One last summer hurrah for Woodstock students

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Aug. 26, 2013
(L to r) Anthony, Michelle and Beatrice Foronda enjoy one last concert before the start of school. Photos by D. Coffey.
(L to r) Anthony, Michelle and Beatrice Foronda enjoy one last concert before the start of school. Photos by D. Coffey.

It was a beautiful evening in Woodstock on Aug. 25, as the Woodstock Recreation Department held a back-to-school concert at Roseland Park. Eight to the Bar performed for two hours for more than 75 people. The Putnam and Woodstock Lions Clubs, Bond Brothers Entertainment and the Woodstock Recreation Department came together to put on the event. Billed as a last hurrah to celebrate the end of summer, it was also an opportunity to highlight the Woodstock Education Foundation.

Beatrice Foronda was getting ready to head to kindergarten at St. Joseph's School in North Grosvenordale. She ate a snow cone and admitted to being a little nervous about starting the new year.

Few children in the audience were thrilled with the end of summer. Caleb and Ethan LeBoeuf spent their last waking hours playing video games. Sydner Schuler, who was heading into the fourth grade, was happier with her new backpack than the promise of rising early every morning. Still, they seemed resolved to it.

Just as Wendy Durand, the director of WEF, was resolved to providing children like them educational programs not covered by the school budget. “Woodstock has the lowest per pupil expenditure in the state,” said Durand. “We fund art, music and technology-based enrichment programs that fall outside of the normal budget.”

Five WEF grants have gone to support programs in the elementary school. Eight have gone to the middle school for programs on the Revolutionary War, public speaking and a National Geographic Geography Bee. A summer enrichment program drew in 55 children for six weeks. “The kids didn't know that they were learning,” said Board of Education member Cliff Davis.

The programs have met with success in the community. Durand and her band of WEF supporters want to continue that trend. The concert was a chance for them to get their name out in the community. The Foundation is planning to bring civil rights activist Ruby Bridges to the elementary school for a speaking engagement in the near future. “It's a unique opportunity,” said Durand.

For more information, look for the Woodstock Education Foundation on Facebook.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.