The Lake Washington Schools Foundation received record-breaking support at its May 1 “Legacy for Learning” fundraising luncheon, raising over $216,000 to ensure academic success for all Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students. The event also broke an attendance record, with 562 parents, event sponsors, school district staff, and other community members enjoying lunch and speakers at Juanita High School. Corporate support for the event also reached a new high, with 24 sponsors from industries such as construction, healthcare, aviation and high tech, including 9 new companies.
Luncheon proceeds will support LWSD’s innovative Signature Programs, launching in high schools in the fall of 2013 and 2014. These rigorous, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) - based programs will give high school juniors and seniors opportunities to tackle real-world problems while also exploring career options.
LWSD Superintendent Traci Pierce explained why the new program will meet both students’ and the community’s needs. According to Pierce, who quoted a Microsoft whitepaper on STEM, “There is an urgent demand for workers trained in the STEM fields, but there are not enough people with the necessary skills to meet the demand and to help drive innovation.” She went on to say, “We want every high school student to find high school relevant and engaging, and we want to help connect students with the options that await them after graduation.”
Redmond High School’s (RHS) Signature Program will focus on global health and medicine. RHS teacher Greg McDonald described how related English, social studies and science material will be combined in a three-hour class in order to give students a comprehensive experience. He went on to explain how students will benefit from interacting with health professionals. “Through guest speakers, site visits, and collaboration between students and professionals in the field, our Signature Program will give students not only the scientific background, but also knowledge of the challenges in providing medical care both globally and locally.”
Luncheon donations will also help struggling students feel confident and cared for through the LINKS (Looking Into the Needs of Kids and Schools) tutoring and mentoring program, provide Reaching for Success grants so that students have extra help and activities that inspire them, and support the Access Fund, which allows students in need to fully participate in middle and high school. A short video highlighting the impact the foundation made on schools this year is available online.
Finn Hill Middle School student Ian receives weekly math help from his LINKS tutor, Bryan, whom he credits with boosting his math grade from a ‘C to an ‘A.’ According to Ian, “If I didn’t have Bryan’s help, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now, and I wouldn’t be in such a good place.”
This successful event was made possible thanks to the work of community volunteers, event sponsors, PTA members, school district staff, foundation trustees, and over 60 table captains who helped fill the room with advocates for kids and education. All Lake Washington students benefit from such strong community support.
For more information about the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, please contact Development and Operations Director Katrina Freeburg at (425) 936-1414, Info@lwsd.org, or visit www.lwsf.org.