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Presbyterian donation to fund elementary learning

Photo of five people with a check

(left to right) Barringer Road Principal Jeremy Rich, Fisher Principal Fran LaPaglia and Barringer Road library clerk Cynthia Bechard accept a check from Ilion First Presbyterian Interim Pastor Ruth Kuo and church Elder Robert Robertson.

On Monday, March 16, 2015 the First Presbyterian Church presented Central Valley’s elementary schools with a generous check toward the purchase of books and other educational materials for the libraries.

Church Elder Robert Robertson is a member of the First Presbyterian’s Mission, Interpretation and Stewardship Committee. He said his committee seeks out opportunities to use church funds to continue the church’s work outside its walls. The committee had originally planned donate to Central Valley Academy, but redirected those funds to where they would have the most immediate effect on student learning.

Barringer Library Clerk Cynthia Bechard was especially thankful to receive the funds at this time of year.

“With this generous donation I am hoping to add items that the children and the staff have either suggested or requested since our annual funding was exhausted,” she said.

Among her bigger needs is to build a collection for prekindergarten students, who now attend full-day school.

“The donation will help supplement our collection of prekindergarten titles and hands-on teaching materials. As our new “patrons,” the prekindergarten students visit the library for scheduled library classes and sign books out. We need to address their needs now, too,” she said.

Fisher Elementary Principal Fran LaPaglia agreed the timing is perfect. Without the donation, she would be unable to make purchases until next year. Instead, the Fisher library will purchase new books at various reading levels that tie into the school’s character education program and to help with the school’s science fair.

“Fisher will hold its first science fair in May; a portion of this money will be used for books on science fair topics, as well as basic materials to enable more children to participate. Anything that invokes a sense of inquiry and curiosity will help our students development their critical thinking skills while having fun as they learn through discovery,” she said.

Barringer Road Principal Jeremy Rich said the church has supported the schools for the last 10 years. In addition to the monetary gift, the church provides the schools with backpacks filled with school supplies when school begins in the fall.

He said the church and its members are a living example of the positive traits schools teach.

“This is a model of true collaboration, school and community working together for a better tomorrow. What a great example of what we are trying to build in our students.

“The church’s generosity allows us to do things we would not otherwise be able to do. It has a very rewarding partnership between the church and the district to the benefit of this community’s children,” he said.