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Foundation enriches Fredon schools

Posted: Apr 18, 2012 11:00 PM EDTUpdated: Apr 21, 2012 11:01 PM EDT
 
Photo by Amy Herzog/New Jersey Herald - Fredon Township School’s Drama Club rehearses “Seussical The Musical.” The club is one of the recipients of funds from the Fredon Educational Foundation. This school year the funds have risen to more than $23,000.
Photo by Amy Herzog/New Jersey Herald - Fredon Township School’s Drama Club rehearses “Seussical The Musical.” The club is one of the recipients of funds from the Fredon Educational Foundation. This school year the funds have risen to more than $23,000.

By JESSICA MASULLI REYES

jmasulli@njherald.com

FREDON — When the Fredon Educational Foundation was started five years ago, it raised $1,800, but now the educational fund has grown to $23,000 this year and is supporting at least a dozen after-school clubs and activities.

"They really took it somewhere that we couldn't have imagined when it started," Fredon Township School Superintendent Sal Constantino said.

Over the last few years, educational foundations that financially help public schools have become increasingly popular. In Fredon, the idea sprang up five years ago to have a foundation with a seven-member board of trustees.

"At the time, school budgets were getting very challenging," Constantino said. "And, there were things we wanted to provide the students."

The trustees have grown the presence of the Fredon Educational Foundation especially over the last two years. In 2009-2010 the foundation raised $15,000 and in 2010-2011 it raised about $15,500. This school year the funds have risen to more than $23,000. This can all be spent on activities and programs in the schools, according to the foundation co-chair, Sharon Ward.

"We've been lucky this year to not turn anyone down," Ward said.

Grants from this year have included: Environmental Club, Brain Pop/Brain Pop Junior educational website, Trep$, Intro to the Musicial, Harry Potter Book Club, Newspaper Club, Spanish Club, Homework Help Club, NJ ASK NOW math program, Spring Walking Club and Drama Club.

"I've been pleased that we can (have) these programs," Constantino said. "We just couldn't support the costs of these clubs (without the foundation)."

All of these activities and clubs touch a large portion of the 330 students in the Fredon School District. The Harry Potter Book Club has become especially popular with more than 75 students in third to sixth grades. These students not only read the Harry Potter series as part of the club, but also participate in potion making sessions, wand duels, Quidditch classes and other Harry Potter theme events.

The Drama Club also is able to perform "Seussical the Musical," a play based on the books of Dr. Seuss, in June because of the foundation's funding. While the club received many of the props and scenery from Newton High School, which just put the play on, other funding was needed for supplies, licensing costs and books.

These clubs go through an application process so that the board of trustees can determine if the funding is available. The foundation holds several fundraising events throughout the year to raise this money, such as the Gala Silent Auction at the Mohawk Country Club that recently raised $14,000 in March.

The foundation also has a spaghetti dinner, Zumbathon, 5K run, annual giving campaign and seeks corporate grants. This week the foundation is holding a Toy and Clothing Drive for the third year where people can drop off used toys and clothes at the school. The foundation usually earns about $500-$900 and gets 17 cents per pound for the toys and clothes.

The foundation also sometimes joins with the Parent Teacher Club, which also raises money but for different events in Fredon.

"The foundation's events are fundraisers to support the school and after-school activities," Constantino said. "We've seen both organizations coming together."

Both organizations also have "extended our reach into the community," Constantino said, adding that the fundraisers often engage people who are not connected to the school in Fredon.




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