Studies show that nearly all teachers spend money out of their own pocket to purchase classroom supplies. On average, American educators are spending $500-$600 dollars per year, adding up to a total of more than $1 billion dollars. The Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS) Foundation hopes to alleviate some of that burden for local teachers, and students and staff from the Burrell College of Osteopathic are on board to help.
BCOM Associate Dean for Learning, Evaluations, and Outcomes Michael Morehead, Ed.D, is also a board member for the LCPS Foundation. He recently gathered 12 medical students to participate in a trivia night fundraiser held at The Game II to raise money for one of the foundation’s newest initiative, Teacher Classroom Supply Mini-grants.
“This was our first trivia night and it was amazing,” said LCPS Foundation Executive Director Betsy Geery. “The crowd was engaged and attentive, and they seemed to have a great time. We were so gratified to see so many people come out and help us raise money for our newest project. Beginning next year, we will draw five to 20 teachers for a $100 grant to purchase classroom supplies. Each teacher will only have to apply online one time and will be eligible for each month’s drawing until they win.”
The LCPS Foundation was established in 1998 with a sole mission of supporting teachers, students, and staff of the Las Cruces Public Schools. They give out $25,000-$35,000 each year in Teacher Innovative Classroom Project Grants, and have already distributed almost $225,000 since the program started. This year, they’ve doubled the number of Senior College Scholarships they offer, and they host the annual Celebration of Excellence in Education Dinner where they showcase the LCPS Teacher of the Year finalists, the new National Board Certified Teachers from LCPS, and all of the student named as Hispanic Scholars and/or National Merit Scholar Semi-finalists/Finalists. They also provide external grant writing services to support schools and the professional development of educators. Geery said they’ve already raised $10,000 for the mini-grant program, which will launch next year.
The trivia night fundraiser was the brainchild of volunteer board member Phillip Wilke who used to play Pub Quiz every Wednesday prior to moving to Las Cruces. “It was natural for me to volunteer to write the questions and run the room for the evening. This was our first event and it was a great success. We had 22 teams of four people and we raised more than $800.”
Morehead sponsored two BCOM teams, one consisting of first year students Jessalyn Lance, William Lay, Amanda Morgan, and Terra Spinuzzi; and the other of second year students Stephanie Ayala, Fernando Magana, Megan McCord, and Marlina Ponce de Leon. Four other students assisted with the event as well. “Our most exciting memory from the event was getting the final question correct for which we wagered all of our points!” Lance said. “It was a great time and we are thankful that Dr. Morehead sponsored us.”
Ayala added, “It was fun to take a break from studying and get together with friends for this event. The fact that the profits go forward to fund supplies for public schools makes it a very noble cause.”
For Dr. Morehead, trivia night is just the beginning of a long relationship between BCOM and the LCPS Foundation. “Our students participation in this event is indicative of their commitment to give to the community. I can see many partnerships developing between the college, the LCPS Foundation, and the local school districts. I think laying the key foundation for the success or our children and families starts with networking and partnerships, and BCOM is committed to the goal of creating educational and professional opportunities for students.”
Read more about the Las Cruces Public Schools Foundation.