Marking an anniversary

Commercial-News File PhotoIn this November 2017 file photo, Michele Craig, a special education teacher at Danville's Mark Denman Elementary School, explains the success she's experienced in her classroom with the MILO robot as Meade Park Elementary School special education teacher Rachel Webber, right, stands by. The Danville Public School Foundation supplied the robot. The foundation marks its 10th year with a fundraising event Jan. 17.

DANVILLE – The Danville Public School Foundation next week will mark its 10th year of providing District 118 students with enhanced educational opportunities.

The foundation’s annual 365 Club breakfast is set for 7:15 a.m. Jan. 17 at Turtle Run Golf Club and Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane.

“It is our signature fundraising event,” the foundation’s Executive Director Bob Richard said.

The first 365 Club breakfast took place in 2010, with members of the club pledging a minimum donation of $1 a day in support of the foundation, hence its name 365 Club.

“When the club started in 2010, it was strictly a fundraiser,” Richard said. “Now it’s a celebration event where we’ll showcase what we’ve done in the past year.

“Since 2010, we have raised $425,000 in support of the students,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have donors who have been very generous and stayed with us for all these years.”

The foundation supports District 118 students in three ways: Classroom grants, schoolwide assemblies and foundation initiatives.

“We provide classroom grants where teachers or administrators identify a project that needs funding,” Richard said.

Some of the projects in past years have included purchasing drones for the Project Lead the Way class at South View Upper Elementary School, funding an adrenaline drumming session for 100 Kenneth D. Bailey Academy students, and purchasing three humanoid robots to improve the social skills of students with autism districtwide.

“A lot of the current things we’re doing evolve around technology,” Richard said.

In October, the foundation funded two assemblies for 730 fifth- and sixth-graders from South View Upper Elementary and Northeast Magnet schools during which the students learned how to be safe online.

Richard said the assemblies “enhanced their current curriculum.”

Just before the district closed last month for winter break, the foundation’s order of 20 virtual reality goggles arrived. Those high-tech goggles — which represent a $10,000 investment — are destined for the classroom of New Tech teacher Tyler Overstreet at Danville High School.

When students wear the goggles, “the teacher can take them on a virtual tour, like of the Colosseum in Rome, or he can take them through a museum, using a Google app. They can see it in 360 degrees,” Richard said.

Also last month, a foundation initiative in partnership with District 118 sent all the fourth-graders from seven elementary schools to attend a forensic learning lab at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

“It’s amazing what our donors have been able to do for the kids,” Richard said.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the 365 Club are welcome to attend the Jan. 17 breakfast.

“If they are new to Danville, we encourage them to come to the breakfast. It’s free of charge and there’s no obligation,” he said. “We will ask that they become a member while they’re there in attendance.

“To be considered a member, we ask that they donate the equivalent of a dollar a day or more,” Richard said.

The club boasts 200 members.

“Danville has responded enthusiastically to this effort,” he said.


The Danville Public School Foundation’s annual 365 Club breakfast is set for 7:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at Turtle Run Golf Club and Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane. To make reservations, please call Bob Richard at 444-1044.