Non-profit organization, Wantagh Foundation for Educational Excellence, works to improve the academic experience of Wantagh School District students, said executive board trustee Liz Guber.
Now, the foundation is catering to the needs of students even further, with the creation of the Junior Committee.
The Junior Committee, currently composed of 11 middle school and high school students that have an interest in math, technology, science and robotics, met for the first time on Jan. 6 alongside other foundation members. The committee will meet to discuss the impact of the foundation and focus on ways to support it throughout the district.
“The goal is to empower our students to help the foundation with their learning experiences, and find new ways to enrich their experiences,” Guber explained. Further, members serve as ambassadors of the foundation. Students will promote and develop the goals of the foundation through their fellow students, and faculty.
In November 2021, the foundation introduced its Tech Buddy Program, where district students taught kindergarteners and first-graders how to utilize Chromebooks. The program was held inside of the Wantagh Foundation site on the Wantagh High School campus.
That program was “wildly successful,” committee student coordinator Nancy O’Connor said: “We had over 50 volunteers. We almost had to turn students down.”
Not long after the program began, O’Connor, who serves as a business and computer technology teacher in the district, recruited a group of 11 student volunteers for the Junior Committee, some of whom worked as mentors in that program. O’Connor was also involved in the foundation’s free computer education program for senior citizens, which was put on hold last year as a safety precaution amid the pandemic.
At the Junior Committee’s first meeting, Guber said the students discussed what was important to them in the classroom and determine how the foundation can help support those causes.
“The foundation is comprised of our community, We have parent insight through surveys, teacher insight through the proposals they submit, and students are a critical piece of it and this enables them to further voice things that are important to them,” Guber said.
O’Connor, who graduated from the Wantagh School District in 1987, started teaching in the district in 1991. She said the foundation has a positive impact on the district and community.
“They give so much to support programs in the school so that teachers can do more that their budgets don’t necessarily cover,” O’Connor said. “They’re very supportive and are always looking for ways to help kids, teachers and the community.”
The foundation, founded in 1993, was “created to mobilize community support, commitment and resources to enhance public education in the Wantagh community” according to the nonprofit’s website. Last year, the foundation launched a mini-grant program for district teachers.
The Junior Committee is expected to meet roughly three to four times each year. For more information, go online to: https://www.wantaghfoundationfee.org/.