Spring Grants 2021

Despite the ongoing challenges of responding to the pandemic, Hopkins staff and students continue to innovate and generate BIG ideas. HEF continues our commitment to doing our part, demonstrating adaptability and flexibility in our grants process. Again this spring, we’ve striven to be as responsive as possible. We’ve awarded each of the grants below shortly after our grants committee received all the necessary documentation. We’re proud to stand with the District as we all do our best to support students and staff during this COVID-19 crisis.

Baking Clubbers (Awesome Fund) –$572 — North Junior High — Aubrey Grotz (student), Nicole Coler (faculty advisor)

The Baking Clubbers are excited to get this grant from The Awesome Fund. With it they will purchase shared cook/bakeware with which to expand their repertoire of skills. All members – and more are welcome! – have put energy and enthusiasm into the kitchen during distance learning. Learn more.

Community Earthen Oven — $3,800 — Gatewood — Brooke Davis

Gatewood is embracing a unique outdoor learning opportunity: next fall, HEF is funding the construction of a permanent dome oven from straw bales, sand, clay, and bricks. The oven, 5’ tall and 3’ in diameter, will begin as a hands-on Engineering Learning Project for student teams guided by a professional craftsman, and then live on as a weekly teaching tool, accessible to the entire school for many years to come. Learn more.

Cultivating Digital Student Health and Wellness — $2,500 — North Junior High — Ann Salzer

It’s difficult right now to screen less, but students can learn to screen well. All 970 students will benefit as NJH implements a deliberate culture of digital health and wellness as part of SEL (social emotional learning) during students’ advisory periods. HEF is funding a partnership with LiveMore ScreenLess, a Minnesota nonprofit that “promotes digital wellbeing for and with young people through a collaborative and comprehensive community approach”. LiveMore will use research and data to promote the balanced and intentional use of technology. Learn more.

DJ Club (Awesome Fund) — $6,987 — Hopkins High — Elyse Ford (student), Lorenzo Farley (faculty advisor)

The new DJ Club will serve multiple purposes: a terrific creative outlet for students, a future replacement for the expensive DJ’s hired for prom and school dances, and cafeteria entertainment for students during lunch hour. This Awesome Fund grant is the seed money for the necessary equipment that will be used for years to come. Learn more.

Earth Day Outreach (Awesome Fund) — $2,688 — West Junior High — Addie Simmons (student), Nicole Coler (faculty advisor)

On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, HEF’s Awesome Fund provided WJH’s Earth Club with the funds to mount a campaign of climate action and good health. Members of the club distributed stainless steel water bottles to encourage the healthy consumption of water, particularly while the school’s drinking fountains are turned off due to the pandemic. Learn more.


Girls United Girls Speak Up (Awesome Fund) — $550 — North Junior High — Elif Ozturk (student), Emma Randolf (faculty advisor)

HEF’s Awesome Fund is providing the 35 members of Hopkins North Junior High Girls United Club with copies of Speak, the acclaimed 1999 novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. Club leaders have been inspired by the meaning and power behind this moving novel and wish to share and discuss its difficult topics among all members.  Learn more.

Girls United Wellness Kits (Awesome Fund) — $1,000 — Hopkins High — Soliana Teshome (student), Felicia Homberger (faculty advisor)

Girls United Club at HHS is an active group of about 40 young women, with at least another 40 in support. HEF’s Awesome Fund will provide $1,000: Girls United’s board of leaders will put together wellness kits for their active members, to help relieve stress and isolation, and build community as they gather online.  Learn more.

Glen Lake Go! Bus Design & Wrap — $3,150 — Glen Lake — Principal Jeff Radel

Glen Lake is taking education on the road, offering a more engaging authentic school experience for all students through real-world adventures and frequent curriculum-based field trips. A dedicated bus, called “Glen Lake Go!” is the modern substitute for a magic carpet, whisking students off to first-hand experiences and behind-the-scenes looks at the fascinating opportunities across our community. HEF will fund the colorful student-designed 3M vinyl bus wrap to make this vehicle super special, and even more exciting.  Learn more.

Glowing Creativity with Glowforge _$,990 — North Junior High — Jen Legatt

Glowforge is a powerful laser cutter and engraver that cuts materials such as cardboard, wood, leather, cloth – even chocolate! – and engraves on glass or wood, putting endless creativity into the hands of everyday users. NJH Media Center is excited to offer this tool to all students as an enhancement to the MakerSpace previously funded by HEF*. With Glowforge, students will learn the CAD design process and how to use and reuse materials to create art and functional products. Both the process and the tool have the potential to lead to STEM careers and to spark interest in design and manufacturing.  Learn more.

Hmong Family Outreach — $5,000 — Tanglen — Sara Vanhove

For Tanglen’s Hmong students and families (most of whom have chosen distance learning) and the 15 teachers who need to communicate with them, the systemic communication barriers Hmong families have always experienced have become more evident during the pandemic. This grant will compensate interpreter Panou Xiong for up to ten additional hours per week for the rest of the school year, and five hours per week during the ten weeks of summer.  Learn more.

Longboarding and Community Service — $11,100 — Alice Smith — Maggie Lund & Mykenna Yesnes

This spring, HEF will fund the construction of 20 shared longboards for current sixth graders, an exciting hands-on learning opportunity with returning assistance from Urban Boatbuilders of St. Paul. The Youth Longboard Program immerses students in the project from start to finish: collaboration, design, Math and science skills, handling tools and wood burning, and last but certainly not least, instruction in riding longboards (helmets will be worn). Learn more.

Outdoor Forest Kindergarten Startup — $1,600 — Gatewood — Katie Schmidt and Kay McCarthy

All three Gatewood Kindergarten sections (70+ students) will be outside next year 3-4 hours out of their six-hour day! The forest, pond, field, gardens, and hillside will be their classroom. HEF will be funding rain/mud gear for all students, including boots. The gear will be re-used year after year, to make outdoor activities comfortable for all. Learn more.

Outdoor Inquiry Kits and Research Station — $1,438 — Eisenhower — Abby Larson, Lisa Hake

These 30 reusable HEF-funded tool kits will include items such as binoculars, pond nets, pocket guides, tool kits, activity guides, magnifying glasses, insect habitats and collection bags to enable students to complete investigations at a variety of research stations, changed regularly. The exciting level of engagement provided to these young botanists and zoologists leads directly to content knowledge and higher order thinking skills. Learn more.

VariQuest Design Center — $8,999 — Alice Smith — Eduardo Navidad

This wonderful tool is much more than a time saver for creating beautiful bulletin board displays. VariQuest Design Center quickly “cuts out” visual and kinesthetic learning tools and manipulatives from heavy-duty re-usable vinyl. Students will have hands-on pieces to arrange and rearrange as they learn math concepts, letter/word recognition, reading and spelling, and so much more.  Learn more.

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