More than 500 attendees turned out Friday morning to support the Foundation for Edmonds School District in raising an estimated $127,000 during its annual breakfast Friday morning at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites.
Featured speakers were Cole Johnston and Meghan Park, both Mountlake Terrace High School sophomores who are active in the Technology Student Association (TSA), the largest STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) organization in the U.S. Foundation donations support STEM education at Edmonds School District high schools, along with numerous other programs district wide.
Johnston, who serves as president of the MTHS TSA chapter, thanked those attending the breakfast for supporting STEM programs. “TSA has opened many doors for me and has become part of the fabric of my family,” said Johnston, who noted that his sister was also active in TSA while she attended MTHS.
“Your support of the foundation today will have a lasting impact on the students of tomorrow,” Johnston said.
Park, who is vice president of the MTHS TSA chapter, said that TSA “has gotten me more interested and driven as a student and club member.” Although she’s only a sophomore, Park said she already has chosen her career path: “I want to be a neurobiology researcher and I want to go into academia because of the teaching events I do in TSA,” she said.
During remarks to attendees, Foundation Executive Director Deborah Anderson highlighted several foundation milestones and projects. One of them was the purchase — thanks to generous community donations — of a cargo van for use by the Foundation’s Nourishing Network, which provides weekend meals to more than 200 district homeless students weekly.
The foundation also provides a summer meal program for students who received free/reduced-price lunches during the school year. This summer, it will be piloting a program at South Lynnwood Park in partnership with the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Department and the Edmonds School District’s Move 60 program. “Our goal is to feed as many kids as we possibly can over the summer and keep them as active as possible,” Anderson said.
The foundation is also piloting a Whole Families, Whole Communities program this year that focuses on a variety of initiatives, both inside and outside the classroom, to ensure that Edmonds School District families can acquire the necessary skills to be able to support themselves. That, in turn, will ensure better outcomes for students, she noted.
“Our academic enrichment programs are doing a great job of lifting our students up,” Anderson said. “Now we want to lift up the families so that they are both lifted at the same time.”
One example: “Teaching our parents how to advocate for their students in the classroom and also teaching our teachers how to help their parents advocate for their students,” Anderson said. This will include a new after-school study program to teach parents how to help their children with their homework.”
The foundation also supports post-secondary scholarships, and plans to award $120,000 to $130,000 in scholarships this year. And it provides school-wide classroom grants, last year awarding more than $51,000 to that program. Another area of foundation support is music enrichment. Through a partnership with the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club and the Edmonds Jazz connection, the foundation last year provided small group instruction to more than 380 students.
“We’re super proud of this work and this work is possible because of you,” Anderson said. “Thank you for caring so much about families’ lives.”
— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel