South Whidbey fundraiser to encourage strong schools

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The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is hosting its annual fundraising gala May 21 at the Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. This year’s theme is “Strong schools = Strong Communities.”

A 5 p.m. social hour will include live music by members of the Langley Middle School Jazz Band, poolside demonstrations by the Underwater Robotics Club, a silent auction, and displays depicting some of the 30 funded projects this school year.

This year’s speakers include South Whidbey High School science teacher Greg Ballog, whose students received a Foundation grant for atomic modeling supplies, plus equipment for a collaborative project, “Understanding Carbon,” involving Ballog’s students and 8th grade students from LMS science teacher Susan Milan’s class for measuring and monitoring carbon in the environment. The other speaker is South Whidbey Elementary School teacher Bruce Callahan, who will present information about Foundation grants for the 5th grade Whale Watching Adventure, plus John LaVassar’s “Salmon in the Classroom” project, and Pam Muncey’s field trip, “Bringing Learning to Life at South Whidbey State Park.”

“We’re also excited to share information about recent teacher requests through our new Adopt-A-Grant program,” said SWSF Board President Chris Gibson. “We currently have eight requests for next school year for such equipment and projects as a water sensory table and a lightbox table to be used by autistic and multi-challenged students in the Life Skills class, Global Cultures Enrichment, first-grade science kits, fifth grade hands-on science experiments led by Leonard Good, funding for Salmon in the Classroom supplies and a hatchery field trip, the Whale Watching Adventure field trips, and band clinician tutorials for Langley Middle School students,” he added.

After dinner, South Whidbey’s “Conductor of Fun” Jim Freeman, will serve as auctioneer for the live auction, which includes a beautiful Georgia Gerber sculpture of a sea otter, luxury accommodation packages on and off the Island, the ever-popular Italian Dinner hosted by School Board member Rocco Gianni, plus several more items and experiential packages. Direct donations to specific academic areas will also be made.

A growing list of auction items, and a link to purchase online tickets can be found at www.SWSFoundation.org.

Last year nearly $14,000 in net income was raised at the Gala, with proceeds used to fund teacher-requested educational projects. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $225,000 to local classroom projects. So far this year they have funded more than $30,000 in classroom grants.

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey schools.

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