OC Education Foundation has record year for giving
By MADDY VITALE
To say that the Ocean City Education Foundation (OCEF) has had a busy year helping the school community is perhaps an understatement.
They were able to award scholarships to teachers and scholarships to students thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors, OCEF officials said.
Jennifer Shirk, past president of the OCEF, said OCEF members are grateful to the community for their support.
“We couldn’t have accomplished everything we have last year without the help of so many community partners,” said Shirk.
She noted that the annual Red & White Social in October has led to so many donations the OCEF can give to worthy recipients.
“We were able to put a lot of those funds to good use,” Shirk said.
She said event sponsors, along with other community donations, have helped provide the necessary assistance to provide grants and scholarships to teachers and students.
“We are so lucky to live in a community that is so deeply invested in the education and well-being of our students,” Shirk said.
Shirk will hand over the “presidential” baton of the OCEF to Ocean City Councilman Pete Madden and take over as the organization’s secretary for the next school year. Aimee Schultz will remain Treasurer and Jake Birch will remain Vice President.
Madden said a few words about his future new title.
“It will be a pleasure to serve as president this coming school year. We have great new board members,” he said.
He continued, “I look forward to the opportunity to also work with the new superintendent and build on the success the educational foundation has achieved since its inception.”
The foundation, which began around 2008, is made up of community members, including teachers, administrators, parents, business owners and school district residents. It was formed to enhance and expand enrichment opportunities for all students in the Ocean City School District and community.
Most recently, the OCEF donated $10,000 – 10 scholarships of $1,000 – for seniors with the help of Ron Jon Surf Shop in Ocean City.
In April, the foundation awarded teachers more than $7,500 in grants. This money was also used to fund an end-of-year “celebration of success” at Jilly’s Arcade for all Ocean City sixth graders.
Additionally, funds have gone towards things such as dance equipment for the high school dance program, materials for sensory play, and for teaching 3D sculpting exploration of artistic behavior in school. primary.
The OCEF has also set aside money for Student Activity Access Grants.
“The Ocean City Education Foundation strongly supports equal access and inclusion for all students in any extracurricular activity of their choice,” Shirk emphasized. “This program is designed to assist students with financial need who wish to participate in a program sponsored by the Ocean City School District.”
Some examples of how the foundation could help students are with funds for athletic equipment, musical instrument rentals and choir trips, she added.
There were light things sponsored by the OCEF for the enjoyment of students and staff.
With the support of middle school principal Mike Mattina, the OCEF sponsored a Cabin Fever night at Jilly’s Arcade on the boardwalk for all fourth and fifth graders.
“It was also a success for the children and the parents,” pointed out Shirk.
There was also an OCEF-sponsored ice cream prize day for elementary and middle school students for SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) Day. During lunch, the Student Council hosted an SEL Q&A showcase with all grade levels.
“The quiz focused on character traits, the importance of social and emotional skills, and how to support peers when needed,” Shirk explained. “All the students received an ice cream as a prize.”
And the OCEF helped fund the National Unplug Day awareness campaign that promoted a 24-hour respite from technology on March 4.
“The event was promoted with daily announcements about the importance of setting healthy boundaries for the use of technology and social media,” Shirk said. “Students were challenged to put their cell phones in a ‘nap bag’ for the day and leave their cell phones in a safe place.”
For more information, visit the OCEF Facebook page or go to www.ocefnj.com.