Auburn Chamber Awards Mini Grants

by | Nov 11, 2014

Jeff LaBonte

The Auburn Chamber of Commerce has awarded nearly $3,000 in mini grants to help fund 13 separate school projects.  According to Chamber liaison Eleanor Houbre, “We were able to fund at least one project from every school in the system this year.”

The Auburn Chamber Mini Grants are distributed through the Chamber’s School-Business Partnership Program.  Teachers from any of Auburn’s six public schools and Bay Path Regional are eligible to apply for the grants.  The grants are made for amounts up to $250.

“This program is designed to support the development of innovative teaching ideas and increase student motivation and enthusiasm by providing funds for instructional experimentation and enrichment activities” says Houbre.

The School Business Partnership Committee is comprised of 21 members representing a mix of business leaders and school administrators.  The committee reviews all of the applications, scoring them based on a set of established criteria.  Applications are evaluated based on the project’s creativity, how it will benefit students, how the project would enhance the existing curriculum, the number of students impacted, and whether the project is ongoing or a one time event.



Says Committee Chairperson, Owen Russell of Central One Federal Credit Union, “There are so many great ideas, you wish you could fund them all.”  Committee member Karen Blais from Millbury Federal Credit Union agreed, “It’s very difficult to choose the winners.  All the ideas are worthwhile.”

In the past, grants were presented at the Chamber of Commerce November breakfast meeting.  This year, the Chamber tried a new approach in awarding the grants.  Members of the School Business Partnership Committee, each school’s Chamber liaison, the school principal, and media photographers surprised the winning teachers during surprise assemblies, or in the teachers’ classrooms.  “We wanted something like a ‘Publisher’s Clearinghouse’ type of presentation” said Houbre.  “We prepared oversized checks, brought balloons, and surprised the teachers at their school instead of in a Chamber meeting room.  This, way, the teachers are able to celebrate along with the students that these grants will most directly impact” Houbre added.

The award winners for 2014 are:

Name School Project Title Amount
Kathryn Tobey Auburn High School Measuring and Building Strength $245.52
Sarah Connell Auburn Middle School Travels with Charley $131.19
Nicole Fitzpatrick Auburn Middle School AMS Drama Club $244.00
Robert Ceminski Bay Path Plumbing Drainage System $250.00
Johnathan Julian & Michael Bouthot Bay Path Alternative Fuel Options for Gasoline Engine $250.00
Shawn Sanders Bay Path Digital Photography Studio & Lighting Table $250.00
Maria Garrow Bryn Mawr School Lyrics to Literacy $171.16
Jessica DeStefano Bryn Mawr School Using A to Z Magnatab $227.00
Ann Guinane Julia Bancroft Move, Move, Move $250.00
Amanda Green, Jillian   Hakins, Laura Walsh,
Meredith Linden
Mary D. Stone School Leap into Learning Math Skills $244.76
Beth Chase Mary D. Stone School Alphabet Action $249.86
Allison Chery, Alissa Cobill, Christine Giamei,
Lisa Williams, Donna Gates
Mary D. Stone School All Hands on Interventions $225.46
Julie Ferdella Pakachoag School Disc Golf for Lifetime Fitness $250.00