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December 24, 2008 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 5 Mahwah Foundation donates one millionth dollar to district by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Schools Foundation recently celebrated the granting of its one millionth dollar to the Mahwah school district since the foundation’s inception in 2000. The grant was presented at a special invitation-only event held last week. The event, funded by the Mahwah Education Associa- tion, was attended by about 70 people including Angela Clarkin, the president of the schools foundation, Super- intendent Charles Montesano, and Catherine Bennett, the principal of the Betsy Ross Elementary School, all of whom addressed the attendees, including a number of the foundation’s larger corporate and individual sponsors. “We are deeply proud of our town and our schools,” said Clarkin, “but keeping up with unprecedented growth comes with many challenges for our school system. More students, more state mandated programs and a limit to the money that can be raised through taxes have stretched tra- ditional resources to capacity. In order to meet this chal- lenge, a group of concerned citizens formed the Mahwah Schools Foundation and this foundation seeks alternative ways to fund programs that might otherwise remain beyond the reach of a hard-stretched school budget. Clarkin explained that the foundation’s grant program also includes mini-grants that assist teachers in provid- ing enrichment activities that cannot be met by the board of education’s budget. They include public speakers, the development of a club, or the purchase of additional mate- rials to encourage creativity or innovation. Montesano expressed his thanks for the foundation’s support of the school district and he described the impact that support has had on the schools in the district. “When I considered what the foundation means to our schools I thought for a moment about what our schools would look like without their support. We would be like other schools where creativity, innovation and exciting ideas die because of the lack of resources.” Principal Bennett also described the benefit of the grants to the schools saying, “The projects that have been funded by the foundation in each school over the past several years have made the difference between great schools and excel- lent schools.” Following the event, Charles Rann, the vice-president of Betsy Ross School Principal Cathy Bennett, Mahwah Education Association VP Sharon VanDerbeek, MEA President Kathy Schal, Mahwah High School Principal John Pascale, Lenape Meadows School Principal Christine Zimmermann, Mahwah Schools Foundation President Angela Clarkin, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Montesano. corporate development for the foundation, emphasized that achieving a million dollars in grants is a significant event and the foundation wanted to say thank you to its many sponsors, many of whom are major corporations located in the township. “We wanted to let them know that we very much appre- ciate what they have done,” Rann said. “This is a very sig- nificant milestone that we have reached and the Mahwah School Foundation has been recognized nationally as being one of the most successful school foundations.” During the event there were several demonstrations of how the 354 grants the foundation has made to the schools have been used by the school district over the years. One demonstration described the use of Promethean Interactive Whiteboards by the students in the first through sixth grades and Rann said the funding of the purchase of these expensive boards has been a primary target of the foundation over the past three years. The Promethean Interactive White Boards enables anything that can be seen or done on a computer screen to be projected onto a large white board where students can participate in and interact with the lesson. “In another couple of years all of our schools should be fully inventoried with these boards,” Rann predicted. Another grant by the foundation funded an art project at the Joyce Kilmer School where children painted what are known as Mandala tiles representing different cultures in the world and they were glazed and fired and mounted onto a large display that currently exists in the hallway of that school. Rann said the project has won a national award for innovativeness. The high school’s Robotics Club also demonstrated the use of an erector-set-like robot that was constructed by the club and it was explained how the club has grown from its original six or seven members to its current membership of 40. Rann advised that the Robotics Club was financed from its inception by the foundation but the club has also raised money for some of its projects and the club is now included in the school district’s budget. In its first year of existence in 2004, the club participated in a national competition and won the “Rookie of the Year Award” and Rann said the foundation will continue to finance the club so they can continue to compete on a national basis in robotics. 2 Locations Glen Rock & Passaic PASSAIC LOCATION NOW OPEN SUNDAYS! 201.345-5621 We Offer Line Of Credits And Financing Plans ���� � � ��� 595 North Maple Ave Ridgewood ��� �� 201-444-5763 � � ���� Mon-Sat 9:30-5:30 Thurs ‘til 9:00