North Middle School educators will have supplies to make their science, technology, engineering and mathematics farm more of a reality.
Foothills Federal Credit Union representatives July 31 pulled up to the front of NMS with fencing supplies in tow.
Items worth $6,772.36 included Red Brand sheep and goat fencing, green steel fence posts, galvanized steel fence T-posts, wooden fence posts, fence staples and a steel carport that will be converted into a shed for storage. Fencing will help cover about two acres.
Copy paper was also donated.
“They had reached out to offer that they do this for schools, they kind of rotate who they’re going to give donations to and they reached out about school supplies and we explained to them that our biggest need right now is just some material for our STEM class, that that’s a program we’re trying to grow,” Jodi Lowery, NMS principal, said.
“They offered to donate supplies and financially to help us grow our STEM program and our farm that we’re building, which we’re hoping will be available to not only our school but Eaton Elementary and the community as a whole,” she added. “So this means a lot to us because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to start it so early in the school year.”
FFCU has contributed $47,362.42 in supplies in eight years.
“When we first started this eight years ago it was paper, pencils, glue sticks, crayons, and we just started with the whim of what they needed,” Angela Spence, FFCU representative, said. “Then we started going to the schools and asking them, ‘What do you need?’ Then it’s transpired into the things that the teachers can’t buy for their classrooms because they’re on such a minimal budget and they have to use their money.
“It’s to help them educate the children so they will be better for our future, because they are our future,” she added.
Amanda Watson, also with FFCU, noted that each school has a different need.
“Elementary schools, you’re going to need crayon and markers and hand sanitizer, that type thing, but for middle school I think the needs shift,” she said. “You don’t really need crayons, you don’t really need much of those supplies that younger kids would need and I think that this is a way for children to learn that’s kind of outside of the classroom.”
NMS has about 60 staff members, including 43 teachers. Lowery said items donated for the STEM farm will benefit everyone at the school.
“I think all the staff members will benefit because they’re all going to get to bring their students out here and be part of it, be part of helping just like today everybody was ready to run out,” she said. “They’re all excited about the farm. When we had the baby chickens, everybody was in there. Even our English classes would walk through just to try to take part. The kids have really taken ownership of it and have made it part of a big family kind of just welcoming the animals.”
Watson is uncertain which local school will benefit next year.
“We haven’t done the high schools,” she said. “We donate to the high schools in a different way as far as sports, different things that they have going on, so we don’t really do the school supplies drive for the high schools. We may just start over. I don’t know what we’re doing, we’re not sure. ... We hope to keep doing it, I mean it keeps getting more interesting.”