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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — Boyceville School District recently received two grants totaling up to $14,359 from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Don and Marilyn Fanetti.
The Fanettis donated a sum of $10,000 to help support the Science Olympiad program, 3-D printing, and STEM-related initiatives.
This grant is handled by the Community Foundation of Dunn County, and is made possible by the generosity of Marilyn and her late husband Don.
The Fanettis lived in Milwaukee for 45 years and owned and operated a specialized trucking business, but they retired to Dunn County and moved back to Don’s hometown. Marilyn established the fund as a tribute to Don and a way to give back to the Dunn County community.
“Marilyn has been a strong supporter of kids and education for many years through her volunteerism in the Optimist Club and her donation of pumpkins the past two years for the middle school ambassadors and high school sociology classes,” high school Science & Math teacher and Science Olympiad Advisor Andy Hamm said.
Marilyn funded the 3-D printer at TCE several years ago through the Community Foundation of Dunn County and has been strongly supportive of Boyceville students over the years, and she has even offered additional scholarships herself in the past for some of the students who have applied for Optimist Club Scholarships.
“It was kind of neat and was unsolicited,” said superintendent Nick Kaiser. “Marilyn had just been reading some things in the paper and liked what she saw, and thought she would like to help support some of things we are doing here in the technology and science areas.”
A portion of the money from the Fanettis will be used to help kickstart the fund for an outdoor classroom behind the middle/high school.
“Marilyn was also very excited about that too when I mentioned it to her,” Kaiser said in regards to the outdoor classroom. “We are very appreciative for the grant.”
DPI’s grant, $4,359, was specifically donated to the Science Olympiad program to help fund the 2020 Robotics League Participation program.
The grant will allow Boyceville to purchase four Vex robotics kits that will not only be used for Science Olympiad activities, but also in the classroom, particularly in Physical Science and AP Physics.
The Vex kits contain structural and motion components, smart motors, sensors, robot brain, and a storage bin and tray to keep the kits stored in an organized matter.
“These kits will give our students the opportunity to work with programmable robotics components and explore wireless robotic communication in a relatively straightforward environment, highly reducing student frustration and anxiety, and hopefully generating increased enthusiasm for robotics and STEM in students,” Hamm said
The grant will also help cover registration fees for invitational tournaments and provide students with additional competitive opportunities in Science Olympiad without having to charge the students or reduce the supply budget for other activities within the program.
Middle/high school principal Tyler Moy stated that Mr. Hamm had come to him about applying for the grant and had asked if he could go after it with Moy’s approval.
Hamm thought it would be a long shot that Boyceville would receive the grant, but on November 21 Mr. Kaiser received an email stating they had in fact been awarded a portion of the funding.
Before the funds could be awarded to the Robotics league, Boyceville was required to fill out a post-competition form found on DPI’s website.
“The robotics league is actually an event in Science Olympiad this year – Robo-Cross, which is both a middle school and high school event for all of our tournaments up to and including the state tournament,” Hamm explained.
Boyceville has already competed in two Science Olympiad competitions, and teams have earned several medals in Robo-Cross and will continue to compete in the event in Medford, UW-River Falls, regionals, and state tournaments.
Also at the Solon, Ohio, Invitational there will be a new trial event called Robot Tour that Boyceville high school students will have the opportunity to participate in which would be more difficult without the support provided by the grant from DPI.
Boyceville was made aware they had received the two grants in late November, and they were accepted during the December 18 Boyceville Board of Education meeting.