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Town school committee hears FHS, FIS programs

What does the Farragut High School Foundation do?

That’s what School Education Relations Committee members learned at its meeting Wednesday, June 2, at Town Hall.

Jerry Martin, Foundation president, told SERC members that the Foundation tries to bring money, time and talent to FHS.

Heavily grounded in FHS as a 1975 graduate, (his siblings also attended) Martin’s children are carrying the FHS tradition.

With that FHS grounding, he took the volunteer job as president of the Foundation.

In brief, Martin said his basic job is doing “whatever Mr. Reynolds says.”

The Foundation adopted its charter in 1994. However, about 10 years later, it was fairly inactive until Martin came aboard.

Last year, the Foundation gave primarily to technology (SMART Boards, laptops, servers, microphones and software), sending teachers to conferences and seminars and giving scholarships to seniors.

“[Students] were being taught on an obsolete version [of 2001 Microsoft Office].

“We’re now having to fill the role of providing the basics because of lack of state funding,” Martin said.

In addition to technology, the Foundation funds smaller projects such as paint and textbooks.

Martin said, “We want to reward and recognize those teachers who go above and beyond with their students. That’s been able to happen with the help of local [businesspersons].”

In particular, local businessman Doug Horne, an FHS grad, president of Horne Properties, Inc. and owner of farragutpress, has committed an annual $5,000 a year to honor a teacher through the Kenneth and Estelle Ward Science Chair of Excellence program.

“They approached us,” Martin said.

FHS teacher Kristin Baksa received the Chair last year. The funds that would have gone to Baksa’s salary went to the science department, which pioneered a robotics team.

Anyone who wants to serve is welcome to the Foundation board. “The more the merrier,” Martin said.

SERC members also heard briefly from Junior Achievement of East Tennessee, Inc. representative Jon Minnick and warmly received his message and agreed to back up the program as much as possible.

Junior Achievement will involve Farragut Intermediate School fifth-grade students in an off-campus trip to BizTown for a day of learning how to run a city.

Prior to the trip, more than 375 FIS fifth-grade students will spend six weeks of classroom time learning what it takes to run a city.

The non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization requested $7,500 from the town of Farragut to fund the program next spring.

SERC’s next meeting will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 7, at Town Hall.


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