Community Foundation bolsters creativity in the classroom
The Merrill Area Community Foundation is proud to announce 14 grants totaling $10,027 have been approved for the Beyond Crayons and Computers grant program, to schools throughout the Merrill area’s public 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.
During a presentation last Wednesday afternoon, foundation president Mike Ravn greeted this year’s recipients with both excitement and optimism.
“We were very excited to see so many applications to bring creative and innovative learning projects to your classrooms!” Ravn stated. “This program is designed for that very purpose. The community foundation understands budgets and spending can get tight for our schools. That is where we come in.
“Our goal is to assist educators by funding supplies they need in creating these projects, which regular budgets may not allow for,” Ravn continued. “Every year we invest a minimum of $10,000 in the Beyond Crayons and Computers Program to bring these projects and ideas into our classrooms in all of our schools, private and parochial.”
Ravn further explained a total of 21 applications had been received and selection of recipients was quite a challenge.
He also detailed the successful lineage of the program.
“Since 2006 we have been funding projects which stimulate the mind and promotes creativity in the classroom,” he said. “That is something we are very proud of. Since it began, this program has been supported by individuals, corporations, and foundations, as a means of giving back to their community.
“The Merrill Community Foundation is happy to invest in the worthy, innovative educational projects being proposed by our Merrill-area teachers. Our Beyond Crayons and Computers monetary grants help in achieving those positive experiences for students.”
The foundation has donated over $97,000 since 2006 and donated $10,027 this year alone.
According to a statement from the foundation, the Merrill Area Community Foundation has been impressed with the variety of innovative and inspired projects that will enrich the educational experience, encourage students, educators and/or the community and fill specific needs in our schools. This year’s grants were awarded to both public and parochial schools at a variety of grade levels, from the Trinity Christian Day Care to Merrill High School.
The following is a list of grant recipients: Engaged Readers-Learning to Love Books, Washington Elementary School, $1,000; Telling Time with Clocks, Kate Goodrich and Maple Grove Charter schools, $750; Mad Scientists, Prairie River Middle School, $880; Building Merrill Strong-Construction at PRMS, $1,000; Tools for Success-Resources to Reference, Washington Elementary, $777; Becoming Heart Healthy with Technology, Merrill High School, $1,000; Lifetime Wellness for All Students, Prairie River Middle School, $200; Friends, Merrill High School, $750; Our Reading Garden, Jefferson Elementary, $850; Credit to Benefit Education, Prairie River Middle School, $300; SFX Theatre Project, St. Francis Xavier, $750; Dress Up Fun, Trinity Christian Day Care, $510; Drop Everything and Read, Washington Elementary, $660; Healthy Kids Healthy Merrill, Washington Elementary, $600.
Some highlights of the projects include:
•Accelerated Art students in grades 3 through 5 at Kate Goodrich and Maple Grove Charter School will be creating clocks. Students will combine beginning scientific engineering and functional art using basic clay techniques, and measuring clock movement pieces to fit the clock face and base.
•Students at Prairie River Middle School will design and build a Rain Garden. After school labs will allow students to participate in advanced engineering activities in dissections, local water quality issues and advanced rocket building activities. Students will use STEM (science, technology, engineering/English, and math) skills.
•The Technology and Engineering program at Prairie River Middle School will focus on the trade component of construction by building a tool caddy, designing and building a set of saw horses and make a 2×6-foot portable work bench. Students will learn about safety, hand tools, power tools, construction techniques, plumbing and wiring applications. Their goal is to gain interest and enthusiasm for the constructions industry in our community.
•The Adaptive Physical Education class at Merrill High School will use activity trackers to learn about target heart rate zones, and set activity goals for both inside class and out.
•Kindergarten students at Jefferson Elementary School will create “Our Reading Garden.” Students will read about planting flowers. They will learn about seeds, plants, and soil, and plant seeds and watch them sprout and grow. Students and families will take turns caring for the garden during the summer months.
•2nd and 3rd grade students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School will be getting involved in a theater and special effects project with Walt Disney’s Aristocrats Kids. As explained by teacher Michael Klapperich, the students will hold a public performance at Wausau’s Grand Theater in April.
The annual grants to the Beyond Crayons and Computers program are in addition to the grants the foundation has 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, the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the United Way for 211 development, Merrill Historical Society, River District Development Foundation, Three Rivers United Temporary Housing (TRUTH) Our Sister’s House, Merrill City Band, and the NTC Foundation.
Donations may be sent to the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin – Merrill Area Community Foundation Fund at 500 Third St., Suite 310, Wausau, WI 54403. Those wishing to be of assistance may contact Ravn at 715-536-5577 or Tom Cadwallader at 715-536-9784.