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Star Grants awarded; total more than $14,000

Among those attending the ceremony at Houlton Elementary School, or earning grants from the Education Foundation of Hudson were, front from left, foundation board member Joan Thompson, foundation President Marian Schultz and Houlton Elementary Principal Sue Hellmers; back, Brittany Lemaniak, Holly Quinn-Marrs, Rock Elementary Principal Amy Hamborg and Meg Gornick. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Among those attending the ceremony at Houlton Elementary School, or earning grants from the Education Foundation of Hudson were, front from left, Emilee Wagner, foundation board member John Kromer and Nichole Hagen; back, Laura Kiesler, Nicole Lagerstrom, Julie Mattimiro and St. Patrick School Principal Dan Bell. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

By Doug Stohlberg, Star-Observer contributor

The Education Foundation of Hudson last week awarded Star Grants for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The foundation awarded grants totaling just over $14,000 for six projects involving several educators touching many schools in Hudson.

Foundation Board President Marian Schultz presented the awards during ceremonies at Houlton Elementary School. She told recipients that the foundation and community are proud of the educators' efforts to bring innovative ideas to the classrooms of local schools.

The foundation is funded by private donations, mostly coming from local and area businesses, individuals and foundations.

Star Grants offer financial support for innovative classroom projects benefiting students and projects furthering the education of teachers — all projects that would not typically be funded in the normal budgeting process. The foundation awards Star Grants twice each year. Application deadlines are Nov. 1 and April 1.

The foundation also selects winners of the Star Excellence Award each year, which is usually presented to educators in the spring. Those individuals are nominated by the public and nominations are due April 1 of each year.

The foundation, founded in 1990, is a private organization established to strengthen community participation in local schools and inspire both teachers and students. With last week's awards ($14,140), the foundation has funded nearly $1,377,000 in local education projects and awards since its inception.


• Take Home Literacy Kits, submitted by Nicole Lagerstrom, Laura Kiesler and Nichole Hagen from North Hudson Elementary School. The purpose of the proposal is to encourage kindergarten students to engage in literacy learning at home with their families, reinforcing skills learned at school. The foundation awarded $2,840.

• Outdoor classroom submitted by Meg Gornick and Katie Coppenbarger at River Crest Elementary School. The project involves the purchase of an indoor/outdoor portable Bose speaker system that will be added to the project which has already begun. The foundation awarded $698.

• Schoolwide Collaborative Learning Space, submitted by Brittany Lemaniak, Holly Quinn-Marrs and David Maas from E.P. Rock Elementary School. The proposal is to transform an open area near the school library into a learning space. The project involves dividers, tables, chairs, rugs, televisions and keyboards. The foundation awarded $3,130, with additional funds coming from other sources.

• Houlton Conference Room, submitted by Sue Hellmers from Houlton Elementary School. The project involves repurposing existing space so that it may also be used as a conference room, something the school does not have. The plan involves the purchase of a conference table which can be converted to four separate smaller tables for student use and a conference room projector. The foundation awarded $2,900.

• Microscopes for Middle School Science Labs, submitted by Carrie Whitacre and Julie Mattimiro from St. Patrick School. The proposal involves the purchase of a variety of microscopes to replace outdated and damaged microscopes in the science lab. The foundation awarded $3,749.

• Microphones for the drama club, submitted by Emilee Wagner at St. Patrick School. The items will be used for onstage performances and concerts at the school. The foundation awarded $823.

In addition to President Schultz, current foundation board members are Dr. Ron Bernth, Vickie Harris, Jodell Krause, Doug Stohlberg, Lynn Krueger, Joan Thompson, Bob Benoy and John Kromer. Steven Keller is the organization's volunteer executive director.