MULBERRY — The MPV Education Foundation hasn’t been in existence for very long, but in the short time since its inception it is managing to make a big impact for the students of the Mulberry/Pleasant Valley School District.
In May the foundation, which was organized in 2017, handed out $20,317.14 in grants to teachers in the district to help them purchase programs and materials for students in their classrooms.
The foundation also handed out over $30,000 in scholarships to graduating Mulberry High School seniors.
“It feels so good. We’ve touched all three campuses in a heavy way,” said Mulberry/Pleasant View Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Myers after the grant checks had been handed out. “I think we’ve got the money fairly evenly distributed among our students so that every child will receive some attention through these programs.”
A total of 30 grants were given out for a wide variety of projects ranging from Band Enrichment with Instruments ($3,766.19) to one program called Smorgasbord of Ideas and Needs and another entitled Math Resources ($250 each).
“The thing you want to do in every district is find a way to reach every student,” said Myers. “Most schools have a mission and a vision, and ours is ‘Together developing leaders one student at a time every time.’ So you’re looking for that ‘every time’ way. How do you do this every time? So this is how you do it every time. You go for extra funds, for extra support so you can do that ‘every student, every time’ mission. To reach a vision it takes a lot of extra support outside the regular school dollars.”
And it takes a lot of help from others who care about the district, people like Harry Keifer.
Even though Keifer, a 1960 graduate of Mulberry High School, got involved after the foundation was organized, he is now one of its board members.
“I read about it in the Press Argus in September (of 2017),” he said. “They hadn’t even gotten their paperwork back from the Secretary of State at that point but I read about it and that’s when I started my relationship with them.”
Myers said Keifer actually handed him a donation check before the foundation received its 501c3 status.
“I said, ‘Harry, we’re not ready for this yet,’” Myers said. “And he said, ‘Keep it until you are.’ It was several months later when I deposited the check. So he was cool before it was cool.”
Keifer said, “Being a person who was born here and grew up here, I just want to see these kids have an opportunity. This is a small way, but if this gives them an opportunity to get a better education then that’s what I want. Hopefully this will help them in their future endeavors.”
Soon after Keifer made his donation an anonymous donation of $100,000 was received, providing a big boost to the fledgling foundation.
Another way the foundation receives financial support is through payroll deductions from many of the district’s employees.
“We have payroll deduction and our employees are giving well over $600 a month,” said Myers. “Hopefully this will stimulate others to say, ‘Oh, I see now where it goes. It goes to the kids.’”
Myers also said the teachers are very engaged in the grant writing process, searching out proven projects that will help their students’ learning process, then making sure to write up the grant requests and submit them to the foundation.
“The thing that thrills me the most is seeing the engagement of the teachers,” Myers said. “I’m not sure if there was a teacher that didn’t write a grant here this time. There could have been. But I know the large majority saw the opportunity and they went for it.”
The following is a complete list of the grants that were handed out in May by the MPV Education Foundation (listed by grant title, teacher and amount):
• Musical Theater Production, Marie McHaffie, $267.00
• Little Free Library Books, Brandi Hargraves, $500.00
• Band Enrichment with Instruments, Shanice McFerran, $3,766.19
• Keys for Choir, Shanice McFerran, $952.92
• Hatching for Education and Nutrition, Frances Sawrie/Patricia Chaney, $833.54
• School Wellness Fair, Jan Williams/Nancy Milmon, $2,430.00
• Snowy Penguin Canvas Art, Amanda Fields, $471.72
• Sphero Coding, Larraine Ross/Lenzi Peters, $1,199.99
• “Stem” ulating Centers, Leslie Battles, $478.93
• Take Home Book Bags, Samantha Cook, $344.36
• Robotics in the Fourth Grade, Larraine Ross, $411.95
• Fairytale Fun in 3D, Tammy Montgomery, $432.97
• “Sneezy the Snowman” Canvas Painting, Amanda Fields, $494.99
• Books, Brains and Building Things, Angela Graham/Heather Smyth, $778.98
• Math, Mosaics and a Magic Cube, Angela Graham, $403.98
• Smorgasbord of Ideas and Needs, Rachel Morrison, $250.00
• Math Resources, Vanessa Chanthavy, $250.00
• Classroom Headsets, Diane Humphrey, $481.88
• Tune into Reading, Sadie Qualls, $375.00
• Improving Math Scores One Manipulative at a Time, Kathi Brown, $457.03
• Geometry Score Improvement, Anthony Hood, $426.35
• Decodable Readers, Karen Havlik/Heather Smyth/Tammy Montgomery, $1,156.95
• Magazine Mania, Cindy Coget/Charity Brake, $316.26
• Magazine Mania, David Edwards/Stan Broyles, $754.95
• A Reading Zone, Clint Henslee, $205.00
• Science Books for the Classroom, Diane Humphrey, $300.00
• Studies Weekly Subscriptions, Diane Humphrey, $483.12
• Apply Life Skills to the Real World, Nancy Milmon, $416.99
• Language Learning for Lifetime Success, Angela Graham, $380.94
• Flexible Seating, Charity Brake, $349.15
The following is a list of scholarships awarded by the MPV Education Foundation to Mulberry High School Students (listed by student and amount):
MaKala Robinson, $5,000; Emily Fowler, $5,000; Meghan Parks, $4,000; Gary Kimberly, $4,000; Savannah Crouch, $3,000; Noah Cagle, $3,000; Faith Stepusin, $2,000; Jarrett Chambers, $2,000; Montana Hall, $1,000; Ashley Bugg, $1,000;
Pannell Scholarship: Montana Hall, $500 and Meghan Parks, $500.