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LHSEF commits to support 13 grants during 2016-17 school year

The Lemont High School Educational Foundation has committed to supporting 13 grants for nearly $44,000 for the 2016-17 school year. Grant proposals were submitted by Lemont High School faculty and staff, with the goal of enhancing educational opportunities for the school’s enrollment of more than 1,400 students.

The LHSEF is funding 13 Educational Foundation Grants - in full or in part - for a total of $43,674, with a stipulation that the funds provided for the projects must be used during the 2016-17 school year. 

Included among the 2016-17 Educational Foundation Grants are the following proposals. 

  • An Evening Out
  • Breakfast Buddies
  • Digital Design Tools
  • Discipline Free Dance
  • ExcelEdge Prep Scholarship Program
  • Lemont Quarries ROV Research
  • LegSim
  • Link Crew/Peer Mentoring
  • Picture This - Phase IV
  • Poetry Slam
  • Success Breeds Success
  • Water Field Testing

Photo gallery of grants ceremony

2016-17 Educational Foundation Grant Summaries

Lemont High School teachers submitted 15 proposals for grants, requesting more than $86,000. Since 2007, the LHSEF has supported more than $350,000 in grants to benefit Lemont High School.

A primary reason the LHSEF has been able to provide such significant support to Lemont High School is the success of the “Food for Thought” series. For nine years, the “Food for Thought” celebrations have drawn large crowds of enthusiastic supporters. However, the two most recent “Food for Thought” events have drawn an average of more than 1,500 supporters to downtown Lemont, making them the most well attended events in LHSEF history.

The LHSEF already is gearing up for its next “Food for Thought” event, which will take place in downtown Lemont on September 10, 2016. Ticket information will be available in the summer. “Food for Thought” once again will be a family friendly event open to all ages and will feature a number of local food and drink establishments.

The LHSEF provides revenue and support to Lemont High School in order to enhance educational opportunities and enrich the overall experience for its students. It operates independently from the school, yet fosters the district’s ongoing and systemic efforts to attain the next level of success in all areas of a comprehensive education for all students.

The LHSEF’s mission is to partner with the community to make lasting improvements to Lemont High School that will enhance the total educational experience for all of its students. Its desire is to fund and support programs and opportunities that aid students’ growth, both academically and as citizens of the Lemont community. The LHSEF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization; all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent provided by the law.

2016-17 Educational Foundation Grants

“An Evening Out”
Funded at $1,000 — proposal by Krissy Bergles & Joan Browning

Socialization becomes more independent for students as they grow older, but social independence is more difficult to attain for students with disabilities. Attending after school events, or recreational events in the community, requires assistance, supervision and transportation. This grant will help students with intellectual, developmental and/or emotional disabilities become familiar with school events and learn appropriate social behaviors in a public setting. Students who participate in extra-curricular events - ranging from athletic events, to school dances, to community activities - have a more positive outlook on their education. This program helps students with disabilities improve their social skills, making them more comfortable in their community.

“Breakfast Buddies”
Funded at $2,100 — proposal by Krissy Bergles & Joan Browning

Giving a chance for special needs students and their mentors to regularly come together, Breakfast Buddies is held before school on Wednesdays and attracts dozens of students weekly. Students with disabilities gain confidence and acceptance, helping to make them feel more a part of the Lemont High School community, while their peer mentors gain expertise in working with individuals with disabilities of all kinds and are given college recommendations based on their work. As this program has progressed, many of the peer leaders involved have begun pursuing careers in Special Education or Social Work, and some of those alumni have returned to visit the program and discuss its importance within the school’s climate.

“Digital Design Tools”
Funded at $8,045 — proposal by Matt Davis, Scott Duensing & Ryan Hennebry

Lemont High School’s Woods Technology classes create hand-crafted pieces that are featured throughout campus. This grant will fund the purchase of a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Router – a computer controlled cutting machine that can be used with a variety of materials. Instead of routing by hand, tool paths are controlled by computer. Using this tool helps reduce wasted materials, frequency of errors, and the time needed for projects to be completed. Utilizing such tools in the classroom is motivating for students, and helps bring principles of algebra and geometry to life. In addition to being used in Woods Technology classes, the CNC router also will be helpful in the construction of theater sets.

“Discipline Free Dance”
Funded at $1,000 — proposal by Brent Gagnon & John Kennedy

The Discipline Free Dance is an annual event that serves as a reward for Lemont High School students who consistently demonstrate the ability to make the “right” choices. This much-anticipated, invitation-only event not only provides an incentive for students to make good decisions, but has a tremendous impact on the school’s climate and culture. This grant will underwrite a portion of the cost of the 2017 Discipline Free Dance, including the DJ and prizes for the attendees.

