ORR to boost humanities, introduce archery through Lighthouse Fund grants
Karen Horan was at home when an email hit her like an arrow.
Horan, a physical education teacher, screamed at her husband in elation. It was clear: archery was coming to Old Rochester Regional Junior High School.
“I was totally excited,” she said. “I’m pumped.”
The message was from the Lighthouse Fund of the Old Rochester Tri-Town Education Foundation, a non-profit endowment which supports public education grants for faculty, administration, and students throughout the area.
Horan received a $2,300 grant to start an archery program, one of four grants supported by the foundation for junior high and high school programming this spring.
Her program is exclusive to seventh and eighth graders. When she later told an eighth grade class about the program next year, the students were disappointed. “Aw, we’re going to high school,” she described the doleful group. “We’re not going to get it.”
Out of the grants, it’s expected to impact the most amount of students: 500 total. Other contributions from the group — impacting 50 to 110 students — will fund music and drama programs along with a push to revitalize the school.
Drama teacher Paul Sardinha received a $1,000 grant to boost professional development programs in the ORR Drama Club. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
One of four winning applicants, English teacher Kathy Brunelle received $2,000 from the foundation to create hanging artwork systems mounted throughout the hallways. Depending on the total cost of materials, some of the grant could make up for previous revitalization expenses.
Brunelle was inspired by other hanging artwork projects after a visit to Falmouth High School in Cape Cod. Like Falmouth, each project will showcase student works.
Hanging artwork is one of several efforts pushed by Brunelle and a faculty committee this year to breathe new life into the school. As part of the “beautifying” project, students and faculty have used bulletin boards more frequently, cleaned display cases regularly, and showcased more artwork.
Brunelle, a longtime faculty member at ORR, said the recent push makes up for identifying marks lost in 57-year-old high school after a major renovation over a decade back.
“Everything is wonderful, but we kind of lost the personality of the school,” she said.
‘Sound of Music’
Music teacher Richard Laprise last winter drafted a grant proposal to bring a professional musician ORR’s way. But he’s hoped to do this long beforehand.
Had the proposal failed, Laprise would’ve pushed to bring in a unpaid volunteer or pay for a professional through fundraising.
“I’m just saying that there are things that can happen here because of the support to really make it something that is really special that people from outside of our community can look in and say ‘wow, that’s an impressive music education that’s happening,” said Laprise.
Now with $1,000 from the fund, Laprise plans to bring a professional from a local college or orchestra for a rehearsal, performance, and clinic with the students.
Regardless of the performer ultimately selected, requested funds will cover remuneration for the musician and sheet music.
The professional musician will perform alongside junior high students playing “Trumpter’s Lullaby” and “Carnival of Venice” at ORR’s annual winter concert in December.