WEF President-Elect Erick Carter.
District employees, community members, business leaders, service organization representatives, government officials and special guests joined members of the Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) Board of Trustees on April 22 for the WEF’s second annual Celebration of Education, Innovation and Inspiration.
Emceed by 10TV News Anchor Kristyn Hartman, the celebration provided those in attendance with an opportunity to hear from Westerville City School District (WCSD) educators who collectively received nearly $17,500 in WEF grants this year to support innovative projects in their schools and classrooms.
One of the grants featured was “Collaboration, Calmness, and Community through a Pottery Wheel.” This initiative allows Huber Ridge Elementary students with emotional disabilities to have the sensory experience of working with clay on an electric pottery wheel. The activity promotes a positive, creative and physical outlet of their emotions. Tables at the event, hosted in the City of Westerville’s Everal Barn, were decorated with student-created pottery centerpieces.
Those in attendance also received an update on successes resulting from the WCSD Student Connections Initiative. Launched this school year, Student Connections is a districtwide program that connects students to diverse literature, mentors, tutors, and opportunities to engage and address issues surrounding their social and emotional needs. Students also focus on creating pathways that increase their academic achievement while connecting them to careers and college opportunities. WEF funded the Student Connections Initiative for nearly $10,000, which represents the largest grant funded by the independent, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization since its beginnings in 1993.
International soccer star Frankie Hejduk attended the event as a guest of honor and spoke to crowd from the perspective of a parent with children in Westerville City Schools and as an advocate for the availability of physical activities that promote the health and wellbeing of children. WCSD Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg closed the program by expressing his appreciation for all that the WEF does to support the school district, its staff and its students.
WEF grants are the longest-established component of the group’s GAP (Grants, Adoption, Programs) funding initiatives. The Foundation raises grant funds through several special annual events, one of which is the annual community Minigolf Fundraiser, scheduled this year from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 21 at the Westerville Minigolf & Batting Cages, 450 W. Schrock Road.
The WEF also provides online opportunities to support classrooms and creative academic initiatives through its Adopt-a-Classroom and Fund-a-Project website modules. Persons interested in learning more about the WEF or how to support its various initiatives are encouraged to visit the WEF website at www.westervilleeducationfoundation.com.