South Whidbey classes gain $18,000 in foundation grants


South Whidbey donated over $18,000 to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation during its annual Gala Dinner and Fundraiser.

All money goes toward class projects and materials for South Whidbey schools.

A group of South Whidbey Elementary School students presented on the school’s sustainability project, “Green Team.” Funded in part by a $1,000 foundation grant, the students explained how they assessed their school’s waste production then devised ways to significantly reduce it. Students began by sorting through food waste and by reusing paper (they would print on both sides).

South Whidbey High School teacher Jeff Greene also gave a presentation on his two $1,000 grants and their impact on students through the First Tech Challenge Robotics Club and a digital video HD camcorder and camera.

In her keynote address, District Superintendent Jo Moccia noted that it was exactly a year to the day since she had accepted the position with the district. One year in, Moccia said she feels fully acclimated to island culture, and loves it. Moccia explained her vision for making the district an “education destination.”

Noting the unique opportunities the district offers students, such as the award-winning music program, she said there is an opportunity to attract more students as a way to offset declining enrollment. Moccia also thanked the foundation for its efforts on behalf of the schools.

Dave Haworth was recognized for his role as one of the organization’s founders in 1995 by a fellow founder and current foundation board member, Jean Shaw. Both spoke briefly about the early days when meetings were held at kitchen tables and coffee shops, where they managed to raise a few thousand dollars each year to fund classroom projects. Both Shaw and Haworth said they are thankful those early efforts blossomed into the nonprofit group’s ability to fund almost $20,000 in teacher grants.

Foundation president John Knox, also the evening’s emcee, noted how fortunate the school district is to have a community “consistently willing to step up for education, whether it is volunteering, attending school-sponsored events or simply giving money.” Knox recognized event volunteers like auctioneer Sue Frause, who solicited $10,000 in donations during the live auction, and event organizer Becky Foote, for being crucial to the Foundation’s success.

“Without people like Sue and Becky volunteering their time and talents, the Foundation would not be the effective and efficient organization it is today,” Knox said.

Knox also extended his thanks to all the artists who donated to the silent art auction: Georgia Gerber, Rob Schouten, Gary Schallock, Don Wodjenski, and several student artists; Mary McLeod, who organized the art auction; and to the many organizations who helped sponsor the event, including Whidbey Island Bank, Coldwell Banker, One-to-One Personal Training, Family Care Fitness Center, Les Schwab Tire Center, Clinton Foodmart, The Goose Community Grocer, Ken’s Korner Red Apple, The Star Store and Michael Gibson Wine Imports.

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey schools. More information can be found online at

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