Southington Education Foundation celebrates grant-funded projects

Southington Education Foundation celebrates grant-funded projects


SOUTHINGTON — At a reception on Wednesday afternoon at Thalberg School, Southington Education Foundation officials were excited to share the work from grants given out to educators for programs that have started and will start in the fall.

It was the tenth round of grants that the Southington Education Foundation has given out since its inception in 2009, explained Jan Galati, foundation chairwoman. The Foundation has dispersed about $78,000 in grants for teachers to start programs in their classrooms and, overall, $130,000 has been donated to the community.

“I’ve seen some very creative programs,” Galati said.

Chanel Curtin, a teacher at Thalberg School, applied for a grant to start a robotics team through a national program called First Lego League. The team, comprised of 10 fourth-graders, have to design a small robot to maneuver through obstacles at a competition in Berlin in December. The group will find out their exact challenge in the fall.

“They have to sit down and figure out how to design a robot to move on a table,” Curtin said.

The group already started meeting once a week to talk about different components of engineering that will be valuable in the fall.

Teachers at the reception also discussed a vegetable garden created at South End School with a foundation grant. The vegetable garden started a few months ago.

Marion Virello, the food services manager at South End School and Ellen Bellinger, a first-grade teacher at South End, worked together to create the vegetable garden for the children.

“It took us probably 20 hours,” Virello said of parents helping to create an 8-foot long raised wooden beds to plant the vegetables in.

The garden club was formed with 28 students who helped tend to the vegetables. The funds allowed the club to buy materials to create the vegetable beds, install lights to help them grow and buy seeds. Students learned about planting and maintaining the vegetables and will cook with whatever grows.

Some of the vegetables didn’t sprout correctly.

“This is a learners curve,” Bellinger said. “And it’s a garden that will go on and on.”

Sustainability is important for projects that the foundation funds.

“That is one thing we do look at,” said Beth Hosmer, a member of the grants committee for the foundation.

School board member Pat Johnson, who attended the reception, was impressed with the garden.

“I think you’re having some setbacks is part of the scientific process,” Johnson said. (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah

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