The Genoa Academic Committee recently accepted a $10,000 donation from GenoaBank and JBI Corp, a Genoa-based independent battery testing laboratory.
The GAC is an organization formed this school year with a mission to “encourage, promote, support, and reward academic excellence for students, while also working together with the GHS staff, parents, and community members to assist each student in his/her personal pursuit of academic growth.”
The idea came about last year after Genoa High School Assistant Principal Cari Buehler and parent Kellie Szymanski were discussing the benefits to students of parent and community involvement. The two had known each other when Buehler was assistant principal at Allen Elementary and Szymanski was very involved with the PTO. Currently Szymanski has a son that’s a senior and another that’s a sophomore.
|Kellie Szymanski, GAC President, Joe Badger, President of JBI, Marty Sutter,
Presient of GenoaBank and Cari Buehler GHS Assistant Principal.
“I was saying how wonderful and supportive the elementary PTO was of staff and students, providing incentives and extras,” Buehler said.
“At the high school level, we have awesome athletic boosters and music boosters, but we really struggle with some of the supplemental things that would benefit the students academically, because of financial constraints.” Buehler said.
The wheels were set in motion to form an academic boosters group. Throughout this school year, the group established executive members and parent reps for each high school graduating class. Szymanski serves as the GAC’s president. Other officers include Vice President Chris Goetz; Secretary Kathy Mapes, Treasurer Jennifer Witt.
The GAC meets monthly to discuss goals and future plans for the organization.
Among the committee’s goals are:
• to provide additional funding for academic needs that aren’t addressed by the district due to budget constraints; • to establish a tutoring program where approved students can serve as tutors to other students who are struggling academically in different subject areas;
• to develop positive public relationships where a focus can be placed on students’ scholastic achievement;
• to promote and provide financial support to the technology program to enhance the skills, tools and opportunities to students;
• to recognize and reward students’ academic success through quarterly incentives, end-of-the-year honors banquet, etc.
• to work collaboratively with staff to aide in additional classroom resources through grant opportunities and donations from community members and local businesses.
“Kellie did an awesome job of contacting local businesses to share information what the Genoa Academic Committee is all about, with the hope that they would come along side us and help with supporting our mission and what we wanted to accomplish,” Buehler said.
Two of those businesses, GenoaBank and JBI Corporation, teamed-up to become the founding co-sponsors for the GAC. Each donated $5,000 to help kick-start the committee’s efforts.
“Marty Sutter, of Genoa Bank, and Joe Badger, of JBI are very passionate and supportive of our mission to create the 21st century learner, and the role technology plays in that endeavor,” Buehler said. “They were very generous with their funds to help increase the technology opportunities for our kids.”
“GenoaBank is gratified by opportunities to improve the vitality and quality of life in the communities that we serve,” said Staci McDaniel, AVP Marketing Manager. “And as a community bank, we are proud to help organizations such as the GAC, since supporting key stakeholders in our society is a great way for GenoaBank to demonstrate appreciation for the community support which we enjoy.”
“We’re currently researching the best way to use the funds to provide the most benefit for our students,” Buehler said. “We’re surveying teachers about what kind of software or equipment that could be beneficial in the classroom. We’ll also work with our Technology Director Tom Baker, along with GenoaBank and JBI to make a sound investment in technology from which all of our students can benefit.
“One thing we’re looking at is a mobile iPad lab that could be used in different classrooms and programs,” she added.
Buehler also credits the many local businesses and individuals who have contributed to the GAC this year. “People have really stepped up,” she said. “We’ve had donations from the Elementary PTO and teacher’s union gave us a significant donation, as have a number of individuals.
“Every donation counts and is greatly appreciated,” Buehler said. “And 100 percent goes to the benefit of our high school students.”
Among the GAC-sponsored incentives for academic performance this year were a soft-serve ice cream buffet and raffles for gift cards for local businesses.
“Every nine weeks, we provide incentives for honor roll and high honor roll students for their hard work,” Buehler said. “During the second nine weeks, we made homemade French toast, chocolate chip pancakes and waffles and served the kids breakfast, which they really enjoyed.
“When it comes to the incentives, I poll the students and ask them to pick what they want,” she said. “After all, they’re the ones who worked hard and earned the marks.”
The committee is also working on a seniors honor banquet to recognize students who earn scholarship and other academic awards, and is looking at awarding t-shirts for students who earned honor roll and high honor roll all year long.
GAC meetings are open to the community. Future meetings will be held April 17 and May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.
For more information about the committee or to make a donation, call Buehler at 419-855-7741 ext. 21201 or visit www.genoaschools.com/academics/genoa-academic-committee.
Kellie Szymanski GAC President, Joe Badger President of JBI, Marty Sutter President of GenoaBank, and Cari Buehler GHS Assistant Principal