“ExcelEdge Prep Scholarship Program”
Funded at $3,250 — proposal by Denise Dalton

This grant will provide financial assistance for students who have the greatest need to attend the ExcelEdge prep course prior to the college entrance exam testing cycle during their junior year. Students who wish to take the course but are unable to afford it (as evidenced by a fee waiver or participation in the National School Lunch Program) will be provided the opportunity for partial- or full-tuition scholarships for the cost of the course.

Funded at $250 — proposal by Rob Hammerschmidt, Jodi Nye & Rick Prangen

This grant will provide all Lemont High School seniors the chance to participate in “LegSim” – a Web site that offers all of the features students need to organize and operate their own legislation simulation. American Government teachers will collaborate to customize how the simulation is implemented. LegSim will be designed as a capstone activity for all American Government students, as they are provided with a realistic perspective on the legislative process. Each student will play the part of a member of Congress, which will include writing, proposing, amending, debating and voting upon legislation.

“Lemont Quarries ROV Research”
Funded at $5,000 — proposal by Erin Horan

The fields of science and engineering continue to intertwine, and teachers are challenged to provide students with authentic research experiences. This grant will help purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can be used for research. The quarries in Lemont are generally unresearched, but using this ROV, students will be able to uncover important findings about the quarries for years to come without needing to enter the water of the quarries. Data collected from the use of the ROV will be incorporated into the curriculum for all levels of science classes. Students will be provided with a true STEM research experience, gain a greater understanding of the quarries, and have the opportunity to collaborate with local researchers.

“Link Crew/Peer Mentoring”
Funded at $1,420 — proposal by Denise Dalton, Cara Franta & Jeana Parry

The Link Crew is a transition program that makes new students feel at home throughout their first year on campus. A previous grant covered the cost of training, which will allow for the program to be implemented in Fall 2016 and continued for years to come. This year’s grant will cover the costs of implementing the program during the 2016-17 school year. Link Crew turns over some of the freshman transition and transfer orientation responsibilities to upperclass students, which builds leadership and ownership among the students themselves. The Link Crew will build community, connections and compassion among students.

“Poetry Slam”
Funded at $1,150 — proposal by Sara Armbrecht & Phil Lazzari

This grant will provide Lemont High School students with a unique opportunity to see a poetry slam in their own backyard. Marc Smith, founder of the poetry slam movement, will give an evening performance and engage in a question-and-answer session with students and faculty. He will help those in attendance bring their words to life, inspire them to share their voices, tap their creative potential, and express themselves in an effective, meaningful way.

“Picture This - Phase IV”
Funded at $1,500 — proposal by Ryan Hennebry and Megan Idell

Previous Educational Foundation grants have funded cross-curricular projects that have merged various disciplines with art and computer aided design (CAD). These projects have resulted in hallways throughout the building being filled with the best student artwork. Connections between school work and the outside world allow students to appreciate the arts, cultures, creativity and imagination. This grant will extend the project to additional areas on the second and third floors.

Funded at $2,500 — proposal by Michael Beranek, Scott Collins, Monica Johnson & Tim Leffler

Previous Educational Foundation grants helped establish the “STEM WOW!” project, which brings together special education and general education students in the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) topics. This grant will help that program, which has generated national recognition for its innovative approach, to continue to thrive. General education students benefit by providing coaching and mentoring to their peers, while special education students receive instruction through hands-on activities while working on real-world problems. Faculty members partner with students to develop the curriculum, which is utilized in the “Extended School Year” program and then continued the following year.

“Success Breeds Success”
Funded at $15,000 — proposal by Erin Hitchcock & Kathy Young

Lemont High School is exploring a one-to-one learning environment in which each student would have his/her own device to utilize in the classroom setting. Previous grants have helped jump-start the school’s one-to-one pilot program, and this grant will fund the purchase of a set of classroom Chromebooks that will be used in Integrated Math III classes. The use of Chromebooks in Integrated Math II has not replaced worksheets or textbooks, but instead has permitted students to learn with techniques that were not possible in previous years. Students in Integrated Math III will have that same opportunity in 2016-17 and beyond.

“Water Field Testing”
Funded at $1,459 — proposal by Karen Aleman

Students enrolled in Field Ecology or AP Environmental Science are involved in water quality testing in local lakes and streams, as they examine organisms living in the stream and chemical analysis of the water. Previous grants helped establish this curricular activity, and this grant will allow for the continuation of this hands-on learning opportunity.