To commemorate two decades of supporting local school students and educators — and to help fund more of their projects in the future — the Sequim Education Foundation (SEF) is hosting a virtual silent auction set for April 30-May 2.
All proceeds benefit SEF and the organization’s Teaching Grant program that helps educators provide creative solutions to their classroom needs.
SEF executive director Merissa Koller Williams said the organization weathered the COVID shutdown fairly well, but that it remains committed to helping teachers and students where it can.
“It’s been a tough year in the sense of instability in the district (and) not really knowing how we can help,” she said.
“Largely we’re trying to be pillar for students and staff,” she said, and that means continuing to fund SEF’s annual teacher grants and scholarships.
“What students and staff really need from us right now is to be there right something they can count on.”
Among others, SEF’s auction items include:
• one-week stay as a lighthouse keeper at the New Dungeness Light Station
• $500 gift certificate to Sanctuary Day Spa
• portable pickleball set from CRTC
• Paint and Sip Event with BZ Zabora
• 18 bottles of wine from Wind Rose Cellars
• guided canoe trip on the Dungeness River with John Bridge
• authentic Latin meal by Anita Benitez
• handcrafted flute by Dave Toman
• oil change, car detailing from Price Ford
• one-night stay at John Wayne Marina
• four handyman services hours from No Job Too Small
Check the SEF website (sequimeducationfoundation.org) and Facebook page (facebook.com/sequimed) for a link to the auction.
“Hopefully we just recognize that education is on the forefront of everyone’s mind right now,” Koller Williams said. “We are a vessel for their efforts.”
SEF was founded in 2001 to address the financial gap between state funding and the needs of Sequim School District. The foundation’s goal, representatives say, is “to promote local support of education, as strong public schools are critical to a thriving, successful community.”
Foundation representatives partner with Sequim School District to identify needs, set goals and measure progress, and partner with parents, interested citizens, civic and religious organizations, and businesses by offering opportunities to be involved as well as funding support educational programs.
The foundation seeks to fund programs and events that promote post-secondary education and career readiness for students.
Since 2001, SEF’s teaching grant program has awarded over $168,000 in grants to local educators.
Recent grant projects
In 2019-2020, SEF funded a High School Music Lab at Sequim High School. The goal, teacher Joe Sullivan noted, was to establish the music production lab, with music production software, MIDI keyboards, headphones, microphones, audio interfaces and instruments.
SEF also helped fund the FarmBot program — a robot that on a garden box that can be programmed to plant seeds, monitor plant growth, destroy weeds, water plants and provide frequent updates on the crops, including letting used know when it’s ready for harvest. The goals of this project were to promote integration of computer science and technology across various disciplines, seeking to expose more non-traditional students to the field and encourage collaboration among agriculture science, robotics and computer science students.
The foundation supported students in other realms of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers by providing travel funds for the Health Occupations Students of America conference, covering costs to attend the yearly national conference for students pursuing bio-medical careers – a diverse field including a range of occupations from nursing to disaster preparedness, SEF representatives said.
SEF also backed a program at Greywolf Elementary School staff effort to combine literature and technology, looking to improve students’ reading and comprehension skills.
Read Naturally allows teachers to set reading levels and fluency goals for students as well as monitor comprehension and vocabulary, but students are in control of the stories they get to select.
The goal of the project, teachers say, was to provide an additional reading intervention for students who did not meet the reading fluency benchmark standard on building and/or classroom-based reading assessments which is a targeted area of growth for second grade.
SEF also funds Family Reading Night, and event designed to promote literacy by exposing families to a variety of fun, interactive, literacy-based activities for every level of student. A secondary goal is to ensure that each student goes home with a new book that inspires him/her to read. The event traditionally draws about 500 attendees.
Contact the Sequim Education Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 360-680-3061 for more information.