Foundation funds create motivation for learning

HANCOCK — The Hancock Public Schools Foundation (HPSF) has dispersed hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships since it was organized 31 years ago.

In grants alone, the HPSF disperses more than $120,000 per year for various materials, equipment, computer equipment, and programs, said HPSF President Dave Dow. The foundation also provides funding for school improvements.

“Most of this is for enhancement of our school district,” said Dow. “Especially for children. Different venues that allow the signage that we’re about be doing, and the gymnasium that we’re going to be doing, just enhance the looks of the school, and how the children see differently. Instead of just a concrete wall, maybe some kind of art on it, so it improves the image that we want now.”

Superintendent Kipp Beaudoin said last year the foundation expanded funding in the area of Career and Technical Education scholarships.

“Typically, when we look at scholarships, we look at four-year university-type scholarships,” said Beaudoin, “and the scholarship foundation has been expanded to represent all students. That allows the student to go in directly into the workforce with workforce skills.”

Karyn Ruohonen-Rudak, a teacher in the school district, praised the HPSF recently on social media. Without the foundation, she said, there would be little or no technology in the school system.

“In my classroom, the foundation has granted a Promethean board, a sound bar for the board and iPads for use in the classroom,” she stated.

The foundation has also provided tablet carts for classroom use, computer labs and laptops for teachers.

The computer labs, updated programming, software programs and Paavola Wetlands programs are just a few of the areas where the foundation has provided funding, Beaudoin said.

“I believe that some of the teachers have written grants in the past for projects there were supported, and those are supported,” he added.

Dow added that the English Department wanted an outdoor space where classes could be conducted, and the foundation funded the space.

“It’s a place where the students can go, and sit around outside in the environment,” Dow said, “and it’s very valuable.”

Beaudoin said that because of the HPSF, the high school has what he believes is the only functional metal foundry in the Upper Peninsula.