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Amy Bass bids a fond farewell to one of PWEF's founding board members, Toula Halperin.

The Port Washington Education Foundation (PWEF), a nonprofit community-based organization whose purpose is to raise and distribute funds to enhance educational opportunities in Port's public schools, announced its grant awards for the year 2005-6. President Amy Bass opened the grants award program and reception at Landmark on Main Street, by thanking the directors, advisory board members, community residents and others who have supported the foundation. Singled out for special recognition were Emma Fraser-Pendleton, Toula Halperin and Dot and Ed Slade.

Dr. Pendleton, who served the district as assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment until her recent retirement, has been the liaison from the district to the PWEF. Bass presented her with a citation and wished her much happiness in the future. Pendleton, in turn, praised the foundation for the Úquot;remarkableÚquot; work that they have done. She said, Úquot;They made a success out of this thing.Úquot; Another honoree was Toula Halperin, an active member of the board of directors who, said Bass, Úquot;is moving on to other projects in her life.Úquot;

Also honored by the PWEF were Dot and Ed Slade, who personally and through the Slade Foundation have supported so many community organizations. Bass announced that, in addition to their ongoing support, they have recently given over $1 million for two special projects: a radio station at Schreiber and the development of a Úquot;black boxÚquot; theater, also at the high school. Dot Slade said, Úquot;The Port Washington Education Foundation is clever and fun, and we are happy to be a part of it. It's all because of Amy and the rest of you.Úquot; Ed Slade echoed these sentiments, saying, Úquot;We have enthusiastically supported the foundation; thank you.Úquot; Later in the program, the persons responsible for the Slade-funded programs elaborated a little on their plans. Teacher and program leader Jeremy Klaff said that they have been working on the idea of a radio station for a few years; there already is what he described as Úquot;a thriving radio club.Úquot; With the help of the Slade's generous support the station, which will have the call letters WDOT, can be implemented. Klaff said that it will broadcast over an area of about one-half mile, but eventually will be streaming over the Internet. He said that they intend to be involved with the community, adding, Úquot;We can't advertise, but we can accept underwriters.Úquot; Klaff said, Úquot;We want to start small, and we intend to get bigger and bigger. We may get a frequency, but we also have the whole possibility of satellite radio.Úquot; Mark Brenner explained that Úquot;Black Box TheaterÚquot; is a working title for small drama or special programs.

This was the fourth year of grant awards. Robin Sigman, vice president for projects, announced that this year they are awarding about $60,000 in grants. A description of the grants follows.

Amy Rowland, Guggenheim library media specialist, was awarded a grant for a project entitled Úquot;Primarily Port Washington,Úquot; which will be carried out in collaboration with the Port Washington Public Library. Also at Guggenheim, Barbara Mayer, Vicki Field, Monica McFadden, and Dick Feingold were given an award for Úquot;GuggenPlayers Performing Arts Enrichment Project;Úquot; Natalie Miller and Ute Johnson received a grant for the Úquot;Mimi Olsen Pond and Garden;Úquot; and Claire Galanek and Maribeth Betsch were funded for Úquot;Journeys into American Indian Territory.Úquot;

At the Manorhaven School, a grant award was given to Susan Begina for Úquot;Field Trips for Special Needs Children.Úquot; Daly received the following awards: Úquot;Bringing the 19th Century to LifeÚquot; (Kimberly DeStefano, Lauren Feigelson, Liz Le Sueur, Camille Corbisiero and Wanda Burgess); Úquot;Daly Stage SystemÚquot; (Ruth Addeo, Kimberly DeStefano, Allison Schlanger, Rosanne Matty, and Michelle Lumia); and Úquot;'SMART Board' SystemÚquot; (Irene Virgilio). Ellie May was funded for the Úquot;Storytime TheaterÚquot; at Daly and Sousa. Also at Sousa is the Úquot;Interactive Elementary Science Lab,Úquot; headed by David Meoli and Jeanne Zeh. Lisa Castillo and Denise Johnert at Salem were grant recipients for Úquot;Sharing My Life as a Reader.Úquot; Regina McLean and Jeanne Zeh received a second-year grant for Úquot;Digital Photo Suitcase,Úquot; which takes place in all the elementary schools.

