NEF Funds Six Winter Grants Totaling $32,541

Feb 16, 2022

At the Needham School Committee meeting last night, the Needham Education Foundation (NEF) announced the recipients of six grants totaling $32,541 in the winter grant cycle.

Awarded grants include:

● Eighth grade students at Pollard Middle School will soon have the opportunity to take an elective course in American Sign Language. As they learn to sign, students will meet and learn about the life experiences of members of the Deaf Community and provide a much-needed service in the community.
— Awarded to Elizabeth Zajac, K-12 Director of World Languages

● A professional theater artist, who is a cast member of a Broadway show, will put on an after-school Broadway Masterclass for students at High Rock School and Pollard Middle School. The 2-hour masterclass will include group-based acting exercises and games, Q&A, and a brief performance.
— Awarded to Katherine Jones, Teacher

● Advanced ceramics students at Needham High School will learn an ancient traditional Japanese form of pottery from world-renowned local Raku artist, Steven Branfmann. Students participating in workshops at Potter’s Shop and School at Gorse Mills Studios will make pottery, glaze it with raku glazes, and use special Raku kilns as they practice the art form.
— Awarded to Sofia Koza-Topp, Visual Arts, Ceramics Specialist at NHS

● A series of technical theater workshops, run by local industry professionals, will teach Needham High School and Pollard Middle School students about sound, lighting, costumes, sets, stage management, and new technologies in the theater industry. Students will learn skills required to be technical crew/designers for the district’s theater productions.
— Awarded to Kristen Mazzocchi, Theater Teacher and Director at NHS

● Award-winning children’s book author, youth motivational speaker, and literacy advocate, Ty Allan Jackson, will visit Newman Elementary School students to talk about how and why he became an author. Ty is engaging and funny. Students will be inspired by his stories of black superheroes, lessons about money, and beliefs about the importance of reading and literacy.
— Awarded to Beth Seidman, Parent, for the Newman Elementary PTC DEI Committee

● Thirty-four ukuleles will bring a fresh, new, and exciting dimension to students’ musical experience at Sunita Williams Elementary School. They will also provide an alternative and inclusive way to make music for students in the Early Learning Center (ELC) program.
— Awarded to Abigail Grote, Sunita Williams K-5 Music and 4/5 Band Teacher