By Lisa Carolin
This year’s Chelsea Education Foundation gala is coming up soon, on Monday, March 18, from 6-9 p.m. at the Common Grill.
It’s a great opportunity to learn about being a part of a local foundation that provides funding to the Chelsea schools.
“The Chelsea Education Foundation recently recommitted to funding only Chelsea school district projects,” said CEF President Lynn Fox. “The grants to teachers in the district support and supplement the educational opportunities that are not available within the current budget of the Chelsea school district. We currently are not able to fully fund all of the grant requests. With the generous support of the Chelsea area community and extraordinary sponsors like Howdy Holmes and Chelsea Milling Company (Jiffy Mix), Jeff Klink, Clark Construction, the Common Grill and many others, we hope to be able to fund more grants during the 2019-2020 school year.”
Chelsea High School’s Independence Hall is one of the many beneficiaries of CEF funding.
“It’s a high school program for ninth through twelfth-graders that helps student access general education curriculum as well as learning to be independent in life,” explained CHS Special Education teacher Katy Fillion. “Independence Hall was started more than 30 years ago by Nancy Cooper.”
The life skills taught through Independence Hall include cooking, cleaning, personal management, budgeting money, hygiene, being able to navigate the community, and learning social skills.
CEF pays for Independence Hall students to take community based field trips to see cultural programs.
“CEF pays for programming at the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society, which offers world class music, dance, and theater,” said Fillion. “It’s a way to teach students about appropriate behavior in a theater, how to dress, and how to make choices. It’s a chance to expose them to the arts and let them practice what we’ve been learning.”
Funding from the CEF pays for ticket fees and for transportation that can cover anywhere between seven and 24 participants. Earlier this month, Independence Hall students had the chance to see Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.
“When so many schools are cutting out the arts, it’s important that Chelsea has this,” said Fillion. “The more exposure kids have to these performances, the more likely they’ll be to go to them as adults. It’s nice to work in a district that sees the potential of our curriculum, and the CEF gives us the opportunity to expand our students’ horizons and prepare them for life after high school.”
Tickets for the gala will be on sale through Wednesday, March 6, and seating is limited to 150 persons. Tickets, which include a plated dinner, wine and beer, a live auction, and musical entertainment, are $100 per person and can be purchased at chelseaeducationfoundation.org.