Mountain Area school programs recently received a nice little financial boost, thanks to the Sierra-Oakhurst Kiwanis Club once again donating proceeds from the club’s Annual Run for the Gold Car Show, held each September. This boost came in the form of educational mini-grants.
Checks nearing $10,000 were presented Jan. 26 to teachers from eight area schools for 15 projects. In order to qualify, each teacher submitted a letter of intent, as well as reasons why the funding was needed. After reviewing the applications, the club divided the money amongst the groups based on what was needed, and how much was necessary to accomplish specified goals.
Over the past five years, Kiwanis has donated approximately $50,000 in mini-grants to Mountain Area elementary and middle schools, with this marking the 14th consecutive year the club has helped supplement school programs with car show proceeds.
One repeat recipient was Oakhurst Elementary School.
“We were graciously awarded a grant this year to purchase art materials and supplies to support our grades 3-5 Art in the Classroom program,” OES Principal Kathleen Murphy said. “The art produced by these students is astounding. They are learning about various artists, terminology, and the art of observation, along with replicating a production from the artist’s repertoire.”
An OES educational coach, Robin Ward, was awarded a grant for mosaic materials.
“The mosaic project begins in March as the students learn to work with mosaics to create an awesome Father’s Day project. They use these materials and their Geometry skills to fill the entire space with only 1/8th of an inch between tiles,” Ward explained. “I am so excited to be awarded this grant because I would not be able to afford the materials on my own.”
Becky Cairns, drama instructor at Chawanakee Academy, was also thrilled with the news.
“Wow ... what a wonderful surprise to receive a Kiwanis mini-grant for the school’s drama program,” Cairns said. “The Kiwanis really care about the children in the mountain communities ... they show it through their grants to help keep drama and the arts alive.”
“To be honest with you, it’s incredible to receive this mini-grant,” Francisco Marquez, Yosemite High music director, explained. “Last year, we were able to purchase three beginning percussion kits with the grant money we received from the Kiwanis, which meant we were able to offer percussion to more students this year.”
Four mornings a week, Marquez teaches band to 75 middle-grade students from Oak Creek Intermediate and Wasuma Elementary School. He plans on using this year’s mini-grant to purchase one or two additional percussion kits, as well as repair older brass and woodwind instruments.
“A huge thank you goes out to all the sponsors and participants of our Kiwanis Run for the Gold Car Show, which makes all these mini-grants possible,” Kiwanis President Bob Spinelli said. “They are intended to support our elementary and intermediate school teachers in providing programs that focus on music, arts, math, and science. The quality of the mini-grant requests are improving each year, and the Kiwanis are very proud to grant these requests.”
This year’s mini-grant recipients include:
* Supplies for backdrops, costumes, props, scripts, programs, and pay loyalty fees, as well as purchase wireless microphones; benefits drama program; teacher Becky Cairns.
* A base kit with eight pack/special activities to facilitate participating in First Lego League Waste Wise Program, in which kindergarten - eighth grade students look at trash in a new way through research and building their findings/solutions from Legos; teacher Lana Jackson.
Coarsegold and Rivergold
* Annual maintenance and repairs of both schools band instruments; benefits all music students; instructor Cristel Biasell.
* A Promethean interactive whiteboard to be used with existing flipcharts to teach concepts of alphabets, number and sight words, holidays and social skills; benefits 25 kindergartners per year times 10 years; teacher Hilary Campbell.
* Supplies to allow fifth-graders to complete a minimum of five art projects; teacher Tracey Duncan.
* Jump ropes for entire student body to promote healthier lifestyles through exercise; teacher Mindy Gresham.
* HP LaserJet Pro 400 color printer and ink cartridges, art supplies to create a Memory Book for each kindergarten student; teacher Kimberly Lawhon.
North Fork Elementary
* Four periodic tile sets and three Atom Building games to be used in the atomic structure and chemical reactions unit; benefits all seventh-eighth graders for many years; teacher Katie Kelly.
* Maintain the Fine Arts program and continue the three plays that are produced throughout the school year; benefits entire student body; specialist Robyn Flory.
* Specific art materials, such as watercolor paper, paints, oil pastels for the Art Program; benefits third-fifth graders; principal Kathleen Murphy.
* Mosaic kits to help students understand and apply skills through hands-on discovery in Geometry; benefits fifth-graders; educational coach Robin Ward.
Oak Creek Intermediate and Wasuma Elementary
* New beginning instruments, new music, and annual maintenance and repairs of school band instruments at both schools; benefits all music students; music director Francisco Marquez.
Spring Valley Elementary
* Additional art supplies for a newly created after school art program; benefits sixth-eighth graders; teacher Kim Boatman.
* A Fine Arts Program, previously funded the PTC; program consists of drawing lessons, perspective, and composition, as well as art history; benefits fourth-fifth graders; teachers Nicole Star and Elaine Alger.
* Replenish some general lab equipment and add supplies that relate to the new NEXTGEN Science Standards; benefits sixth-eighth grades; teacher Heather Archer.