With the rising standards for education and Florida recently adopting the state-led Common Core State Standards, more technology is being introduced into the classroom to keep students successful and competitive for college and the workplace.
Even so, there are fewer dollars every year for public schools. Principals and teachers have embraced innovative ways to raise money, including using crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Donors Choose.org.
One New Port Richey charter school turned to a more community-based alternative: holding a golf tournament. Various levels of sponsorship were offered to family and Pasco businesses and in return, those individuals or teams were able to compete in a golf tournament at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club put on by Athenian Academy of Pasco.
“We were looking for different ways to raise more money and everyone said golf tournaments were the way to go,” said Athenian Academy Principal Fern Aefsky.
So last December, under the lead of ESE teacher Melissa Mangino, teachers, students and parents started planning the tournament, which took place Saturday, May 18.
Money was raised by selling tickets to the tournament and to the dinner, which was made possible by donations from local restaurants. Each grade level, from kindergarten to the eighth grade, made a gift basket to be raffled off at dinner.
Kim Lewis, a kindergarten teacher, said the event made her proud to work for Athenian Academy. More than 80 golfers registered, many of whom had no association with the school.
“I like this event because it brings the community out, not just people who come to our school,” Lewis said.
Lewis helped register golfers and sign them in the morning of the event. Several other teachers and students also helped with the ticket line.
“This is really unique,” said 11-year-old Allison Pounders. “I love the idea of a golf tournament.”
Bryana Spannagel, a 14-year-old student, gave the speech during the dinner and told golfers and volunteers how much the teachers cared about the students and how the money raised would go toward digital cameras, iPads and smart boards for the classrooms.
Aefsky said community service is built into the curriculum and having students participate in the fundraiser was more than just getting new gadgets for the classroom, it was about being proactive in their education.