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Hudson Community Foundation SPARK grant recipient named

Christopher Mick, founder of Space St. Croix, was chosen as this year’s Hudson Community Foundation’s SPARK grant winner Oct. 23. Submitted photo

The winner of the Hudson Community Foundation's 2018 $10,000 SPARK grant has been chosen. Christopher Mick, founder of Space St. Croix, will use the grant to fund a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program for area students.

About 160 Hudson residents attended an Oct. 23 meeting at Camp St. Croix to hear the finalists

present their projects for consideration and vote.

The goal of the new STEM program, according to Mick, is to provide educational opportunities at all age levels and for all economic backgrounds to ensure Hudson students will have the skills and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly technology-driven society. Classes will be taught to all children in the district from pre-kindergarten to second grade.

There will also be programs and other offerings available for middle schoolers and high schoolers. A group of students will be selected for U.S. Space Camp, Madison career experience scholarships and an aviation program. Other components of Mick's proposal, such

as the middle school Rocketry Club and high school Space Club, will be open to any student

who has an interest.

"STEM helps you even if you choose a career that is not in the STEM field," said Mick. "It helps you think better, it helps your brain function. It teaches you scientific inquiry, the scientific

Method — it could apply to anything students go after. It also raises the bar for the community.

Other districts have aviation and other STEM programs at their high schools, so it's almost like a

library, civic center or The Phipps...a real asset."

It was Mick's third time applying for the grant. He says this year's contenders — the Hudson

Boosters' T-ball request to create a new field and the Hudson Community Pickleball

Association's request for courts — are worthy causes he hopes will continue to move forward.

"All of the projects have merit. I am the case study for keeping going with the good work you do.

People reached out even during the years I didn't win after hearing about this, wanting to donate, volunteer and help out, so there's no downside for applying for the grant."

Hudson Community Foundation President Amy Schneider, too, was impressed by the applicants and their presentations.

"To see the high level of care and dedication our community members and groups put into their projects shows how amazing our city is," Schneider said. "This year's applicants are especially deserving of recognition. I sincerely hope both existing and new applicants will throw their hat in the ring next year with creative, inspiring ideas for propelling Hudson to new heights."

For more information about the Hudson Community Foundation, visit https://hcfwi.org.

About Hudson Community Foundation

Founded in 1999, The Hudson Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides funding in education, human services, civic projects and the environment directly to the Hudson area. The Foundation works with a 100 percent volunteer board to advance the quality of life in Hudson.