By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Twenty local schools and a Boca-based scholarship fund received nearly $60,000 from the Golden Bell Education Fund at last month’s Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Founded in 1991, the Chamber’s education foundation, known as Golden Bell, is a non-profit corporation created by the group’s board of directors for the sole purpose of supporting the Boca Raton public school system and administrating educational programs that promote the development of business skills.
During its 25 years of giving, the organization has contributed $1.3 million to supplement school district funding, Chamber President and CEO Troy McLellan said at the Sept. 8 event. He noted that for the past nine years, the city of Boca Raton has also been a contributor to the foundation.
Bluegreen Vacations was the sponsor of the Chamber’s September breakfast. Wendy Poe, the company’s chief customer officer, addressed the gathering on behalf of the firm.
Also speaking at the event was Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, who presented an overview of the local education system.
He noted that the county district has “one of the highest percentages of A- and B-rated schools among the larger districts in Florida.” Boca Raton “is one of the strongest areas.”
He singled out Boca Raton Elementary School for raising its ranking from a C to an A after several years of hard work.
The superintendent praised the Chamber and the Golden Bell Fund for helping to purchase necessary items for students. He pointed out that teachers generally spend between $1,000 and $1,200 “out of their own pockets” to buy education-related items for students.
The breakfast concluded with the distribution of the following grants:
A.D. Henderson University School, Sherry Bees, principal; $509 for reading labs and $1,300 for blue blocks from Imagination Playground.
Addison Mizner Elementary, Kelly Mills Burke, principal; $3,000 for Reading Plus program for students in grades 2-5.
Boca Raton Charter School, Louise Nelson, principal; $2,050 for LEGO Education Elementary STEM kits.
Coral Sunset Elementary School, Danielle Garcia, principal; $3,000 to purchase literacy-based books and materials for the Red LLI kit.
Del Prado Elementary School, Rachel Capitano, principal; $300 to purchase bilingual blocks for all ESOL students.
Hammock Pointe Community Elementary, Stephanie Cook, principal; $2,585 to purchase a hydroponic garden system for all students to have a hands-on experience. The money will also be used to purchase nonfiction books.
J.C. Mitchell Elementary, Joan Pierre-Jerome, principal; $1,600 to purchase a school-wide site license for the “Flocabulary” computer-based program.
Sandpiper Shores Elementary School, Stephanie Coletto, principal; $2,895 to purchase Fountas & Pinnell Select Collections and Genre sets for reading intervention and $3,000 to help more than 200 students with mentor texts.
Sunrise Park Elementary, Alicia Steiger, principal; $2,550 to purchase classroom libraries from Blue Planet series.
Verde Elementary, Seth Moldovan, principal; $2,740 to purchase Fountas & Pinnell Green Systems Kit.
Waters Edge Elementary, Joshua Davidow, principal; $3,000 to create 50 classroom STEAM resource kits.
Whispering Pines Elementary, Barbara Riemer, principal; $3,000 to purchase Reading Plus program.
A.D. Henderson University Middle School, Sherry Bees, principal; $300 for supplemental intervention reading program.
Boca Raton Community Middle, Peter Slack, principal; $700 for library of fiction and non-fiction books, and $1,800 for five raised gardening beds for student to get hands-on experience.
Eagles Landing Middle, Cindi Chiapetta, $1, 500 for 10 STEAM student sets.
Loggers Run Middle, Francis Giblin, principal; $2,750 for final pieces of equipment needed to create a fully operational forensic/biotech lab.
Boca Raton Community High, Dr. Suzanne Kim, principal; $2,500 to purchase a dji quadcopter (drone) for NJROTC aeronautical engineering team.
Olympic Heights Community High, David Clark, principal; grants of $1,500, $2,525 and $1,525 to purchase LCD digital microscopes and annual subscription to Testing and Educational Reference Center.
Spanish River Community High, William Latson, principal; $4,000 to purchase breeding systems and stereomicroscopes with camera/microscope software packages to breed, study and test hypotheses using a zebrafish model organism.
West Boca Raton Community High, Craig Sommers, principal; $1,470 to renew subscription to Testing & Education Reference Center.
Golden Bell also donated $5,000 to the George Snow Scholarship Fund, a charitable effort that benefits students who cannot cover the cost of furthering their education.
By: Dale King Contributing Writer