Thank you to the many local businesses and individuals who helped to make this year’s Gala event a success!
Thank you to the many local businesses and individuals who helped to make this year’s Gala event a success!
If you were not at Saturday night’s SWSF dinner and auction, you missed a fun-filled evening! So make sure you’re there next year!
The fund total is still being tallied, but one thing is for sure: the evening was a success. Great music was provided by members of both the South Whidbey High School and Langley Middle School jazz bands.
There was also a silent auction of more than 30 items, a delicious dinner, an interesting and heartfelt talk by Fred Lundahl, teacher and student presentations, and a fast-paced and funny (what else?) after-dinner auction led by the ‘Conductor of Fun’ Jim Freeman.
The evening was topped off by a ‘heads or tails’ game of survivor for almost $1,000 in prize money. The game was hosted by School District Superintendent Jo Moccia, who sold almost 200 ‘dog tags’ for the game at $10 apiece.
We’ll post an update later in the week of the amount of money raised toward next Fall’s round of teacher-requested grants for innovative classroom projects and equipment.
Thank you to all the donors, supporters, and volunteers who made the evening so enjoyable.
Check out the more than 33 great charity auction items below which have been donated to benefit South Whidbey students via the South Whidbey Schools Foundation. Reserve your tickets today for the Saturday, May 18 dinner and auction (with local favorite Jim Freeman) at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club.
Order your tickets online at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/364655
Come and bid on these fabulous, locally donated items:
Georgia Gerber “Otter” sculpture [$650 value]
42” by 38” Silk soumak rug made in Tabriz, Iran from“Music for the Eyes” [$420 value]
Signed Gibson guitar, artists signed included Kenny Wayne Shepard who was playing with the Double Trouble band, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s old band ($400 value)
Landscape design consultation
1 day of expert carpentry work
Two-night stay at private Ballard condo near the Hiram Chittenden Locks and English Botanical Gardens on the Magnolia side
Art Quilt by Donna Taylor
Deception Pass Jet-Boat Tour for 2
Riding lessons w/Sarah Moulton [$160 value]
15 lb. packages of grass-fed local beef
UBG&CC Social Membership initiation fee
UBG&CC $500 Golf initiation Fee
2-Night stay at Boatyard Inn in Langley
1-Night stay at Pine Cottage B&B
$100 Gift Card from Les Schwab Tire Center
4 rounds of golf at UBG&CC
Personal training/PT sessions
6-month membership to Family Care Fitness
“Crab Feast Dinner” from the Wileys
$50 produce certificate to Quails Run Farm
$50 certificate from Bloom’s Winery
Gift certificate from Prima Bistro
Gift Certificate from Comfort Farms
Gift Certificate from Useless Bay Wines
$100 Gift certificate to Lind’s Pharmacy
Shirlee’s lemon meringue pie in a Sharon Warwick ceramic pie plate
$100 gift certificate from Payless Foods
Gift certificate from Pickles Deli
Microsoft Software “Suite”
$25 gift bag of Sweet Mona’s Chocolate
$25 gift certificate from Moonraker Books
Gift certificate from Harbor PT
Gift certificate from Ace Hardware
Hand-Made Wrought Iron Planter
Gift certificate from Joe’s Island Music
Home vent cleaning worth $135
It’s time to make your reservations to attend SWSF’s fabulous Gala Dinner and Fundraiser Saturday, May 18th, starting at 5:00 PM, at the Useless Bay Golf & Country Club to support classroom education grants for our kids!
This year’s guest speaker will be Fred Lundahl, a retired Foreign Service diplomat with more than 30 years working in American Embassies abroad, member of the South Whidbey School District’s Long-Range Planning Committee, and a local businessman. His keynote address is titled “If you can read this, thank a teacher”.
There will be live music, a no-host bar, a before-dinner silent auction, two reports from teachers Jeff Greene and David Pfeiffer who received classroom grants this past year, a student presentation by Maddy Jerome, and an after-dinner live auction hosted by popular local host Jim Freeman.
