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Feb 02, 2018 07:08AM ● Published by Editor


The Cook County School District I.S.D. 166 Education Foundation recently presented the robotics team with a check for $3,300. Shown in front L-R: John VanderHeiden, Linnea Gesch, Kestrel Pollock, Jack Fredrickson, Jron Tamanaha, Keenan Hingos, Alize Pierce, Ashleigh Precord. Back row L-R: Joe James, coach Rob Hackett, CCEF Foundation members Doug Sanders, Ann Sullivan, Hal Greenwood, Pat Campanaro, Devlin Duvall, Noah Works, and Adrian Howard-Larsen. Staff photo/Brian Larsen 

By Brian Larsen from the Cook County News Herald - February 2, 2018

Hal Greenwood, who helped found the Cook County School District I.S.D. 166 Education Foundation (CCEF) many years ago and is the current board president, called 2017, “The best year ever. We have a great board; there are great teachers and staff in the school, great kids in the school. It’s been a tremendous year.”

Greenwood made his remarks to the Cook County High School Robotics Club on Thursday, Jan. 25, as he and the CCEF board handed over a significant check for $3,300 to the team for their upcoming regional competition that will be held in Duluth.

“Thank you so much. This [check] is a huge weight off of our shoulders,” said Rob Hackett, who along with Tom Nelson coaches the robotics team.

Without grants like the one given by CCEF, the team would have to come up with the dollars to pay for competitions through fundraisers and, if not enough funds could be garnered, pay out of their pockets.

This gift to robotics, this financial burden lifted from the club by CCEF, was one of a dozen loads lifted from similar programs at I.S.D. 166 in the fiscal year 2017.

All told, $18,178 was distributed to school clubs or programs by the CCEF last year. 

Here is a list of CCEF grants and what the donations were used for over the last year: 

. Grants distributed include $317 for the culinary arts program. This money paid for additional equipment for culinary arts students to serve larger community groups (serving at athletic and other community events occurring at the school). 

. Concordia Language Camp: $1,770 was donated to support a Village Weekend for language and cultural immersion experiences. 

. Early Childhood Family Education received $1,000 to purchase supplementary educational “play” equipment for the classroom. 

. A grant of $291 to buy graphics calculators for the high school math classrooms was given to provide additional calculators for upper-level math. 

. The health class received $1,685 to purchase computerized baby dolls which students take home and care for several days. The dolls cry, students have to calm them, get up in the night with them, and caring for the dolls simulates what it is like to be a parent. The experience teaches kids how to hold and care for infants. 

. Music Together received $4,018 for an innovative, research-based early childhood music and movement program with materials and resources for use in school and at home. 

. Stars of the North was given $2,500 to support private instrumental lessons for those unable to pay. 

. The 6th-grade safety/tech class received $720 to supplement a new course for 6th graders to cover costs for the online component of snowmobile and ATV safety training (goal to reduce deaths, accidents, and near accidents). 

. $2,144 was granted to pay for Accelerate Learning iPads; $183 for CLIMB Green Screen; and $250 was awarded to Health Habits. 

. The financial gift to the robotics team will be used to purchase materials to build the robot and to help pay for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics tournament held March 7-10 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) in Duluth. It’s at the DECC that 120 teams will gather to see who can qualify for nationals. Two years ago CCHS narrowly missed earning a trip to the national robotics meet. 

More news

On Thursday, Jan. 25 the CC Education Foundation (CCEF) also voted to give $3,000 to the Social Justice Conference which will be held at CCHS on March 9.

The all-day conference will be held for 6-12 grade students. It is being conducted to improve social cohesion and the freedom of individuals to interact without fear of prejudice or discrimination.

Workshops at the conference for students are being organized and led by student leaders, community experts, and teaching staff. This leadership will provide a safe space for students to engage in critical conversations about race, identity, culture, gender, privilege, and justice.

“There are many, many projects we have supported over the years,” said CCEF board member Ann Sullivan, “but this is a recent ‘snippet’ of some projects which support early childhood-12th-grade students at ISD 166.”

Doug Sanders, who is treasurer of the CCEF, commented, “It’s a pleasure to help the kids. It’s exciting. We have many businesses and some individuals that support the foundation. I’m happy to help out.”

As far as the upcoming robotics competition, Sanders, who is originally from Duluth, said he wants to attend the meet and cheer on the kids. He’s got to get the okay from his wife Mary, but he thinks she will be onboard with the idea. Pretty sure, anyway.

The mission of CCEF is to offer unique experiences for students through innovative instruction and co-curricular programs, which are unable to be funded by I.S.D. 166 or other sources. Toward that end, as Greenwood and Sullivan both noted, the foundation has been very successful.

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