Boca Chamber’s Golden Bell Fund Rings Up $95K For City Schools

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By: Dale King Contributing Writer

It’s become an annual traditional locally that the budgets of nearly all Boca Raton public schools get an upward bump in early September.

And again this year, the prospect of dividing just over $95,000 among the city’s 20-odd educational facilities drew nearly 300 people – most of them students or educators — to the Boca Marriott Sept. 13 for the distribution of funds raised by the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s Golden Bell Education Foundation. The money is handed out by Chamber officials at the September membership breakfast.

Since its inception in 1991, the Golden Bell Education Foundation has granted more than $1.5 million to Boca Raton public schools.

Guest speaker at the breakfast was Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald E. Fennoy II. He is the boss for the 11th largest district in the country with a student enrollment of more than 193,000. The annual budget exceeds $2.4 billion and the district is the largest employer in Palm Beach County with more than 23,000 employees.

Golden Bell Foundation money is used for items that are not paid for in the regular school budget, particularly books and special educational kits.  This year’s tally set a new record, with $95,342.15 going out for extra educational goodies for students in kindergarten to high school.

Schools receiving funds included A.D. Henderson/FAU High, Addison Mizner Elementary, Boca Raton Community Middle School, Del Prado Elementary School, J.C. Mitchell Elementary, Loggers’ Run Middle School, Olympic Heights High, Spanish River High, Sunrise Park Elementary, Verde Elementary, Waters Edge Elementary, West Boca Community High, Coral Sunset Elementary, Boca Raton Community High School, Sandpiper Shores Elementary and Calusa Elementary.

Also: Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, Omni Middle School, Hammock Pointe Elementary School, Whispering Pines Elementary School and Boca Raton Elementary.

Funding will be used for a variety of projects. A.D. Henderson/FAU High received money to purchase optical lenses for microscopes for WiFi individualized learning programs in science and medicine. The grant was underwritten by Therapeutics MD.

Don Estridge High Tech Middle got the money to purchase Chromebooks for high tech learning for all levels. Boca Elementary received funding to buy Fundation Kits and nonfiction reading books to improve literacy.

Sandpiper Shores Elementary will get math and reading curriculums for students with autism, science and social studies texts and a virtual reading coach program. Olympic Heights High’s Mojo 3D printer received funding for supplies.

West Boca Medical Center donated two hospital beds for Boca Raton Middle Schools’ pre-medical academy. The hospital’s CEO Mitch Feldman, a Chamber director, was present for the presentation.

Photographer Mike Gora provided a grant to the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s student Express Yourself program. Tim Snow accepted a donation for the George Snow Scholarship Fund that helps kids go to college.