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HAEE celebrates 25 years helping Hampton students

| Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

As the Hampton Alliance for Educational Excellence hits its quarter-century milestone, the organization is celebrating its donation of almost $1,000,000 in grants for Hampton students.

To celebrate, its members are holding a 25-for-25 fundraising drive.

Since the beginning, the non-profit, volunteer-run group has provided teachers in the Hampton School District with money for special programs, learning tools and projects that fall outside of the district's budgetary planning, said the group's vice president Jodi Andrews. These grants have purchased 3-D printers, a cadaver demonstration, snowshoes, virtual field trips, a video-production room, personal technology devices, STEAM items, and more.

“If it wasn't for the support from our community, we wouldn't be able to provide the funding for our students for so many grants to support their education,” said Andrews, whose husband, Scott, also serves on the board.

In support of this educational mission, 25-for-25 aims for every household in the community to donate $25 or more toward the effort.

Andrews said she knows many Hampton resident aren't aware of what HAEE does, so students will soon take home an informative letter explaining the group's purpose and how it helps teachers and staff through grants.

With an emphasis on innovation, if a certain grant or project is successful, the district may consider budgeting for that item in the future, she said.

She acknowledged that since Hampton is a financially solid community, it doesn't get as much federal or state funding for things like this. The result is the district and its residents have to provide support.

While they've funded close to the $1 million in grants, there's only so much money to go around annually. Hampton teachers are usually the main grant-seekers.

“We look for new and innovative ideas,” Andrews said.

School Board member Denise Balason said it's great to hear about the different grants the group funds.

“It's just a really nice avenue for teachers and staff,” said Balason, who previously acted as HAEE board liaison.

The HAEE board is comprised of parents of district students, alumni, local businesses and even Hampton residents without children in school who still want to help, according to its website.

The HAEE also provides three scholarships: one of Anna Kuhn Memorial Scholarship for $1,500 annually and two, $1,000 Hampton All-Around Effort and Excellence scholarships.

The group's biggest fundraiser is its annual 5k, which will be Oct. 14 this year, said Andrews.

Balason said residents can also help while online shopping through the Amazon Smile program, which donates 0.5 percent of an eligible Amazon Smile purchase to a charity.

For more information, visit

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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