Westerville Education Challenge Announces Inaugural Grant Winners

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Originally formed in 2009 to fund Challenge Day initiatives at all three Westerville City School District (WCSD) high schools, the Westerville Education Challenge (WEC) took its latest step as a maturing organization by awarding nearly $5,800 in grants to support innovative educational programming across the district.

As the WEC grew, its mission expanded beyond providing support for Challenge Day. Members of the Board of Directors ultimately wanted the organization to fund creative and innovative projects that enrich curricular and extra-curricular activities, and that directly enhance educational opportunities for a significant number of students in the Westerville City Schools. Successful fundraising initiatives, such as “Boots 'N BBQ at the Barn,” allowed the non-profit to achieve its mission through its new competitive grants program. Grant recipients for the inaugural year include:
  • Susannah Lee, Westerville Central High School - $4,689 for participation in the International Education and Resource Network (IEarn)
    Through this project students will become digital storytellers, swapping stories with other students around the world via IEarn. They also will participate in live storytelling events. IEarn is a global network consisting of 40,000 teachers and two million students involved in various projects. Westerville Central students not only will write and share their personal stories, but they will document the stories of senior citizens in the Westerville-area community.
  • Howard Baum, Annehurst Elementary - $720 for the Renaissance PRIDE Program
    Through the PRIDE (Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence) Program, students will be recognized for improved behaviors, attendance and academics. The goal of the program is to increase student attendance, improve homework/classwork completion rates, and to improve behavior/compliance with Annehurst school rules. The school will collect baseline data and compare results to this data to determine their success in achieving each goal.
  • Whitney Pyke, Robert Frost Elementary - $352 for Pedometers to support the school’s “Be Kind” initiative
    Third-grade students at Robert Frost will be working with an overarching theme of “Be Kind…to yourself, to others and to your community.” A portion of the Be Kind to Yourself component involves exercise and physical activity. Students will participate in a training program that would allow them to run a 5K race at the end of a nine-week period. Students will use pedometers to measure their progress and then document their improvements using spreadsheets and charts.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that the work of our organization has been embraced by the community to the extent that we’re able to launch this competitive grants program,” said WEC President Christy Thorp. “We have some incredibly creative professionals in our school district. If we’re able to provide funding that helps bring their vision to life for the benefit of students, then the time and energy we volunteer is well worth it.”

This year’s “Boots 'N BBQ at the Barn” will be held at 7:00 p.m. on September 8 at Skip and Linda Weiler's Family Barn. Proceeds will continue to sustain Challenge Day and the WEC’s competitive grants program. Online registration is available through the WEC website at http://www.westervilleeducationchallenge.org.

For further information, please contact Marlis Byrns, WEC Vice President, at 975-6440.