News Flash


Posted on: February 5, 2020

The Williams Rockwell Educational Gift Foundation Announces 2020 Grants

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The Williams Rockwell Educational Gift Foundation is pleased to announce $76,899 in grant disbursements to benefit the students in the Gardner Public Schools.  This year’s grant awards include a range of projects including field trips to art museums and theatre shows, improvements to the Landry Auditorium, musical equipment, literacy software, a 3D laser printer, and a field trip to the Worcester Bravehearts.

The committee, chaired by Acting Mayor James M. Walsh, met on January 23rd and awarded grants to 25 projects submitted by teachers from the Gardner Public Schools.  The Foundation stipulates that the grant funding must be split on a 50/50 basis for the arts and general educational purposes. The largest grant award of $9,588 was for an ETC ION XE20 Lighting Console 2K at the Gardner High School which is part of a wide range of improvements planned for Landry Auditorium.  The new console is an immediate need as the current board is outdated. 

Several of the grant awards were geared towards literacy including a district-wide implementation of Footsteps to Brilliance.  This is a software program that enables children to utilize their parents’ mobile devices to engage in learning activities aimed at producing proficient readers.  The Middle School received awards for a Family Literacy night and for the One School, One Book Club – a program where student in grades 5 and 6 reads the same book at the same time.

Elm Street School Teacher, Denise Ulrich and Math Coach, Stephanie Curtis requested funding in the amount of $3,800 to bring back the very popular Bren Bataclan, a Boston-based artist.  Mr. Bataclan promotes kindness and a sense of community through student participation in a mural painting project where the students become artists.   Bren spent a week at the Elm Street School last March turning student drawings into smile-filled paintings.

The Williams Rockwell Educational Gift Foundation was established from the $1.9 million sale of the Norman Rockwell painting, “Willie Gillis in Convoy” in 2014, which was a gift to the Gardner High principal F. Earl Williams, in the 1950’s.  The Foundation was created in December 2015 when Gov. Charlie Baker signed the home rule petition.  The fund is currently valued at $2,420,755, and up to 90% of the interest accrued each year is used for grants.

In addition to Chairman Acting Mayor James J. Walsh, the other committee members are: Dr. James Faust, Trustee; Dr. Paul Damour, Trustee; Michael Nicholson, Trustee; Attorney Robert Rice, Trustee; Jennifer Dymek, City Treasurer; Mark Pellegrino, Superintendent of Schools; and James Abare, Representative of the Gardner School Committee.

A breakdown of the grant awards is as follows:




Project Title



Gardner School District

Catherine Goguen

Footsteps to Brilliance-Literacy Software



Gardner High School

MaryPat Devine

Fitchburg Art Museum Field Trip



Gardner High School

Frances LeMieux

Replacement of 20 Plus Year Old Work Tables



Gardner High School

Demetrios Tyros

Glowforge, Laser Mfg. for Art, Technology & Engineering



Gardner Middle School

Ripp Charters

Leisure Activities Supplies-ping pong table etc.



Waterford Street School

Meredith Vining

Beauty and the Beast. Jr.-Kindergarten & 1st Gr Field Trip



Gardner High School

Monique LeBlanc

Eighth Grade Trip to New York City



Gardner High School

Frances LeMieux

Museum & Workshop-Worc. Art Museum Tour



Gardner Middle School

Claire Higgins

Art Club History Field Trip-Boston Museum



Gardner Academy

Janet Henderson

Gardner Academy Day in Boston



Gardner High School

Melissa Bourque-Silva

Bringing Shakespeare to Life-TheatreTroupe @GHS



Gardner Middle School

Lisa Murphy

Family Literacy Night



Gardner Middle School

Traci Podrazik

One Book, One School-Gr. 5,6 & & Book Club



Gardner Middle School

Traci Podrazik

GMS Club Block



Gardner Middle School

Traci Podrazik

The Sound of Music-speakers for cafetorium



Gardner Middle School

Lisa Murphy

Grade 6 Field Trip to Worc. Bravehearts baseball game



Elm Street School

Stephanie Curtis & Denise Ulrich

Artist in Residency-Baren Bataclan mural presentation



Gardner High School

Scott Connery

Character Strong-Professional Development Program



Gardner High School

Joanne Landry

Auditorium Lighting Improvements



Gardner Middle School

Lawrence Zuaro

Sound Equipment-Amplifiers for music program



Gardner Middle School

Traci Podrazik

Library/Media Center-furniture



Gardner Academy

Derek Beauregard

Gardner Academy Intramural Athletics, Fitness & Comm



Gardner Middle School

Michelle Heffner

Musical Equipment-tuba and euphonium


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