Smith-Cotton High School art teacher Josh Heimsoth beamed and blurted, “Awesome!” as members of the Sedalia School District Foundation filed into his classroom Wednesday afternoon carrying balloons and an oversized novelty check.
The “prize patrol,” as foundation President Deidre Esquivel called the group, which included members Amanda Blackburn and Betty Albrecht, was on hand to let Heimsoth know his request for a foundation mini grant had been approved. He sought $1,500 to put toward a Pugger de-airing clay mixer/extruder, which he said will be “four times faster with five times less work” than the current process used to prepare and recycle clay for his ceramics classes.
In his grant application, Heimsoth noted that a pugger mixer would double his ability to recycle clay, saving the district about $2,800 a year.
Each year, the foundation funds mini grants – educators’ requests for tools or technology that will improve the educational environment for students but fall outside what the district’s budget can muster. This year, 16 grants totaling more than $17,000 were funded. The foundation is able to meet the requests with funds raised through its annual golf tournament, Major Saver discount card sales and donations from community members.
Sedalia Middle School science teachers Michelle Steger and Tera Thomas got nearly $1,400 combined for equipment to help grow worms and make compost to enhance a natural recycling program.
Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative speech pathologists Amy Simoncic and Katie Morrison landed $900 for an iPad they will use to help students with speech therapy. There are many apps available to address different kinds of therapy, Simoncic said.
“This will provide students with an opportunity to communicate in a different way,” she said. Photos courtesy Sedalia School District 200.