This event is for everyone who supports our local schools and wishes to help support the Foundation in its mission to provide innovative, teacher-funded classroom grants that promote educational excellence.
Dinner tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased online at
The dinner entree choices will include roast prime rib with au jus and horseradish sauce, grilled salmon with beurre rouge, and Portobello Wellington (a vegetarian entree). Each dinner includes a green salad with tomato, asiago cheese and balsamic vinaigrette or Caesar salad, chef’s selection potato or rice pilaf, fresh seasonal vegetable, and a fabulous chocolate dessert with after dinner coffee.
Just a few of the auction items that we are featuring include the following:
In response to shrinking School District funds, the South Whidbey Schools Foundation increased its total grant awards this fall from almost $19,000 last year to over $25,000 this year.
The grant awards were made to 16 educators for 19 learning projects at the District’s four campuses.
Foundation Vice President and Grant Committee Chairman Chris Gibson explained, “for the second year in a row the Foundation had its most successful fund-raising year ever. The generosity of our community has once again allowed the Foundation to fund innovative teacher projects that would otherwise not be possible due to a lack of district funds.”
Some of the projects funded include access to an on-line encyclopedia, magazine subscriptions for campus libraries, and several high definition video cameras. Others involve local artists working with students on projects in their specialty area. Music students at Langley Middle School, for instance, will once again have the opportunity to rehearse, perform and learn tricks of the trade directly from professional musicians who play the same instrument as they do. The Foundation also awarded over $4,000 to purchase various sensors for conducting scientific exploration at the Middle School.
Foundation President John Knox noted, “It was our best fund-raising year ever, and we’re very proud of that, but we also received funding requests that exceeded the funds available. As a result, we were unable to fund all grant requests, and not all funded requests received the entire amount requested. It was great news we could fund so many grants, but there is so much more we could do with the continued support of the community.”
The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a 501c-3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey School District. More information about the foundation, including a full list of the projects funded this fall and how to make tax-deductible contributions to support the schools, can be found at on the Foundation’s website.
A list of the 2012/2013 classroom grants can be found here.
South Whidbey High School Band teacher Chris Harshman and Elementary School Special Education teacher Robin Roberts were recognized for their outstanding efforts with awards from the South Whidbey Schools Foundation at end of school year assemblies in their respective schools.
Harshman received The 2012 Excellence in Teaching: Mentorship Award, based on nominations made by members of the high school graduating class for leadership, mentorship, and inspiration. Recent graduate Sidney Hauser wrote in her nomination of Harshman that “He is the most motivational and influential teacher I have ever had. He sees potential in everyone and encourages every to try hard and do what they love.”
In an April 2012 South Whidbey Record Hometown Hero article about Harshman, Hauser is quoted as saying, “Mr. Harshman is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He’s a teacher and so much more, life coach, friend, musician, parent and always young at heart. The belief he invests in his students gives us the motivation and encouragement to ‘raise our bar’ inside and outside of class. Although life can sometimes be as thick as red clay, Mr. Harshman always wants the best for us. For all we know, most of us would not be the people we have become without him, especially myself. There will never be another person like him. His love for music and life has rubbed off on me, and will rub off on anyone who ventures too close, so watch out!”
Hauser presented Harshman with the award and a $500 prize at the Senior Class Farewell Assembly at South Whidbey High School on Thursday, June 7, 2012.
Robin Roberts, a special education teacher at the Elementary School who has taught in the District for more than two decades, received the Foundation’s 2012 Extra Mile Award, a peer recognition award for a colleague’s efforts that go ‘above and beyond’ the expected.
“I worked side-by-side with Robin in Special Education and was impressed immediately by her work ethic, her compassion, and her commitment…She is always a strong advocate and always keeps children’s interest centered in the heart of everything she does…She spends an incredible amount of time preparing, planning, and individualizing instruction to make sure all students are getting the very best she can give them every day,” wrote teacher Val Brown in her nomination for Roberts.
