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3M funds over 90 district teacher project requests

Executives at 3M Cottage Grove surprised a dozen teachers with gifts of classroom supplies Oct. 5 at Grey Cloud Elementary School. Left to right: Shanna Jerrick, Pam Regan of 3M, Katelyn Pete, Dan Carlson of 3M, Kristi Parah and Christine Bromen. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia

SCHOOL DISTRICT 833 — Teachers who want extra supplies for their classrooms often have to dig into their own pockets.

Or, they can appeal to the public's generosity by posting their request on the crowdfunding website www.donorschoose.org.

A long wishlist had accumulated on the site from teachers in District 833:

• A new classroom set of three novels and plays for a 12th grade language arts class at South Washington County Alternative High School

• A new rug and adjustable wobble chairs for second-graders at Crestview Elementary School

• Poster boards and art supplies for an anti-bullying program at Cottage Grove Middle School

On Oct. 5, representatives from 3M Cottage Grove surprised teachers and students at Grey Cloud Elementary School with the announcement that they would fund more than 90 of these projects throughout the district.

The assembly, held in the school gym, resembled a pep rally, with the students cheering for each teacher whose name was announced.

3M contributed a total of $81,118.62 to donorschoose.org projects in 21 schools.

"A lot of these teachers will even use their own money to get their own supplies in the classrooms so you can learn," 3M site director Don Carlson told the audience.

Teachers spend an estimated $1.6 billion annually, he added.

"Your teachers are constantly thinking about you and how they can make learning more exciting in the classrooms," Superintendent Keith Jacobus said.

Prior to the assembly, word had already spread among the teachers: Our requests have been funded, Grey Cloud Elementary Principal Laura Loshek said.

But kindergarten teacher Abby Gonko still was thrown for a loop when her name was announced.

"I'm overwhelmed," she said. "I put in a lofty request. I requested 10 iPads — and covers. It was one of those long shots."

She added, "My insides are still shaking."

Donorschoose.org was founded in 2000 by Charles Best, a teacher at a Bronx, N.Y. public high school.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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