Parents' Association Awards Grants

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Lori Ponn P’17,’18,’19

One of the Randolph-Macon Parents’ Association’s cornerstone projects each year is to fund faculty grants.  Any member of the R-MA faculty/staff may submit a grant application for up to $1,000 for consideration. Teachers are typically looking for projects and equipment to enhance learning in their classrooms.  Teams and clubs also often submit requests for equipment that their budgets do not allow.

On average, the PA receives four to seven applications per year, and it is able to fund approximately three to four of those requests.  The number of approvals may fluctuate in any given year due to the number of applications received, the amount of money currently available, and the merits of each individual request.  Preference is given to those projects or ideas that benefit the most students and whether it is a sustainable item or project as opposed to something that is a one-time use or disposable.

This fall, there was an overwhelming number of grant requests submitted to the PA for review - 19!  Each one was worthy of consideration, and a volunteer committee of parents worked over Thanksgiving break to review and rank all applications.  Following a tremendously successful used uniform sale in August, the PA was proud to be able to fund ten grants this year, totaling just under $10,000!  Grants are being provided this year for the following:

*The Aerospace Department was awarded $1,000 to put towards the purchase of padded flooring for their largest classroom.  Cadets do physical training indoors during extremely cold/inclement weather, and the padded flooring will be safer for them.  In addition, the drill teams are planning to practice in this same room, and the hope is that there will be fewer rifles damaged as a result of dropping.  The department is also planning to purchase cross-training equipment (weights, medicine balls, etc.) for use during PT.  This past summer, TSgt Tina Laing, USAF, Retired, was also awarded $1,000 as the Teacher of the Year recipient, and this money will be pooled with the PA grant to complete the purchase.

*R-MA Middle School teachers were the recipients of two $1,000 grants.  Both grant winners are new to Randolph-Macon this year!  Mr. Ballard, who teaches English and history,  requested document cameras for use in the classrooms.  The cameras allow pages from books, maps, and other “hard copy” materials to be projected and seen by the entire class.  This allows for more interactive lessons and cuts down on the need for paper copies of materials that are only needed briefly.   Dani Clingerman, the new R-MA science teacher, submitted a request for a plethora of science lab equipment, experiments, online resources, and other hands-on materials that will serve to make her classes fun and enhance information recall. 

*The Upper School Science Department is receiving grant money for three important resources.  The Trout Farm in Crow Hall is already up and running!   Students raise trout from eggs to eating size (they don’t actually eat them - they will be released this spring!) as they study life cycles and environments. Physics students will now have several sets of instruments to do lab testing on principles of projectile motion.  The hands- on experimenting with projectiles will reinforce the advanced concepts and formulas that they are learning in the classroom.   The chemistry department will be getting an autoclave.  Autoclaves are high-temperature pressure chambers used mainly for sterilizing equipment in laboratories.

*The Yearbook staff has been awarded money to purchase one new camera and three high-quality zoom lenses.  Currently, the yearbook students share two cameras, and the addition of one more will allow each person more access to the equipment needed to meet their deadlines!  The zoom lenses should allow higher quality photos of events around campus.  Every student receives a yearbook at the end of the year.

*In an effort to make R-MA “greener,” and more resource-efficient, a water bottle refilling station was requested for Stan Fulton Hall.  It was noted that the majority of students have water bottles in class; however, refilling them at the school water fountains or in the sinks is cumbersome due to the orientation of the spigots; it is time consuming, and wasteful and messy because of the amount of water routinely spilled onto the floors.  The refilling station allows a very quick refill of filtered water in an upright position, reducing time, mess, and waste!

*The Athletic Department received a grant for $755 for the purchase of a portable scoreboard.  The scoreboard can be used indoors or outside and will be available for use by both middle and upper school athletic teams. This resource will be particularly helpful during contests such as soccer where there is not currently a permanent scoreboard.  In addition, the Middle School and Upper School will each also be getting an iPod nano to fill with age-appropriate, clean music to be played during practices and warm-ups. 

*The PA helped fund a speaker secured by CMSgt Mary Gamache, our college counselor, earlier in the year.  Peter Van Buskirk is a well-known speaker throughout the country, and he speaks to high school students and their parents about the “college admissions game.” Our students gained valuable and insightful information about how to choose the university where they most belong, prepare a winning college application, and hopefully get accepted at the school of their choice. 

All of the Parents’ Association projects, including the grants, are funded entirely by our used uniforms sale and concessions!