The Peninsula Schools Education Foundation held its annual Breakfast of Champions fundraiser last Thursday at Canterwood Golf & Country Club.
Twenty area businesses, service organizations, school representatives and other individuals hosted tables or donated funds to enhance the partnership between the foundation and the schools.
The breakfast is the primary fundraiser for the foundation. Money goes to individuals or teams of teachers who use the funds for innovative or relevant projects, curricula and learning opportunities in the Peninsula School District. Twenty teachers are selected for $1,000 in grant money, and they use the $20,000 raised each year.
Representatives from Galaxy Theater presented a check for $8,000 from the sales of tickets during Monday Classic Movie Morning events. The $2 ticket proceeds goes to the fund each year.
“We are happy to provide such a substantial donation to this organization,” said Adrienne Ingham, who represented the theater.
Peninsula Light Company CEO Jafar Taghavi presented a check for $3,000 “to their favorite school district,” he said, drawing a laugh from the room.
PSD Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto introduced Eric Swanson, last year’s Warner Karshner grant recipient. Karshner, known as a builder of partnerships between schools and the community, started the Partners in Learning event that’s now a tradition to kick off the school year.
Swanson, the Gig Harbor High School band director, also is the department chairman for percussion arts at the school. He used last year’s grant to buy technology to extend a class titled “Creative Music,” tapping into the talents of musicians and singers who may not fit a typical band or choir mold. Some students may include those who play the piano or guitar.
Money covered keyboards, USB controller cables and microphones, and it also bought software called “Garage Band,” allowing curriculum development for students to write, compose, sing and track their own music.
“The added technology opens new doors for kids to explore on their own and develop individual creativity,” Swanson said. “The class is able to be relevant with current technology and find a creative outlet for talent to write and perform music.”
Swanson used another portion of the grant for a class to create a percussion ensemble.
“Separating out percussion into its own class, the musicians are able to learn and do more types of music,” he said. “They are not limited because of instruction time spent on other instruments. We can focus on many other pieces and styles of music.”
Swanson plans to prioritize his short- and long-term goals and apply for another grant .
Ideas teachers implemented included non-fiction books for the Kopachuck Middle School library, book sets to fourth- and fifth-grade students at Evergreen Elementary School, and partial funding for the Peninsula Hands-on Art program at many elementary schools.
Science teacher Scott Markowitz started a before-school Ornithology Club called the “Bird Herd” for fourth- and fifth-graders. Using grant-funded binoculars, the students studied birds, learned about their habitats and created a field guide.
“I’m really grateful for the education foundation’s support,” Markowitz said. “We would not have been able to make this opportunity available otherwise.”
For more information, visit www.psefnd.org.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_kim.