PHS Foundation issues grants

PARKERSBURG – Members of the Parkersburg High School Foundation and PHS Principal Pam Goots came to classrooms bearing gifts Tuesday morning – grants totaling more than $18,000 for technology requested by teachers.

The grants are presented annually by the foundation, a private organization that raises funds to support the academic mission of the school. The grants are awarded based on of impact the funds will have on students, said Sue Steinbeck, a retired PHS math teacher and member of the foundation.

“We use the phrase ‘bang for the buck’ – how many students are going to be involved? Is it year-round?” she said.

About 80 students are expected to benefit from a grant to fund the purchase of new equipment for the graphic arts program.

“I’m so excited,” graphic arts teacher Michele Binegar said multiple times after Steinbeck handed her a letter confirming the award.

“This will be our large-format printer, guys, and our scanner,” she told her students.

Combined with a donation of 30 computers Binegar secured last year, the new equipment will give the school “pretty much everything we need for a beginning graphic arts program,” she said.

Five teachers were on the receiving end of funding to purchase some of the equipment needed to establish a weather station at the school to allow students to track temperature, barometric pressure, rainfall, wind speed and more and apply it to various lessons in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“I think it’ll be a good experience for the kids,” said technology education teacher Mike Kimble, whose room was the first one visited Tuesday by Goots, Steinbeck and foundation Vice President Candace Jones.

Kimble said the impromptu presentation caught him off guard.

“I had no clue,” he said. “I was blindsided.”

That wasn’t the case for Mary Wright, chairwoman of the math department, who had received a foundation grant before.

“At that point, I knew what they were coming for,” Wright said of the group’s entrance into her room.

Wright’s grant request for 20 advanced TI-Nspire calculators was funded. They will be used in classrooms where older calculators are starting to fail.

“It was exciting to know that I’m going to get the calculators we really do need,” she said.

Math teacher Earla Meek also received a grant for 20 of the calculators. Wright said that means 11 of the school’s 14 math classrooms will now have them, and the ones from her grant will be used among the remaining three.

Fellow math teacher Bobbie Gelpi received a grant to fund the purchase of a system to use with the calculators. The system will collect data from students’ calculators and share it with the teacher’s computer, Steinbeck said.

Meanwhile, business teacher Charlie Gesell and journalism teacher Anna Papania received a grant to partially fund creation of a student television station. Papania said she hopes to see it start as a club and eventually grow into a class.

Steinbeck declined to release individual grant amounts, but the award totalled was $18,093.11.