Foundation announces theater arts grant for Peninsula schools

A Gig Harbor business woman’s non-profit foundation has pledged $4,000 a year to support theater programs through the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation, the organization has announced.

The pledge came from Paige Schulte of Windermere Professional Partners, who said her non-profit Chelsea Paige Foundation will partner with the PSEF to fund grants for performing arts in the Peninsula School District, such as after-school drama clubs and on-site theatre productions.

“Theater is one of the most inspiring ways for young people to learn invaluable life skills,” Paige said. “They learn about teamwork and creativity, and they build self-confidence through public speaking training.”

Schulte made the announcement at PSEF’s annual fundraising breakfast and lunch Sept. 26, at which the group raised more than $50,000 to support students, teachers and programs in the district.

The breakfast and lunch attracted more than 250 people, including local civic and business leaders, school administrators, and teachers, who entered through a giant Lego arch at Canterwood Event Center.

“Education foundations pick up where taxpayer funding leaves off,” said the featured speaker, Robin Callahan, past executive director of the National School Foundation Association. “They reflect the values and priorities of their community.”

Dr. Art Jarvis, acting superintendent of Peninsula School District, gave an update on school construction.

Two teachers who won educator grants last year showed the results of their work.

Carlyn Hanson Smith from Artondale Elementary presented the “Wonder of Robotics” featuring a live demonstration by two 3rd-grade students, and Keith Garton from Kopachuck Middle School talked about his “Red Sky” project in which students design, build and launch rockets.

Garton showed videos of several rocket launches, including one that failed. “It is all part of the learning process,” he said.

Since its inception in 1995, PSEF has provided over $750,000 to support students, educators and schools in Peninsula School District. The nonprofit funds classroom innovation grants, support for special-needs programs, high school scholarships, Hands on Art experiences at all elementary schools and an annual STEM workshop for middle-school girls.