Education Foundation of Sarasota County Awards Innovative Teachers
More than 375 teachers, donors and volunteers celebrated the 26th annual Classroom Grant Awards Dec. 2 at Michael’s On East. Jennifer Vigne, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, announced grant awards totaling $243,459 for 256 projects developed by teachers from 38 public schools in the district. Each grant will provide high quality enrichment and experiential learning opportunities for students during the 2015-2016 school year.
“We are proud to serve as a strong philanthropic partner for our teachers. Their creativity, innovativeness and ingenuity to design experiential projects as a means to unlock our students’ full potential is an effort we fully support. Through the generosity of our donors and volunteers, many students will be impacted because of these grants,”said Vigne in a release.
This year’s program demonstrated the impact the foundation’s Classroom Grants Program has on student learning, teachers, grant sponsors, and the community as a whole.
In his remarks, Edward Hashey, Sarasota County Teacher of the Year, referenced a popular song to describe the support he has received from the Education Foundation’s signature program, “I think most of us have heard and sung the Beatles lyrics ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’,” Hashey said in a release. ”He went on to say “I want to sing some praises about how I got by with a lot of help from my friends from the Education Foundation of Sarasota.”
Mark and Alix Morin shared with the audience why they choose to support the Classroom Grants Program.
“I don’t consider myself a donor, I consider myself an investor. Investing in the students, teachers, and schools in our community,” said Mark Morin.
Argosy University sponsored the evening’s reception and presented the Argosy Principal’s Award for the eighth year. The award honors the principal whose school submitted the most grant proposals. Argosy University’s Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton presented a check for $500 to Booker Middle School’s LaShawn Houston Frost who was represented that evening by Assistant Principal, Mr. Derek Jenkins.
Rotary Club of Sarasota president Vicente Medina closed the ceremonies with a final drawing. Heron Creek Middle School’s Christine Schebilski received the Rotary Club of Sarasota's Jim & Jean Henry Teacher's Award, an unrestricted cash gift of $500.
In 1990, the foundation awarded $6,000 in mini-grants to thirteen teachers. Since then, the Education Foundation has awarded over $3 million for more than 5000 projects designed by teachers.
All Sarasota County K-12 public school teachers are eligible to apply for awards of up to $1000 through the Classroom Grants Program. These funds give teachers the resources they need to develop innovative enrichment projects and try new teaching techniques. The Education Foundation raises the money, sponsors workshops for teachers, and organizes community grant-reading sessions where over 200 volunteers score the teachers’ requests each fall. Grant readings give citizens a connection to area classrooms and a chance to learn more about trends and challenges in teaching.
Dick Vitale awards Boys & Girls Club Scholarships
From member to a leader, Maribel Cedillo has grown up at the Lee Wetherington Boys and Girls Club.
Friday afternoon in front of the hundreds of Boys & Girls Club members, Cedillo received a scholarship to put toward her new goal of attending the State College of Florida to plans. The funds that will help Cedillo in her liberal arts studies come from the Dick Vitale and the Vitale family.
The ESPN analyst and author has been helping Boys & Girls Club members in Sarasota County make college a reality through a total of $85,000 in the past 17 years.
Each year $1,000 scholarships are given to five outstanding college-bound club members to support their academic goals. Cedilla was among this year’s recipients that also include Carlos Areval, Erik Bouck, Amber Headley and Mario Portillo.
Vitale took the gathering as an opportunity to teach. He told students his personal story including times in his life when he didn't think he would succeed. Vitale explained the four D's that led to his personal success: Discipline; determination; desire; dedication.
To dream is something positive," Vitale said. "Whatever you want to do make it happen."
GFA students help Mote through lettuce donation
Goldie Feldman Academy students recently handed over heads of Romaine lettuce to Brad Tanner, senior school programs coordinator at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. GFA is part of a Mote pilot program called “From Farm to Feed,” through which after school and/or agriculture programs at three Sarasota schools to grow organic food for various aquarium animals.
On November 24, Tanner picked up 10-12 heads of Romaine lettuce grown in GFA's Papa Ed and Mimi Rosenthal Organic Kibbutz Sustainability Garden and Outdoor Classroom from students and horticulture instructor Andrew Noune. That same day, some of the lettuce was provided to the turtle hospital to be fed to sick or injured sea turtles, and some to the aquarium, where it was fed to fish and invertebrates.
“Our students are fortunate to have the opportunities afforded us through the organic garden – they help to grow food from seeds to table for their own lunches, for those in need, and now for animals at Mote,” GFA head of school Dan Ceaser said in a release. “Tikkun olam – repairing the world – is part of GFA’s mission; in addition to being provided with a strong academic setting, our students are taught to value and protect the environment."
Through the agriculture curriculum at GFA, students learn, explore and contribute to a cleaner, greener Sarasota. Food grown in the garden is used in school meals and has also fed clients of organizations including EveryDay Blessings and All Faiths Food Bank.
Temple Sinai makes friends with Autumn of Sarasota
Temple Sinai Religious School made thanksgiving cards and past them out while visiting the residence of Autumn. The students walked over to Autumn of Sarasota which is located next door to the school. The Autumn residence were so touched.