Another second-year grant was given to Jeff Moss of Weber Middle School for Úquot;Blues-An 8th Grade Experience.Úquot; This program includes workshops and performances that enhance the study of Afro-American history, poetry and music, and even includes having the eighth-graders write their own blues songs. Maureen Peraza, Meghan Duffy, and Susan McAuliffe received a grant for Úquot;Poe on the Road,Úquot; which will take place at Weber and Salem.

Jim Jones, Schreiber science teacher and naturalist, along with the Úquot;Tree Hugger Club,Úquot; was awarded a grant for Úquot;Backyard Habitat.Úquot; Jones, who is the author of Spirits of the Harbor: A Summer of Re-awakening on Long Island's North Shore, and the subject of a Dec. 19, 2002, Port News article, said that the students approached him and said that they wanted an environmental club. [Editor's note: We noticed what appeared to be an increasing number of students involved in initiating and designing the projects that were funded.] Also at Schreiber were Úquot;Parenting Workshops for Spanish-Speaking ParentsÚquot; (David Miller), Úquot;Time Management and Study Skills Ninth Grade WorkshopsÚquot; (Julie Gross and Karen Hazan), and Úquot;Faces and Stories of Schreiber LivesÚquot; (Joy Jaworski and Kris Murphy). Another Schreiber project was Úquot;Walk for Port,Úquot; initiated by Rose Bonnanno, Fran Clark, and Robin Cooper, AAPW, which will take place on the Schreiber-Weber Campus and serve all the schools and the community.

A fascinating project funded at Weber is Úquot;FIRST Robotics Kit and Competition,Úquot; under the direction of Donald Schafer, technology education teacher. The newly formed robotics club will have 32 days to meet the standards issued by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a multinational nonprofit organization, Úquot;that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today.Úquot; (From their website at www.usfirst.org). Schafer explained that after what he described as a Úquot;32-day marathon,Úquot; the students will enter their completed project in FIRST's regional competition. Winners of the regional competitions will then go on to national competition. Schafer said, Úquot;Students have been really involved in the development of this project. The students brainstorm and are collectively working together to meet the standards of the regional competition, and maybe we can also enter the national competition. I, as well as the administration and students want to thank the Port Washington Educational Foundation to turn this into a reality that will benefit the Port Washington community.Úquot; Schaefer said that he wants to involve community members in this project. Specifically, he needs mentors from fields such as structural, electronic and mechanical engineering, computer programming, website development, and the like. To volunteer or for more information, e-mail Schaefer at dschaefer@portnet.k12.us.

Note that all grant applications are developed by the teachers on their own time, who take time out of their busy lives to provide enhanced educational opportunities for Port's children.

Ann Marie Pullicino and Karen Siegel-Smith described their Book of the Month project, funded last year by PWEF. The project provided five books appropriate to all levels to each Sousa classroom. The books were accompanied by a choice of curriculum materials. Examples they gave included a story that had students talking about their own talents, a book about two sets of grandparents, and another that told about a young boy who found out what a hero really is. Yet another book generated discussion about the specialness of each child. There was also a book with an environmental theme. They said, Úquot;These were simple books, and we had lots of different levels of discussion.Úquot; They thanked the PWEF and the Port Washington library for supporting the project.

Bass thanked the community for their support, and pointed out that all donors were publicly acknowledged in a recent Port Washington News article. She said, Úquot;It is the people of Port Washington who have made this possible.Úquot; She added, Úquot;This money goes to projects that the district cannot fund.Úquot; As the annual fund drive gets under way, Bass pointed out that the organization is entirely volunteer. She said, Úquot;We have no office, no staff.Úquot; Almost all the money contributed, therefore, goes directly to the programs - more than 100 so far, including what was announced at this year's ceremony. Bass said, Úquot;We are looking to grow. All we need is a little help from our friends.Úquot; For the second year, the PWEF is participating with the Americana Shopping Center in Manhasset in the Úquot;Champions for CharityÚquot; program, where participating retailers donate a portion of their proceeds to designated charities. Úquot;Please sign up,Úquot; Bass pleaded, Úquot;and designate the Port Washington Education Foundation.Úquot;

For more information about the Port Washington Education Foundation visit their website at www.pwef.org.


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