Marshwood Education Foundation exceeds $100,000 in grant awards.


Marshwood Education Foundation exceeds $100,000 in grant awards.

When Marshwood Education Foundation’s Prize Patrol surprised their Fall Grant recipients last month, they reached a milestone of exceeding $100,000 in grants awarded to MSAD 35 schools located in South Berwick and Eliot, Maine.

MEF has now awarded 39 grants totaling $101,493.  “This is a great milestone for us because it shows that Eliot and South Berwick residents and area businesses understand what we are all about.  We are lucky to have a community that is so supportive of our students & teachers.” said MEF President Seth Herbold.

The Fall grant cycle awarded 4 grants to three different schools in Marshwood school district.  The first stop was Eliot Elementary where they surprised Music Teacher Bryan Bergeron-Killough with a $5000 grant for the “Sticks and Stones” project.  With this project, Artist-in-Resident, Jeff Irwin and Skip Burnette, will provide a week-long workshop to students and staff at EES teaching students tools and strategies to address bullying.  “The MEF continues to be a tremendous resource for our school,” said Bergeron-Killough. “Jeff Erwin’s amazing program will impact the children of the Eliot Elementary for years to come,” he added.  Jeff Erwin of Trashcan Lid Productions describes the residency as “taking a creative, performance-based approach to addressing the important issue of bullying.”  A previously awarded MEF grant made the “Sticks and Stones” program possible for Central School in South Berwick, and was a huge success.

MEF members received an added bonus during their stop at Eliot Elementary when they discovered a program funded by a previous MEF grant award, was taking place in the gym that week.  The “Similarity Awareness” grant was awarded to Guidance Counselor, Christine Bisson, this past Spring.  Through the MEF Grant and NEP, the students at EES were able to experience first hand, through indoor wheelchair play, the importance of sportsmanship, having fun and athleticism devoid of ones’ specific abilities.

“The Similarity Awareness program through Northeast Passage (NEP) gives students in grades Pre-K through 3 the opportunity to learn that disabilities are a part of their community and society, and should be respected and supported, not just tolerated,” said Bisson.

Chandler Bullard, Program Specialist from Northeast Passage, was at Eliot Elementary School all week, exploring similarities of all people, regardless of disability. The students and staff played Chimichanga, a wheelchair game similar to dodge ball. MEF Vice President Hilda Howell said “It was fun, entertaining and very educational! Many thanks to Chandler and the Eliot Elementary staff for organizing such a great learning experience for our students.”

The Prize Patrol then went to Marshwood High School to award Music Teacher, David Graichen, a grant for “Instrument Tutoring.”  With this $2000 Grant, the band director will bring in local professional musicians to teach students individually on their instruments.  Graichen looks forward to fostering relationships between students and musicians and providing guest conductors to lead the band.  “I am very grateful and excited about the opportunity being given to my students by the MEF.  As a music educator I know a lot of things about many instruments but I do not know all of the finer details and nuances.  This grant will give my students a chance to study and learn these things from experts on their instruments,” said Graichen  “Thank you so much MEF for giving me this opportunity!”

The last stop for the MEF Prize Patrol was Central School where they awarded 2 grants to Music Teacher Kate Smith.  The first grant for “A Land Without Borders: Central School Students as Citizen Scientists,” was for $1200.  The school will purchase an outdoor antenna to enable students the ability to monitor the outdoor classroom environment. This two phase project taking place in 2014-15 will involve current Central School second graders.

Kate Smith is looking forward to sharing this grant with students.  “Central School is thrilled to receive this grant!  We will be purchasing an outdoor antenna to bring wifi to our outdoor classroom,” she shared.  “This will enable us to be citizen scientists, collecting digital data for scientists and naturalists from around the world with help from USM professor,  Dr. Jeff Beaudry. Of course, this is just one of the ways the wifi will be used! Be on the lookout for interactive Storywalks, Quests, QR codes and more! Many thanks to MEF for supporting innovation and excellence in our schools!” She added.

The last grant awarded in MEF’s Fall’s grant cycle, “Transformative Media: Sustaining Marshwood Media- Year Two”, was awarded to Mrs. Smith and Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the Coruway Film Institute.  With this program, which is a continuation of a previous MEF grant, Staff and Students will work together under mentorship of Bill Rodgers to create student produced broadcasts and documentaries that capture school and community events.

“I am excited to continue working with the entire Marshwood School District to present terrific educational work reflected in media,” said Rogers. “Giving students and educators a way to create and present their voice, their own view of their own education is a forward thinking and bold venture, and one that Coruway Film Institute is proud to be part of, and thrilled to be partnering with Marshwood Education Foundation. The fact that MEF has extended their support to a second year reflects that this community is confident and excited with us that students’ and educators’ work needs to be seen and known. We are thrilled to be a continuing part of Marshwood Media,” adds Rogers.

Marshwood Education Foundation congratulates all of its Fall Grant recipients, and thanks community members and businesses who support MEF and help raise funds to enable MEF to continue to award wonderful, innovative grants such as these benefiting Marshwood Schools and their students.

Marshwood Education Foundation is currently offering Trellis Awards, which are often given as gifts for teachers, coaches and mentors. The tax-deductible gift of any amount may be given, honored recipient’s name will appear on the MEF website, and teachers and other recipients will receive a certificate from MEF to inform them of the Trellis gift given in their name. For more information and to purchase a Trellis Award for those special educators in your life, please visit the MEF website at:

The MEF is now accepting applications for the Spring grants with a deadline of April 15th, 2015. For more information on how to submit a grant application, contact  Kate Doherty, MEF Grants Committee Chairperson

The Marshwood Education Foundation was established in 2009 as a non-profit corporation, wholly dedicated to enriching and supplementing the educational programs of the Maine Regional School Unit 35, representing the communities of South Berwick and Eliot. The MEF raises money primarily through community fundraising events and private donations and has granted more than $100,000 to Marshwood School District, funding creative and innovative ideas brought forth by school administrators, teachers, staff and parents. To learn more about MEF or to donate online, visit

mef kate mef david mef gym mef ees

Comments are closed.