Pioneer Class of ’80 steps up, starts new ed foundation fund

Oct. 1 is deadline to apply for AAPSEF teacher grants

Apply for teacher grants now
What: Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation 2010-11 Teacher Grants
Where: Visit: to download an application and instructions.
Deadline: 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1. Applications due in a hard copy format (no electronic submissions) to: Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation 2555 St. State St., Ann Arbor, MI  48104.
Notification: Grant funding will be announced on Oct. 22.


From AAPSNews Service and the AAPS Educational Foundation

Alumni from Pioneer High School’s Class of 1980 got a real kick out of their 30th class reunion this year.

They raised money for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation by selling athletic shoes designed especially for the class. The project gave them not only a purple-and-white memento of their time at Pioneer, but chance to help their alma mater.

The shoe design carried an insignia of “80/30/10” which followed the reunion slogan: “80 does 30 in 10.” (Class of 1980, 30th reunion, in the year 2010.)

Class member Art Rogers and reunion committee chairs Eric Jensen, Kathy (Rouse) Masinick and George Helmke came up with the idea to tie in a classic Chuck Taylor high-top shoe with the teacher grant fund that will be earmarked for special education classrooms.

Rogers, who works in sales for Massachusetts-based Converse, said  because it was the milestone reunion, organizers thought the shoe would be fun to do and a way to contribute. Rogers has a nephew with special needs who attends Forsythe Middle School and the donation for special education seemed like a good way to earmark the money.

He said although he lives in Boston, all of his family still lives in Ann Arbor and he was happy to see his class give so much to help the foundation and the district.

The $30 specialty shoes were sold at alumni events from July 23-25, paying for the shoe production and allowing for a $5-per-pair donation to the AAPFEF fund. With shoe sales and other donations, the group was able to present a check for nearly $3,000 that was used to start the “Pioneer High School Class of 1980 Fund for Special Education;” grants of up to $1,000 can be awarded.

Rogers said he hopes that other Ann Arbor graduates might consider contributing to the fund to keep the grant opportunities going. “It’s really there for everybody to donate to it,” he said. “We’ve got to keep the fire stoked.”

Applications for the grant take place during the regular teacher grant process, which is going on now. The deadline to apply for 2010-11 teacher grants through the foundation is Oct. 1.

AAPSEF Executive Director Wendy Correll said although the foundation did not directly approach the alumni for donations, she was pleased to have them offer to help.

“They wanted to give back,” she said. “We found a way for them to make a significant contribution and have an impact. It was their idea to do something for special education classes.”

Many of the alumni have moved from the area, so the project reached out to other parts of the country and world, she added.

The Pioneer alumni grant is one of seven categories now listed on the AAPSEF application. General grants are funded for up to $1,000. Correll said teachers applying for grants can check any or all categories that apply to their project. Paper grant applications must be delivered by 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1 to the AAPSEF office to be considered. Visit here to download an application and instructions.

Correll said the foundation is seeing more and more special education staff applying for grants as resources for programs in the schools dwindle due to budget cuts.

As a side note, Correll said the foundation is beginning to reach out to others in the Ann Arbor Public Schools alumni community. With seed money from the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the foundation has set up a website and plans to officially launch it this fall.

The password-protected site is for alumni, parents, faculty and friends of Ann Arbor’s public high schools. Correll said she expects it to be used for alumni to reconnect, plan reunion events, and learn about what is going on in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

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