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FSE Students Win $10,000 Grant

Photo of FSE fourth grade class One class at Fields Store Elementary (FSE) is working to make a positive difference in their school and community. Georgene Ringleben’s fourth-grade class was recently awarded $10,000 as part of the Super Health, Super You Community Challenge. Only three schools in the nation are awarded this grant. The challenge is sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, and Discovery Education, a leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. The goal is to help elementary schools include healthy lifestyle education into their classrooms and inspire students to develop new ways to help their school’s community.

“I was looking for something that would pique the interest of my early finishers,” Ringleben said. “About that time, I received an email from Discovery Education explaining the opportunity to win a grant for our school. I asked the kids what they thought and they jumped at the idea, and our journey began.”

To enter, students had one month to create a grant proposal solving a health-related problem at their school. Ringleben’s students focused on finding a way for all students to be able to have access to healthy foods, as well as a healthy lifestyle. They began by surveying other students during recess to find out what they would like to see on their campus. There was tie between a garden and track, so they decided to propose building a school garden that included a track.

There were seven students who led the team: Harper Gilbert, Colby Goedrich, Viroth Chim, Jett Pate, Jessica Mattingly, Parker Shatswell, Madden Hatcher. Students worked during their intervention time, Tuesdays through Thursdays. With the help of Ringleben and parent volunteer Kendra Pate, they created a proposal detailing their problem, solution, implementation, benefits, and why they should win the funding. They also had to include a proposed budget and supporting documentation, such as a drawing of their plan, to support their case.

“I discussed some of the previous winner's ideas with the kids and they discussed their own ideas from there,” Ringleben said. “My parent volunteer, Mrs. Pate, helped the students before they submitted the grant to make sure they had completed all of the necessary steps and requirements. She also did a phenomenal job making sure their grant did not look like any of the winners we had discussed at the beginning of our journey.”

When Ringleben discovered her class had won the grant, she decided to enlist the help of FSE Counselor Kim Pruitt to break the news to her students. Pruitt visited the classroom and told the students that she knew something really big about the class. Having their curiosity piqued, they spent the day speculating what the news could be. The following day, Ringleben and Pruitt announced they had won the grant and gifted the class a congratulations sign that will be displayed in the future garden tool shed. After a moment of shock, students were thrilled and immediately wanted to begin work.

“I am so proud of my students and incredibly excited for them! They found something they were passionate about changing, and they took the steps to make it happen,” Ringleben said. “I have tried very hard this year to instill in them to be the change they want to see in the world, and this was one of many steps I know they will take in their lives to do just that.”

The class hopes to begin work on their plan over the summer. FSE’s garden club, Kids Dig’in Real Food, will include students, parents, and faculty who will work towards encouraging children to eat more fruit and vegetables by providing access to fresh organic foods.