SEF Awards $10,000 in Grants, Honors Outback for Generosity (Video)

The Southington Education Foundation provided grant funding for four new school programs on Thursday, raising their total contribution to the community to over $70,000.

Two years ago, a grant from the Southington Education Foundation allowed the to establish a teaching garden designed to provide new educational opportunities outside a typical classroom, both for teachers and students.

The school, lead by Linda Bass-Reilly, will now have the opportunity to not only continue the garden, but expand how the garden is used thanks to a $1,600 grant from the foundation that will let them purchase iPads and other equipment to record and bring the lessons to every classroom in the school.

“We wouldn’t even have had this idea or opportunity to consider anything like this if not for the grants,” Bass-Reilly said. “They’ve done so much and it’s now benefitting our entire school community. They are truly helping with the learning process and we are so grateful for everything they’ve done.”

The foundation on Thursday provided another $10,000 in grants during a special ceremony at the , providing money to fund four programs at schools throughout the community. Money was given to recipients at Thalberg, and the school district’s English Language Learners program.

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Dawn Miceli, president of the Southington Education Foundation, said with the latest round of grants, the 3-year-old organization has now given at least two to every public school in town and has provided nearly $75,000 in grant funding.

The foundation recently donated $25,000 to the development of a new Science, Math and Technology Center at the , a center designed to benefit fourth- and fifth-graders in Southington.

Kim DiFusco, chairwoman of the foundation’s Grant Committee, said the awards have included grants to support over 50 teachers.

“Teachers open the door, but students must enter by themselves,” Miceli said. “They are not alone in their mission. We are committed to prop open that entryway but without the support we’ve had from the community, we wouldn’t be able to do it. Together we are preparing lifelong learners.”

Thursday’s grants included $3,000 for a digital video news program at Strong, $2,500 for iPads and other equipment to help the English Language Learners to help them learn quicker and connect with their home countries and $1,500 for a cooking program at Thalberg.

The Southington Education Foundation also used the Thursday program to say thanks to , presenting them with the Apple Vanguard award for their dedication to helping host an annual fundraiser that has led to thousands in donations.

The award was presented to manager Mike Petrella, who accepted on behalf of Outback Managing Partner Ryan Lucas.

“This is flattering to receive,” Petrella said. “When I came in here today, I’ve already had five people thank us. We do it because it’s something good for the community.”

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