Momentum builds with 3rd annual CEF Gala helping Cumberland schools

Momentum builds with 3rd annual CEF Gala helping Cumberland schools

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Education Foundation is gearing up for its 3rd annual CEF Gala on Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln.

“We are excited,” Amy Neary, board member for CEF, told The Valley Breeze. “We really feel that we’ve started to build some good momentum with the foundation … We’re really trying to position ourselves as partners in the community.”

Since its inception, the foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local public schools, has awarded $18,000 in grants and $5,000 in scholarships.

The gala is the group’s primary fundraiser, Neary said, noting that they raised just over $15,000 at last year’s event.

“It’s a beautiful way to kick off the holiday season (and) have fun for a really great cause,” she said. Attendance has increased each year, as has the amount of money raised, which is “the direction we want to go in,” she said. “Without the community support in attending this, we can’t then give back to schools with grants and scholarships.”

CEF’s major sponsors are Navigant Credit Union, Leading Realty Group, and Dean Warehouse, but the foundation is always looking for more sponsors, she added.

Cocktail hour starts at 6:30 p.m. with dinner served at 7:30 and a live auction kicking off at 8:30. The North Cumberland Middle School chorus will perform, and there will also be a DJ and a silent auction. The McCourt Middle School chorus may also perform, Neary said.

Auction items include an at-home dinner party for six guests from The Armando Experience, with Armando Bisceglia, general manager and wine director of Trattoria Zooma on Federal Hill; a ride to school in a Cumberland police car; items from Tiffany; Providence College basketball tickets; an overnight stay at the Graduate in Providence; sports memorabilia; vacations; toys from Hasbro; and much more. A new Dell laptop will be raffled off as well.

“So many people come forward and are so generous (in donating items),” Neary said. “We’re extremely grateful.”

Tickets are $75 each. For groups of 10-12, tickets are $70 each. No tickets will be sold at the door.

New this year, tickets will be offered at a discounted rate of $50 for any faculty or staff member in the Cumberland School Department, Neary said. She said they hope to have every school represented at the gala. All grant recipients have received a complimentary ticket.

The 2019 grant recipients are:

• Andrea Friedland, sensory floor (Community School): This project will establish a sensory floor in the grade 4-5 hallway to provide students an opportunity to use movement to regulate their emotional and physical states. It will provide a short active break for students and help them refocus on learning.

• Lori Senno and Lindsay Oliquist, sensory paths (Ashton School): This project will establish a large sensory path in the kindergarten hallway and an additional smaller pathway in the 1st/2nd grade hallway. The sensory paths provide opportunities for sensory breaks to help children maintain and focus their attention.

• Diane Boisvert, enhancing lesson through video instruction (Community School): The project will support the purchase of an iPad Tablet and a subscription to Explain Everything for Education – whiteboard and screen casting app. The videos allow differentiation of instruction so that 5th-grade students can complete the video lessons with the level of guidance that they need to be successful.

• Bernadette Durkin, STEM/Makerspace (Community School): This project will support a learning environment where students gather to share resources, develop computational thinking, engineering and design skills as they create projects or build new devices.

• Mary Smith, improving student fluency in grades 2-5 (BF Norton School): This project funds Reflex, an adaptive and individualized system that supports students in mastering basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in grades 2-5. The data allows teachers to differentiate instruction to support student academic needs.

• Monique Johnson, LEGO Makerspace (Cumberland Hill School): This project supports a Makerspace in the Library Media Center. The students will use engineering design processes to build structures and solve problems. Students will enhance their cooperation, collaboration, creativity and communication skills as they work together.

“We’re committed to making enhancements in our district and helping our students,” Neary said. “I think that the faculty who have been grant recipients and students who have benefited from the grants are enthused and encouraged by the work we do.”

For tickets and more information, visit www.cumberlandedfoundation.org .