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TMCNet:  Concert to benefit Forest Grove teacher grants, student scholarships

[November 21, 2012]

Concert to benefit Forest Grove teacher grants, student scholarships

Nov 20, 2012 (The Oregonian - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- From technology purchases to reading programs, the Education Foundation of Forest Grove will continue to grant teachers' wishes through a fundraiser concert Dec. 5.

Started in 1989 by local business owners concerned about school budget cuts, the foundation oversees a scholarship program and grant money that teachers can request for special projects or materials that can't be covered by school budgets, such as a set of calculators for high-school students to use in the classroom.

"A lot of those kids at the upper level can't afford calculators, so if they have a set that stays in the school, it's much more productive," said Quinn Johnson, foundation president. "We try to give grants where we're going to impact the most students." Until recently, the organization held annual phone-a-thons to draw donations, but Johnson said with home phones becoming obsolete, they've dropped that fundraiser in favor of events such as Holidays with the Trail Band, a concert Dec. 5 at Forest Grove High School..

The Trail Band, an 8-piece ensemble that includes Rindy Ross of 1980s rock band Quarterflash, puts on a whimsical show, Johnson said, and the group's website lists the fiddle, hammer dulcimer, penny whistle, mandolin, recorders, drums, spoons, bones and voice among the instruments their shows feature.

Since its beginning, the group has awarded more than $48,000 in grants, and since 2001, the group has awarded $54,000 in scholarships to Forest Grove High School Seniors.

Johnson said the foundation hopes to create a position focused on developing the group and drawing new members to help the organization grow to meet changing classroom needs. In recent years, Johnson said, teachers have begun applying for technology grants for devices like iPads and iPods, but with total grant money dipping as low as $2,000 or $3,000 for a year, expensive purchases are impossible.

"We want to do it so bad," he said, "but right now we just can't." -- Emily Fuggetta Follow @emilyinoregon ___ (c)2012 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) Visit The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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