab. "When the lab was initiated, a foundation grant in 2003 helped me purchase appropriate science equipment and computer technology. Approximately 750 students benefitted from these purchases," she said.
The phonic ear, purchased in 2007, "allows students to hear adequately, given the busy nature of a room designed for hands-on activity and collaborative interaction among learners," Mrs. Fagerholm said.
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