As part of their annual presentation Wednesday afternoon, the Merrill Area Community Foundation announced 12 grants totaling $10,286 have been approved for the ‘Beyond Crayons and Computers’ grant program to schools throughout MAPS and parochial schools. Funded through the Foundation, the Beyond Crayons and Computers program invites teams of teachers from 3-year-old programs through the High School to submit grant applications that are not only innovative and creative but also involve parents, teachers and other members of the community.
According to a press release from the foundation, “We have been impressed with the variety of innovative and inspired projects that will not only enrich the educational experience, but also involves community members or groups. This year’s grants were awarded to both public and parochial schools, from Elementary Schools to Merrill High School. The following is a listing of the 2017 grant recipients:
|Cool Coding Cats||Jefferson Elementary School||$1,000.00|
|Explorations Expo||Washington Elementary School||$970.00|
|4th and 5th Grade Serve||Kate Goodrich Elementary School||$750.00|
|Spread Kindness Like Confetti||Washington Elementary School||$1,000.00|
|Three Phases of Team and Trust Building||Northern Achievement Center||$216.00|
|PRMS Never Forgotten Honor Flight Pen Project||Prairie River Middle School||$1,000.00|
|Chalk the Walk, Year 2, Bigger and Better!||Prairie River Middle School||$600.00|
|Testing the Waters||Prairie River Middle School||$1,000.00|
|Stay the Course||Prairie River Middle School||$1,000.00|
|SFX Theatre Project||St. Francis Xavier||$1,000.00|
|Outdoor Education Retreat 2017||St. Francis Xavier||$750.00|
|Friends||Merrill High School||$1000.00|
Key highlights of this year’s recipients include the PRMS Technology Education and Engineering students being awarded a $1,000 grant for the second consecutive year, to continue to make handmade wooden pens for the Never Forgotten Honor Flight Program in our area. According to Tech Ed instructor Pete McConnell, who spearheaded the program; the program began last January with just a single lathe (machined used to manufacture the pens) and has now grown into 8 total.
“I want you to know something,” McConnell said, in addressing foundation members in attendance on Wednesday.
“Last year, your grant of $1,000 allowed me to start something the kids really got excited about. Since then 7 more lathes have been donated and we have now produced over 350 pens. My goal was to have this program not cost the district a single penny and because of you, we have met that goal. Being able to do something for our veterans is pretty special to the kids and myself and I want to thank you for awarding us another $1,000 this year to continue the program.”
The SFX program at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School was also approved as a repeat grant recipient for the fourth consecutive year.
Other highlights include: Students at Jefferson Elementary School will learn coding, using problem solving, collaboration, creativity and communication to complete tasks and challenges. Students will work with community members who have coding/programming experience to assist in reviewing and scoring challenges and contest submissions.
*PRMS 7th and 8th grade students will learn proper water sampling techniques and how to identify the factors that could possible lead to the contamination of public and private water supplies.
*PRMS is partnering with the TB Scott Library and the Merrill Parks and Recreation Department to expand the sport of disc golf at Stange’s Park and Stange’s Kitchenette Park. Students can play disc golf on Monday “Team Building Day” and community members can play by checking out materials at the TB Scott Library.
*The River Bend Trail will be decorated with Chalk Art created by the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade Accelerated Art students.
*4th and 5th Grade Team Serve is a series of projects at Kate Goodrich within our community (Humane Society, Food Pantry, Valentines for Veterans and May Baskets) and outside our community (Hurricane Harvey). Washington 3rd grade students will “Spread Kindness Like Confetti” with care packages to the Military, Police and Firefighters, appreciation bags to school families, and Bags of Sunshine items to Merrill citizens.
The Merrill Area Community Foundation is supported by individuals, corporations, and foundations as a means of giving back to their community. The Beyond Crayons and Computers program began in 2006 and is designed to enhance and reward innovative teaching, learning, and special motivational activities in our schools. Over $119,000, including $10,286 this year has been awarded to our schools since 2006. Renea Frederick, Board President of the Merrill Area Community Foundation, notes the importance of innovation in our children’s learning. The children also learn they can contribute to our community at any age. She stated, “The Merrill Community Foundation is happy to invest in the worthy, innovative educational projects being proposed by our Merrill-area teachers.
Our “Beyond Crayon and Computer” monetary grants help in achieving those positive experiences for students.”The annual grants to the Beyond Crayons and Computers program are in addition to the grants we have provided to local organizations including Haven, Inc., Merrill Soccer Association, Girl Scouts, St. Vincent DePaul, Disaster Preparedness for Senior Citizens, Merrill Youth Softball, Athletic Park Improvement Project, Merrill Free Clinic, Bell Tower Residence, EMT Paramedic Upgrade, Merrill Rotary Club, Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, United Way for 211 development, Merrill Historical Society, River District Development Foundation, Three Rivers United Temporary Housing (TRUTH) Our Sister’s House, City of Merrill Parks Development Fund, Normal Park Gazebo Fund, Merrill City Band, River Bend Trail, NTC Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters New Website Development, and Merrill Enrichment Center.
Donations may be sent to the Merrill Area Community Foundation Fund at P.O. Box 36, Merrill, WI 54452.