Colleague Karyn LeWarne wrote, “Robin is an amazing, trusted colleague and friend and an even more amazing instructor of some of our most fragile and profound students in the Life Skills program at the Elementary School. A glimpse into her day looks like many little miracles flowing together to create a learning environment rich in creativity, diverse instruction, and complete love and acceptance for all the students she works with. She is incredibly organized and on any given day can tell you minute details about any of her students down to their family members and pet’s names.”
Retiring P.E. teacher Jan McNeely wrote, “I love going into her classroom and watching her interact with her kids…Her room is full of excite lessons, beautiful and creative art, and a good dose of a wonderful sense of timing and humor.”
Robin Roberts was presented with her $500 prize at the South Whidbey Elementary School Honor’s Assembly held June 13, 2012 at SWES. At the assembly each of her students also presented Roberts with a flower to make a beautiful bouquet.
In addition to recognizing District teachers, the Foundation presents annual grants for innovative classroom projects requested by SWSD teachers. Last year the Foundation gave grants totaling $19,000. At their May 19 Gala Fundraiser, the Foundation raised $18,000 toward grants for this next school year.
Once again South Whidbey residents stepped up for education, donating over $18,000 to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation at its annual Gala Dinner and Fundraiser held May 19 at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club.
The evening’s program included live music by the DBJazz combo, presentations by recent Foundation grant recipients, a keynote address by South Whidbey School District’s Superintendent Dr. Jo Moccia, and both a silent and a live auction. The money raised will help fund teacher-requested project grants in the 2012-13 school year.
Highlights from the event included a presentation by elementary school students who participated in a sustainability “Green Team” project, which was funded in part by a $1,000 Foundation grant. The students explained how they first assessed their school’s waste production, then devised ways to significantly reduce it. As a result, teacher Susan Milan, grant author and project leader, was selected as an honorable mention recipient for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. South Whidbey High School teacher Jeff Greene also gave a presentation on his two $1,000 SWSF grants and their impact on his students, which were the First Tech Challenge Robotics Club and a Digital Video HD Camcorder and Camera.
In her keynote address, Superintendent Moccia noted that it was exactly a year to the day since she had accepted the position with the district, and revealed she now feels fully acclimated to island culture, and loves it. Moccia explained her vision for making the district an “education destination”. Noting the unique opportunities the district offers students, such as the award winning music program, she believes there is an opportunity to attract more students as a way to off-set, at least in part, the general trend of declining enrollment. Moccia also thanked the Foundation for its efforts on behalf of the schools. (See separate video post of Dr. Moccia’s speech.)
Dave Haworth was recognized for his role as one of the organization’s founders in 1995 by a fellow founder and current Foundation board member, Jean Shaw. Both spoke briefly about the “early days” when meetings were held at kitchen tables and coffee shops, and they managed to raise a few thousand dollars each year to fund classroom projects. Both Shaw and Haworth said they are thankful that those early efforts blossomed into the Foundation’s current ability to fund close to $20,000 a year in teacher grants.
Foundation President John Knox and Gala MC noted how fortunate it is to have a community “consistently willing to step up for education, whether it is volunteering, attending school-sponsored events, or simply giving money.” Knox recognized event volunteers Sue Frause, who as auctioneer solicited $10,000 in donations during the live auction, and event organizer Becky Foote, who made sure the evening ran smoothly, as crucial to the Foundation’s success.
“Without people like Sue and Becky volunteering their time and talents, the Foundation would not be the effective and efficient organization it is today”, said Knox. He also extended his thanks to all the artists who donated to the silent art auction, Georgia Gerber, Rob Schouten, Gary Schallock, Don Wodjenski, and several student artists, to Mary McLeod who organized the art auction, and to the many organizations who helped sponsor the event; including Whidbey Island Bank, Coldwell Banker, One-to-One Personal Training, Family Care Fitness Center, Les Schwab Tire Center, Clinton Foodmart, The Goose Community Grocer, Ken’s Korner Red Apple, The Star Store, and Michael Gibson Wine Imports.
The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey schools.
South Whidbey School District Superintendent Dr. Jo Moccia’s keynote speech at the South Whidbey Schools Foundation Gala Dinner Fundraiser May 19 at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club.
