MEC awards 33 Strengthening Schools grants

CASSOPOLIS — The Midwest Energy and Communications prize patrol surprised 33 teachers in January with grant awards from the 2020 Strengthening Schools program. Grants are funded with partnership dollars from Wolverine Power Cooperative, MEC’s power supplier.

Carmelita Beeching, the administrative assistant at Lawrence Elementary School, was one of the grant recipients.

“Midwest Energy and Communications has been a great supporter of our school district in many ways,” she said. “I was awarded $500 to replenish our Tiger Care Closet, which offers gently used clothing, shoes and personal care products for our families. This is going to be a huge help for the parents in our district. We are so glad to have a great relationship with a local company that values community.”

This was a record year with 120 applications totaling more than $235,000 in requests, MEC officials said. Co-op customers Pauline Giacobone, of Schoolcraft, Janene Ogrin, of Decatur, and Dave Owens, of Marcellus, comprised the grant committee, reviewing applications and making award determinations without knowledge of the school, district or community.

The following grants were awarded during the 2020 cycle:

• Addison Elementary School, $284 for Science Technology Engineering Art Math supplies

• Bangor Middle School, $854 for teacher laptops

• Centreville Elementary School, $1,500 for microscopes

• Colon Jr./Sr. High School, $1,220 for blackout classroom shades to prevent the sun from washing out displays on the class whiteboard

• Compass Learning Center, $800 for a sensory board

• Decatur Public Schools, $500 for Special Education Program coffee/snack cart

• Eau Claire Middle/High School, $1250 for college visit field trip

• Gobles Middle/High School, $1,117 for circuit building equipment

• Lawrence Elementary School, $500 for CARE closet that provides clothing, shoes and healthcare products for those in need

• Lawton High School, $750 for yearbook cameras

• Lawton Middle School, $750 for laptop cart and chargers

• Marcellus Elementary, $2,400 for intervention materials for reading and writing

• Marcellus Elementary, $500 for Science Technology Engineering Math supplies

• Mattawan Early Elementary, $326 for display bookshelf, books bins and book bags

• Mattawan Later Elementary, $135 for charger cables and boost cubes

• Mattawan Later Elementary, $1,500 for iPads

• Mattawan Middle School, $500 for beekeeping supplies

• Paw Paw High School, $995 for a classroom response system that provides instant assessments and feedback on students’ responses to interactive questions

• Paw Paw Middle School, $272 for greenhouse equipment

• Portage Northern High School, $750 for soft-cover children’s books for the Book Buddies student organization to donate to children living in a local women’s shelter

• Portage Northern High School, $1,800 for Real Care Baby replacements

• Redwood Elementary School, $1,000 for classroom library books and headsets/microphones for use with Chromebooks

• Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School, $305 for 40 copies of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

• Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School, $300 60 copies of Bull Run

• Sam Adams Elementary, $750 for STEM supplies

• Schoolcraft High School, $1,200 for a soundboard

• Three Rivers Middle School, $1,500 for a Holocaust Memorial field trip

• Van Buren Intermediate School District Behavioral Education Center, $1,000 for safe sensory room items

• Vicksburg Middle School, $800 for the environmental/recycling club

• Vicksburg Middle School, $926 for supplies for special education and resource rooms

• Volinia Outcomes School, $600 for science textbooks and supplies

• Volinia Outcomes School, $1,000 for Community Emergency Response Team  training for students

• Watervliet High School, $2,000 for a table saw