By Stephen Seitz
WOODSTOCK — The deadline is fast approaching for Woodstock area schools to get grants from the Woodstock Union High School Endowment Association.
The organization, which serves schools not only in Woodstock but also Killington, Barnard, Bridgewater, Pomfret, and Reading, is accepting grant applications through Oct. 15.
“We give grants out twice a year,” said Endowment Association board member Sarah Rasmussen. “We award anywhere from $500 to maybe $2,000, depending on the scope of the project and how many people they want to reach.”
One example Rasmussen gave was an $800 grant to a class in Killington Elementary School for the purpose of buying Keva blocks. These are stackable blocks which can be used to build complex structures (towers, for instance) in a broad range of styles.
To bring a speaker to talk about bullying at Woodstock Union High School, the organization came up with about $1,000 to cover the fee.
“The speaker was very well liked,” Rasmussen said. “He reached not only the high school, but the middle school and even some sixth grade leaders.”
Founded in 1986, the WUHS Endowment Association is an independent, non-profit organization whose purpose is “to promote excellence and opportunity for students and teachers in the local public schools. The Association raises private funds to support innovative programs which are beyond the scope of the school’s budgets.”
Each town served provides a board member. They include Rasmussen (Killington); Jane Blanchard (Reading); Bill Dagger, Ann Jones, Stephanie Torrijos and Christine Scherding (Woodstock); Denel McIntire (Bridgewater); Cory Smith (Pomfret); and WUHS principal Garon Smail.
“The first step would be for whoever is interested in applying to meet with a board member from their town to see what we can do,” said Rasmussen.
According to a written statement, “The goals of the association include encouraging and rewarding imaginative teaching; stimulate innovative programs that benefit the largest number of students and teachers; enrich the students’ educational experience and to foster cooperation between communities and schools.”
Applicants can include teachers, school administrators, students and members from those communities served by the association.
To fund the grants, the organization invested the funds it raised back in 1986, and grants are made from the interest. That does not mean the Association has unlimited funds, however.
“Money is tight,” Rasmussen said. “We’ve been living off the principal, but we’ll need to do some fundraising in the near future.”
The spring application deadline is March 15.