L to R: Alice Huyser, Julie Greene, Darcy Wilkin & Dave McEntyre
Good ideas are common. What is uncommon are people who are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to make good ideas a reality.
Last March Julie Greene, a PE teacher at Fennville Elementary had a good idea: to apply for a $25 thousand grant from the Pepsi Cola corporation. The grant money would be used to enhance educational and fitness opportunities for Fennville Elementary students. Julie enlisted the support of three of her colleagues, Darcy Wilkin, Alice Huyser, and Dave McEntyre, elementary teachers for art, music and computers respectively. The team embraced the idea and worked together to make the idea a reality.
Grant applications to Pepsi had to include specifics as to how the grant money would be used. These were posted on Pepsi’s web site and the public was invited to vote for the ideas. Winners would be selected from those whose ideas received the most votes from the public.
With the grant competition on a national level and countless schools participating, many would have doubted the likelihood of our elementary school in our small town having any hope of winning. But win they did, by the team employing a massive public relations campaign to get people to vote for their idea. The four teachers campaigned outside our community and collaborated with other schools across the nation. Rules of the grant competition permitted collaborative efforts on the part of the participants. We voted for ideas other schools posted and they voted for ours. The entire campaign took almost ten months of effort on the part of our four elementary teachers.
The $25 thousand payoff for their hard work will come this month. Plans are to spend the money as follows:
$10 thousand for netbook computers
$6 thousand for playground and fitness equipment
$9 thousand for music, art and PE supplies
Our chamber joins with our community in thanking Julie Greene, Darcy Wilkin, Alice Huyser and Dave McEntyre for their commitment to our school and our children.