By Stefanie Jackson – Northampton County Education Foundation (NCEF) donations totaling more than $50,000 supported students and classrooms in Northampton County Public Schools last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is heartwarming to see how the community stepped up to support our schools in 2020,” said Linda Schulz, chair of NCEF.
NCEF is a nonprofit founded in 2006 by volunteers concerned about children’s education and well-being.
NCEF’s members have included teachers and other education professionals.
NCEF helps students and teachers get the items they need that aren’t covered in the Northampton school district’s annual budget, such as school supplies, and funding for class projects, field trips, and scholarships.
“The COVID-19 crisis made community support all the more important. And, instead of us going to the community for support as we have in the past, the community came to us with unprecedented willingness to make sure that the schools would have what they needed to promote student success in this extremely challenging environment,” Schulz said.
For example, one community member was eager to give free yearbooks to all graduating Northampton High school seniors who missed out on many senior-year traditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than $15,000 from NCEF provided general support for Northampton schools in 2020, including the purchase of backpacks for Kiptopeke and Occohannock Elementary School students, Wi-Fi hotspots for students lacking home internet access, and indoor soccer goals for OES.
General funds also were used to reward student and teacher achievements by purchasing graduation T-shirts and yearbooks for Northampton High School seniors and supporting NCEF’s school staff recognition program.
About $9,400 in NCEF grants were awarded, including more than $6,500 for the Kiptopeke and Occohannock Elementary pre-K camps.
The camps are typically held every summer, once a week for four weeks to prepare pre-K students for their first experience in school.
Nearly $1,300 funded a new teachers luncheon that welcomed the educators to the Northampton school district.
More than $400 funded a Weather in Poetry project at Kiptopeke, and $500 covered a field trip to the Palace Theatre in Cape Charles for students in grades six to eight to see “Harriet,” the 2019 biographical film about Harriet Tubman.
About $8,300 went into a special COVID-19 fund, partly used by middle and high school administrators to purchase small gifts and incentives for teachers “working above and beyond during this time,” said Liz Jones, NCEF vice chair.
“Having the COVID fund gives us the ability to act quickly when COVID needs arise in our schools,” Jones said.
A total of $6,000 in donations was made to the Kids Closet program, which provides clothing to students in need at all four Northampton schools. The middle and high school lend students attire such as suits, ties, and dresses for formal events and provide personal hygiene products. The elementary schools keep items on hand such as coats, socks, and underwear.
Nearly $4,300 funded eight projects at all four Northampton public schools through NCEF’s Fund-A-Project program: nearly $2,800 for five Northampton High School projects, about $1,000 for an Occohannock Elementary second-grade whale-watching trip organized by the Virginia Aquarium, $450 for a Kiptopeke Elementary sixth-grade tour of Old Dominion University, and $200 for Northampton Middle School yearbooks.
NCEF’s Adopt-A-Classroom program also supported all four schools, with donations totaling more than $2,200 for the high school, $1,400 for the middle school, and $200 for each elementary school. These funds purchased classroom or project supplies for teachers.
Donations totaling $1,500 provided tutoring for Northampton High School athletes, and NCEF awarded $2,700 in scholarships to graduating seniors, which can be applied to tuition costs at a four-year college, community college, or trade school.
Schulz expressed her thanks to everyone in the community who supported NCEF and Northampton students in 2020 and said, “We look forward to continuing to strengthen this partnership.”