Letters to the Editor

Teachers, students will benefit | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation Board wants to thank all the wonderful people who supported the May 21 gala fundraiser. Because of the generosity of those who attended and additional contributors who couldn’t be present, we have gained more than $13,000 to use for teacher grants and programs for the 2011-12 school year.

Here are a few specific thank-yous to those who made this a financial success and a memorable evening.

DB Jazz Quartet (Don Wodjenski, Dr. Bob Wagner, Dale Stirling and Dan Gemano) set a joyful tone for the lucky early birds who browsed and enjoyed bidding at the silent auction of student and community artworks organized by art specialist Mary McLeod.

Music was enhanced with captivating solos by South Whidbey High School senior Gina Knox.

Three teacher-grant award winners from 2010-11 inspired the audience with student stories and multimedia views of their projects. Thanks to Jay Freundlich, Langley Middle School rain-garden project in the year of the Washington “monsoons”;  Bayview teacher Charlene Ray and student Natalie Frasier (Rites of Passage), who touched everyone’s hearts; and Kathy Stanley (solar oven and sustainability project), who left us all wondering how a single teacher can integrate so much learning in one project.

Our outstanding keynote speaker, Joey Shapiro Key (SWHS 1997), spoke enthusiastically of her work in astrophysics studying gravitational waves and her employment with the NASA Public Outreach Team in Montana.

She traced the roots of her progress to a doctorate in astrophysics to important experiences in South Whidbey schools in math and science, track and field and the arts. She noted particularly, the mentoring of physics teacher, Mark Racicot, also in attendance. We are so grateful that she took the time to visit  and share her amazing life story.

After all that inspiration, our auctioneer extraordinaire, Michael McInerney, began the exciting task of encouraging everyone to contribute to areas of interest for next year’s SWSF support for South Whidbey schools. The final total shows both Michael’s talent for entertaining and the audience’s generosity — responding to the new SWSF motto,  “You can do ONE thing for South Whidbey students: Contribute to the SWSF!” He was ably assisted by student runners from the Knox and Baesler families.

Our auction donations were greatly enhanced by corporate sponsors Whidbey Island Bank and Coldwell Banker/Tara Properties.

The evening was also supported by three area merchants who provided wine for the evening: Red Apple at Ken’s Korner, the Goose and the Star Store.

As always, we appreciate the flexibility and carefulness of Chef Blu and the wait staff at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. And the food was delicious, too.

Finally, we want to thank especially the fundraiser gala chairwoman, Charlene Arnold, a true entrepreneur and tireless worker.

Reminder: It’s never too late to donate.   Check out our website, www.southwhidbeyschoolsfoundation.org.

LISA BJORK, BECKY FOOTE, DAVE HAWORTH, WENDY BAESLER, MARTI MURPHY, CHARLENE ARNOLD, JEANETTE EVELAND, CHRIS GIBSON, JOHN KNOX, NANCY RUFF, JENNY SANKEY, JEAN SHAW AND JOHN RILEY, JILL ENGSTROM, MARY MCLEOD, JAMIE BOYD AND SOPHIA MERRELL

South Whidbey Schools Foundation

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