The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation announces the recipients of its annual grant cycle, which will provide a total of $35,730 to high quality educational projects in White Salmon’s schools.

This process, previously comprised of two smaller grant cycles, has been consolidated into a single, larger cycle offered in spring to better meet the districts’ needs. The grant projects run the gamut from the construction of a cutting-edge electric vehicle, to providing observational beehives, purchasing essential band instruments, supplying graphing calculators, and creating a Diversity Classroom library.

The Metalworking and Robotics class at Columbia High School (CHS) will receive $9,992 from the WSVEF to craft the first-of-its-kind Piranha III all-terrain electric vehicle. This innovative pilot project expands on the momentum these classes have built over the past six years designing and fabricating electric cars to compete in over 50 races. Metalworking students will gain real world craftsmanship skills while Robotics students will design and test electronics systems. Look for the Piranha III to be proudly demonstrated in our local parades next year.

The foundation also awarded $1,888 to Wayne M. Henkle Middle School to provide in-class observation honeybee hives as part of the K-12 District STEAM vision. These hives will allow students to focus on a variety of disciplines including science and economics by studying the role and importance of honeybees.

The project evolved from a pilot program that began earlier this year to provide hands-on activities for students needing more support outside of the classroom setting. The spontaneous curiosity, collaboration, and student leadership emerging from that effort inspired educators to create a broader exploration of real-world processes and problems through active beekeeping. Since the beginning of January 2019, students in grades 4-8 have been constructing bee frames for a local beekeeper.

As CHS’s band program’s head count and success grows, so has the need for quality instruments essential to maintaining a balanced concert ensemble. The foundation will supply the $18,118 needed to purchase such components as the tenor and baritone saxophone, tuba, and euphonium. Students will be able to rent these instruments for years to come.

The WSVEF also granted a request for $4,232 to purchase graphing calculators for high school math. These tools will assist students who struggle with prerequisite calculations, allow for better differentiation within the classes, enable students to more easily check their work and improve their abilities to interpret equations applied to real world problems. They are also approved devices on the SAT and ACT exams. Access to and familiarization with the graphing calculators will provide students with an advantage on these standardized tests.

The final grant beneficiary this year is the Diversity Classroom Libraries project. The Wallace and Priscilla Stevenson Intermediate School will receive $1,500 to place books in English Language Arts classrooms to help students across many different backgrounds see themselves represented in literature and allow them to connect to larger communities. Teachers can use these books to encourage empathy and understanding of people from different lifestyles and cultures in the broader world.

The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation selected these projects as part of our effort to support educators in providing students of all backgrounds and abilities with programs that create lasting benefit. The WSVEF has given more than $3.4 million dollars to White Salmon’s schools over the past 13 years through direct giving and grant writing efforts.

Over $616,000 has been directly provided to White Salmon schools in WSVEF grant cycles and the foundation has obtained over $2.8 million dollars in additional grant funds awarded to our schools from outside sources. To learn more, please visit wsvef.org or email info@wsvef.org.

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