Southington Education Foundation Awards $11,455 in Grants

The latest round of grants, awarded at Kennedy Middle School on Thursday, will allow for the development of four programs at five local schools.

Educational opportunities continue to grow for Southington students, thanks to the latest round of grants from the Southington Education Foundation.

The foundation awarded four grants to educators at five of Southington’s schools during a special ceremony at Thursday, providing $11,455 in funding to assist with programs that will enhance educational opportunities in science, business and music programs throughout the district.

“Working in Southington, I’ve come to realize just how dedicated this community is to our children,” said Dan Murdzek, who helped write a proposal for the . “It’s uplifting to know such an organization exists and it’s allowing us to explore new educational opportunities.”

Murdzek will work alongside fellow teacher Krista Tibbetts and Flanders teacher Joyce McAloon to provide the Get A.L.O.T. program for fifth grade students. The program will allow students to develop their own business plan to sell cupcakes at the annual Daffodil Festival in Meriden, thanks in large part to the $3,200 the foundation provided on Thursday.

The program is part of the school’s Aspiring Leaders of Tomorrow (A.L.O.T.) effort at the school, which encourages students to take on challenges above and beyond the everyday instruction in the classroom, Mardzek said.

McAloon said students have already gotten excited about the program and will be doing everything from baking to advertising and sales during the festival.

Another unique program that will now be offered as a result of the grant funding is “Electromagnetic Propulsion” – a course that science teacher Keith Michaelson said he is excited to get underway.

The high school will use the grant money, $1,500 in all, to allow students a hands-on chance to explore how electromagnetic waves can make items literally hover in place, much like people have seen in many science fiction television programs and movies.

A $2,230 grant was also awarded to teachers Chanel Curtin and Mandy Hubeny for their proposal to continue “Lego Bricks in Space,” an interactive program that allows students to use Lego blocks alongside astronauts to complete a variety of projects. The data is recorded on the website LegoSpace.com.

Rounding out the grants was a $4,525 award given to Elizabeth DiDominico, a music teacher at the and elementary schools. DiDominico will use the money to help integrate an African drumming program at the third-grade level.

George Costanzo, chairman of the foundation’s grant committee, said it was hard to select just four from a list of 17 proposals that came in from across the district. He said it’s been impressive to see how inspired teachers have been and the committee will continue to look for ways to help make more of these types of programs a reality.

“The quality of the grant requests we receive continues to improve rapidly,” he said. “There are so many programs, so many good ideas out there. It’s making it harder to select just a few.”


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