E-S Primary, Elementary receive business recognition

by Doug Sands

The Eleva-Strum School District has kept true to its dedication to excellence in recent weeks, according to recent recognition by a trio of area businesses. 

Through these establishments, the district received funds that have gone toward improving programs at the primary and elementary schools in the district. 

The first recognition the school received was an educational grant given by the local ExxonMobil station. Principal Marty Kempf said in 2013 he was contacted by the energy company in an email notifying him the school was being considered for the $500 grant to go toward science and mathematics development in young classrooms.

Months later, Kempf was notified that the Strum Primary School had been selected as the recipient. 

“I was pretty excited about that as a principal,” Kempf said. “[An] ExxonMobil [representative] came over and presented a $500 check to be used to improve our math and science programs in our school. This year, we were chosen by the Osseo ExxonMobil gas station.”

The international ExxonMobil Company gives out grants like these through its individual stations. Stations across the nation distribute grants to help improve math and science programs in American elementary schools. The representative who presented Kempf with the check explained that a number of current employees had students in the Eleva-Strum District, and she hoped to contribute to their overall education.

“It’s nice to know businesses are thinking about our local education,” Kempf said of receiving the grant. We can always use new manipulatives. Things that you can do with your hands. It could be anything from apps for their iPads to tangible-type manipulatives that they actually physically work with. We are always looking for new manipulatives with our science program.”

The official plan for the grant will be drawn up after Kempf meets with the staff at Strum. 

“I’ll have a discussion with our staff to see if there are other needs that are more specific than that,” he said. 

In Kempf’s eyes, the grant will probably be used on the science program rather than mathematics due to the cost of running the schools’ science program. 

“If you’re doing a science experiment, you might have to replenish your stock of materials,” he said. “Educational materials have a tendency to cost a little more. You’re always buying in bulk: it’s not just one workbook, but it’s a group of workbooks. It’s not just one set of scale weights, but a group of them.”

The staff at the school held great gratitude to ExxonMobil of Osseo for awarding them the grant. They hope to make the best investment with the grant to provide a greater education for their students.

The district, as a whole, recently received a second recognition from a pair of businesses in the Eau Claire area for their “Christmas from the Heart” program. WEAU 13 News teamed up with Gordy’s County Market looking for a local school program that was making a difference in their community. After much consideration, these two businesses chose to recognize the “Christmas from the Heart” program in the Eleva-Strum district.

“Christmas from the Heart” is a program that has been making Christmas special for Intermediate students in need since 1998. The goal of “Christmas from the Heart” is to provide Christmas cheer for families who cannot afford to do so themselves. 

Around the holiday season, students in the Intermediate school bring home a letter from the school, asking the child’s family if they need financial help to put on Christmas that year. The children of these families are given wish lists asking what they would like for Christmas. These requests find themselves anonymously posted onto a paper heart ornament, which in turn are placed on a Christmas tree that stands near the Intermediate School’s entrance. Students, staff and community members can take hearts off the tree to purchase gifts for children in need.

Last year, 27 families in the Eleva and Strum communities found help with this program. The community generously helped support these families with presents, turkeys and Christmas trees to bring joy to their holidays.

For their great efforts, this program received $3,000 worth of box tops from WEAU and Gordy’s County Market. “We collect box tops here at school,” said Kempf. “What we received was a stack of flyers; each flyer was worth $25 in box tops. There were enough flyers there for $3,000.” The box tops were clipped and sent into General Mills.

“As a school district, it’s exciting to have that support,” Kempf said of both the grant and the box tops. “It’s positive for the students within the district. It’s really nice to have those types of things happen so we can make people aware that we’re doing some good things here. The support is great from the businesses in the community as well.”

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Sands has been a student writer and contributor for nearly two years. When not writing for the newspaper or taking classes at Eleva-Strum, Sands can be found taking part in a nearby musical production or reconstructing the past with friends in history club. Follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page for more updates!

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