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‘An Apple for the Teacher Tree’ program beginning

Kump Education Center is starting a new program called “An Apple for the Teacher Tree” to honor beloved school teachers. Beginning this fall anyone who donates $500 will be able to add a red wooden apple to our teacher tree in the learning lab at KEC.

This red, four-inch apple will carry a brass plaque with the name of the donor’s favorite teacher.

Donors may choose to give multiple donations to honor more than one outstanding teacher. KEC will maintain a Memory Book telling how each teacher on the tree made a difference in the lives of their students.

Kump Education Center Neighborhood Investment donors who give $500 or more are eligible for tax credits for half the amount of their donation. They may also select teachers they would like to recognize with apples on our “An Apple for the Teacher Tree.” KEC has enough credits left to add four more apples to the tree.

This fundraising idea developed when Susan Ellison and I were doing Water Aerobics at the YMCA and noticed the fish on the wall naming donors who help rehabilitate the pool. Susan and her mother were teachers. After her mother died, Susan wanted to do something to honor her mother and help the next generation.

Susan decided to help make the teacher tree happen. She volunteered to teach a coding class to fund the creation of the tree and buy an apple in memory of her teacher mother.

She also found Randall Arbogast, the wood tech artist who will make the whole idea come to life. He has designed a tree that will stand about seven feet tall and the branches will reach out about eight feet across the classroom wall.

Teacher Tree donations will go to support programs like Minecraft Coding for kids who want to develop programming skills. Tech-Link Tutoring for students who need help with online learning, and Summer Science for YMCA day campers who love to explore the natural world. Over time other educational programs will develop at KEC when the world is a safer place.

During the Covid-19 crisis, parents and grandparents are having to play the teacher role at home 3-5 days a week. The stress of this new home teaching assignment makes many parents appreciate what teachers do for kids. Even if the only function teachers served were babysitting, it would be a service to working parent.

Teachers are essential workers who have a profound responsibility. It is important to remember the teachers who have devoted their lives to helping children learn.

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