June 4, 2012
This year South Whidbey High School science teachers Jay Freundlich and Greg Ballog are incorporating the study of alternative energy systems into their high school physics classes. As an adjunct to the classical physics curriculum, they are teaching students about the physics of energy production, including the study of energy usage, kinetic energy, solar and wind energy and how these systems can work together with traditional energy sources.
Thanks to a generous grant from Puget Sound Energy, augmented by funds from the South Whidbey Schools Foundation, Freundlich and Ballog were able to obtain needed energy monitoring equipment and a “human powered generator” for their classes. “We were very pleased to see the interest the students had in studying physics this year, and especially their interest in alternative energy” noted Ballog. Ballog also noted, “The PSE and Foundation grants helped us get equipment that will bring these studies to life for our students.”
Freundlich has had a long interest in alternative energy systems, and is excited about the opportunity to help his students understand these vital new technologies. He explained, “It is our hope that with programs like this, and especially with the support of the community and businesses like PSE, we can engender a real interest and curiosity in our students, encouraging them to continue to study and eventually work in the field of energy production and conservation.”
Walt Blackford, Community Service Manager for PSE, presented a check for $750 toward this grant to South Whidbey Schools Foundation Vice President Chris Gibson. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the South Whidbey Schools Foundation to create enhanced learning opportunities for South Whidbey students, especially in this field,” said Blackford. “Our energy future depends on developing bright young students and encouraging them to become scientists and technicians so that we can continue to improve our ability to generate and use energy wisely.” In accepting the grant on behalf of the Foundation, Gibson said “We are blessed with talented teachers like Jay and Greg as well as bright and interested students, and it is so important, especially with the budget pressure faced by our District, that resources to enhance the educational program continue to exist. Thanks to the generosity of Puget Sound Energy and the many members of the community who support the Foundation, we were collectively able to fill this need.”
The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey schools. More information, including information about the Foundation’s upcoming Gala Celebration on May 19th, can be found at southwhidbeyschoolsfoundation.org.
It’s time to make your reservations to attend SWSF’s fabulous Gala Dinner and Fundraiser May 19 at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club to support classroom education grants. This year’s guest speaker will be Dr. Jo Moccia, Superintendent of South Whidbey Schools, who will be speaking about the state of the school district and a vision to make South Whidbey Schools an ‘Education Destination’ …creating a place that is attractive to parents from other districts, which in turn would create opportunities for the SWSD students.
More than $13,000 was raised during last year’s Gala for the $19,000 that went to fund innovative teacher requested classroom programs for the 2011-12 school year. It’s time to again step up for the teachers and students for next school year.
The popular DB Jazz Quartet (Don Wodjenski, Dr. Bob Wagner, Dale Stirling, and Dan Gemano) returns to set a joyful tone during the 5 to 6 p.m. social hour. During this time, attendees browse and bid during a silent auction of student and community art works organized by art specialist, Mary McLeod.
SWSF President John Knox is serving as emcee and as in past years will introduce several classroom grant award recipients who will share student stories about the effect that the classroom project had on their academic and/or personal life.
Dinner choices include: either a vegetarian entree or a chicken breast with port wine glaze, topped with crispy leeks and served with wild rice, fresh seasonal vegetable, garden salad with balsamic dressing, and chocolate decadence for dessert.
Purchase your tickets on this website by clicking the link below, or by mailing a $75 check per ticket reservation to South Whidbey Schools Foundation / PO Box 24 / Freeland, WA 98249.
Corporate and individual sponsorship of tables is gratefully accepted. Please contact SWSF Vice President Chris Gibson for more information. Table sponsor levels are “Falcon” for donations of $1,000 and up (provides donor with two “free” dinner tickets and publicity), “Cougar” for donations of $500 to $999 (provides donor with 1 “free” dinner ticket and publicity), and “Orca” for donations of $250-$499 (provides donor with publicity).
Plan now to attend one of South Whidbey’s premier fundraising events which directly benefits students and teachers.