WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) — The Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation (WASDEF) recently awarded two grants totaling $4,379 to support programs at both Williamsport Area Middle School and Williamsport Area High School.
A $1,500 grant from the foundation’s Teacher Mini-Grant Fund will support an educator-in-residence program in the visual and theatre arts departments at WAHS, facilitated by teachers Andrea McDonough Varner and Marie Fox. The grant will fund a series of workshops led by local storyteller Rachel Bush. Bush will work with students on developing and refining students’ storytelling abilities that they will then express through their respective discipline, all of which will culminate in recorded performances and 2D visual artwork.
“Students have an intense need to feel engaged, connected and heard right now,” McDonough Varner said, “and this project will give theatre and visual art students a platform that is supported by caring adults that value their stories.”
Additionally, a $2,879 grant from the foundation’s Annual Fund will support improvements to the middle school’s television studio. The grant will expand and enhance the functionality of the studio space with new video editing software and production equipment, bringing the seven-year-old space more up-to-date with a broader range of capabilities. It also will increase knowledge and hands-on skill development for students who may have an interest in related career industries.
The enhancements also are supported by a $2,700 grant from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania through Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) donations received from Citizens & Northern, First National Bank of PA, M&T Bank, UPMC Health Plan and Woodlands Bank.
“The WAMS TV studio provides an extracurricular outlet for seventh- and eighth-grade students to improve their writing, public speaking, technology and leadership skills,” said teacher Robert Rook, who oversees the operation of the studio. “These experiences have been invaluable to middle school students over the past seven years, and encouraged many to continue in the drama and TV productions classes available at the high school.”
“We’re proud to support these two efforts that will bring added value, experience and opportunity to student learning and skill development,” said WASDEF Executive Director Greg Hayes. “We’re thankful for those who support the education foundation, which enables us to continue to provide these opportunities, and for WASD partners, like the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, which helps to deliver more of an educational impact through EITC donations.”
WASDEF is a recognized nonprofit affiliate of the Williamsport Area School District. The education foundation facilitates charitable giving and permanent legacies based on individual areas of interest in educational innovation, the arts, athletics and scholarships. For more information, visit www.wasdeducationfoundation.org.