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April 29, 2009 > Foundation helps students, teachers succeed

Foundation helps students, teachers succeed

By Miriam G. Mazliach

New Haven Schools Foundation's "Pathways to Success" program recently awarded $60,000 to 74 high school seniors at its annual Scholarship Luncheon.

"We hope to raise an additional $15,000 from the luncheon to add to the foundation's general fund," Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle says.

Founded in 1981 by former New Haven Superintendent Guy Emanuele, the foundation's main purpose is to enrich students' and teachers' experiences through scholarship opportunities, community involvement and educational enrichment. The foundation was established to provide funding for co-curricular programs.

California State Sen. Ellen Corbett presided over the luncheon, where Emanuele received recognition as "Founder of the Foundation." The First Annual Guy Emanuele Community Service Award was presented to Art Kuhlmann for over 20 years of involvement with the foundation and the school district community as a whole.

Over 50 event sponsors provided scholarships for students of the two district high schools, James Logan and Conley-Caraballo. Some 12,000 applications were received this year. Selection was based on financial need, academic excellence or personal circumstance. Along with applications and transcripts, students were required to include letters of support from teachers, counselors or community members. Scholarships ranged from $300 to a top award of $5,000, donated by Masonic Homes of California.

Besides "Pathways to Success," the foundation also supports the "Project Enrichment" and "Innovation in Education" programs.

Through "Project Enrichment," $500 mini-grants are given yearly to five district teachers. Funds are used to enhance extracurricular activities - such as band, color guard, afterschool sports and clubs - as well as co-curricular areas that include tutoring, performance, choir and many more.

This is the third year of "Innovation in Education," which distributes mini-grants up to $500 to classroom teachers to help implement "creative ideas." Budgeted at $6,000, this program is funded by interest earned from an endowment.

After many years under the umbrella of the school district, the New Haven Schools Foundation became a separate entity in November 2007. Tri-CED Community Recycling in Union City generously donates office space to the Foundation.

"The Foundation had been stagnant," Aro-Valle states. "Now we are rebuilding after having undergone strategic planning, and we have a new, active advisory board. Our Board President, Phil Crosby, has done an excellent job of getting the board to step up and do more to increase our fundraising efforts and raise even more money to plug the holes created by budget cuts."

Hoping to continue its student scholarships and programs by increasing fundraising levels even further, the foundation will host the Performing Arts Center opening at Logan High School. Individuals can purchase an engraved tile to be placed into a "Wall of Fame" at the center's entrance.

To support the efforts and programs of the New Haven Schools Foundation, visit www.nhsfoundation.org or call (510) 471-3850.

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