EXETER — The Wyoming Area Foundation has been a component within the Wyoming Area School District for nearly two years, and on Tuesday, it had its coming out party.
The foundation held its kickoff event at Sabatini’s Bottleshop and Bar as an introduction to residents of the Wyoming Area School District.
Over 50 people attended the event which featured beer, pizza, live entertainment and a 50/50 raffle.
“It was kind of like a shot in the dark,” foundation member Ree Ree DeLuca said about planning the event.
Not only was the event a kickoff for the foundation, it also served as a fundraiser to acquire Chromebooks for Wyoming Area students.
DeLucca said the Chromebooks cost $125 each and the foundation received a grant for the first 100. The event served as a way to be able to purchase the rest, which she said would be around $2,000.
The purpose of the Wyoming Area Foundation, according to member Tom Campenni, is to serve as an outside source for funding for the school district.
“The whole purpose of the foundation is to augment and support the school district,” he said. “Provide resources, mostly technology if we can, that the school district just can’t afford to do in this tough financial time.”
The Wyoming Area Foundation is a 501c3 started two years ago by the school board in response to cuts in the district budget due to decreased state funding over the years, leading to less funding for extra-curricular and educational activities.
The foundation was eventually handed over to members of the community such as DeLuca, Campenni and several others this past summer, who last year started a Steering Committee to solicit funds for the foundation.
“It really should be a community involvement,” said Elizabeth Gober-Mangan, president of the Wyoming Area School Board. “Already the board has enough to deal with and, by turning it over to members of the community, we feel we can leverage their connections, their expectations and their ideas.”
While the purchase of Chromebooks is the current goal for the Wyoming Area Foundation, DeLuca said the organization has eyes on other projects such as fixing the tennis courts, installing turf on the field hockey field, and adding fencing to the football field.
Gober-Mangan stressed the foundation is not raising monies for sports teams, but for all students within the district.
“We don’t want it to be just a one focus type of thing,” she said. “It can’t just be sports, it can’t just be music — it has to be for all children in the schools.”
Wyoming Area alumni Jim Pizano recently returned to the area and has a daughter in the school district. He’s trying to familiarize himself with the foundation.
From what he saw at the kickoff event, he feels the foundation is in good hands and will help the district immensely.
“There’s a strong sense of community and commitment,” Pizano said. “I think, as a baseline, as a starting point, from my experience because I don’t have an history with it, it’s just impressive to see the overwhelming positive start and support. I’m excited to see where this goes.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher