An Education Organization Who Cares

About Us

Auburn Education Foundation is a non-profit organization in Auburn, NY, aiming to enhance and enrich learning environments for students throughout the community. We work with Auburn Enlarged City School District to provide awards, grants, scholarships, and more.

As an education foundation, we believe that enrichment programs are critical for children’s intellectual development. We award Educator Grants and manage the Alumni Hall of Distinction.

Teen student carrying books in library

Elevating Education Experiences

3D Graphic of Hot air balloon
When it comes to education, we strive to elevate the Auburn Enlarged City School District education experience. We help students excel by providing excellent resources, leading enrichment programs, and more. Our goal is to allow each student to meet their full potential.

Who We Are

Established in 2003, Auburn Education Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. We formed when a diverse group of citizens came together to brainstorm ways to elevate the educational experiences of Auburn Enlarged City School District students.

By integrating new technologies, exploring creative new teaching methods, and supporting innovative curricular projects, we could provide programs that the school district’s budget could not otherwise support.

Auburn, NY Auburn Education Foundation

Board of Directors

Our Board at the Auburn Education Foundation is a 15-member volunteer board composed of community members and business leaders. Together, we are committed to providing educational excellence in the Auburn Enlarged City School District. We build the Foundation’s presence and relevance as an educational leadership organization in our community.


Miguelina Cuevas-Post (Mickie), President

Name: Miguelina Cuevas-Post (Mickie), President
Occupation: Retired administrator (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Reason for joining AEF: Very simply: I’m committed to the success of teaching and the learning experiences of our students and believe that AEF is a strong advocate and supporter of the same. My philosophy and beliefs align with those of AEF. Furthermore, as a principal, I saw the benefit derived from teachers who were the beneficiaries of AEF grants. Scholarships given to students directly impact our AHS students’ ability to pursue higher education. The board members are among the most committed individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Bill Tenity, Vice President

Name:  Bill Tenity, Vice President
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Reason for joining AEF: I joined this organization because of my interest in and my desire to help the teachers of the Auburn district provide special activities and instruction that enhance the classroom experiences for their students. As a retired educator, who still has contact with our schools through substitute teaching, I have seen first-hand what the Foundation has provided in the past. I jumped at the chance to be a part of what this group can do for kids.

Bonny Blair, Vice President

Name: Bonny Blair, Vice President
Occupation: Retired teacher (Southern Cayuga School District)
Reason for joining AEF: An educator at heart, I am passionate about making a difference for children and our future by working with the Auburn Education Foundation.

Janie Hutchinson, Immediate Past President

Name: Janie Hutchinson, Immediate Past President
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Reason for joining AEF: As a retired educator, I recognize that all children deserve the best possible educational experiences. As a primary grades teacher (1st, 2nd), I am passionate about literacy and the role it plays as the main building block in education. AEF supports the efforts of Auburn schools to provide innovative programs for all students and the organization is a means for me to continue to be involved in and supportive of public education.

Marianne O’Connor, Treasurer

Name: Marianne O’Connor, Treasurer
Occupation: Retired Business Administrator (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Reason for joining AEF: I was instrumental in forming AEF while serving as school business administrator for the Auburn School District.

Denise Pellegrino, Secretary

Name: Denise Pellegrino, Secretary
Occupation: Retired from Bank of America as Regional Operations Manager
Reason for joining AEF: The Mission Statement for AEF aligns with my interest in all communities providing quality public education.

Kathie Collier

Name: Kathie Collier
Occupation: Retired teacher (Auburn Enlarged City School District)
Reason for joining AEF: With 37+ years in education, I joined AEF to give back to my community and make a difference in our students’ experiences. We give many educators opportunities to realize their creative and innovative dreams for their students, and the trickle-down effect is incredible. Who benefits? We all do.

Andrew Tehan

Name: Andrew Tehan
Occupation: President, RG Wright Agency
Reason for Joining AEF: To assist in enriching the educational experience for students in the Auburn School District.

Carmela Barbagallo

Name: Carmela Barbagallo
Occupation: Director of Wholesale Sale, Buttonwood Grove Winery
Reason for joining AEF: I am passionate about learning and expanding opportunities for access to education.  My Master’s Thesis work focused on college access.  Working with AEF allows me to stay engaged in the education community after working in a university setting for many years.  I also now have a son in the school district.

Kelley Gridley

Name: Kelley Gridley
Occupation: Commercial Loan Officer, Tompkins Trust Company
Reason for joining AEF: To help the many talented students in the Auburn School District realize their full potential.

Kathy Rhodes

Name: Kathy Rhodes
Occupation: Retired Assistant Director of Special Education for the Auburn Enlarged City School District and past School Board Member for the Auburn School District.
Reason for joining AEF: Education has been my career for over 35 years.  The mission of AEF is to provide experiences that enhance children’s learning, and I am excited to be a part of this mission.

Jessica Wrench

Name: Jessica Wrench
Occupation: Education and Resource Coordinator, Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce
Reason for joining AEF: I am excited to be supporting teachers and bringing new and innovative opportunities to Auburn students.

Terry Mahoney

Name: Terry Mahoney
Occupation: Retired Special Education Teacher for the Auburn Enlarged City School District.
Reason for joining AEF: I joined the board of AEF to help enrich the educational experience of students and teachers of AECSD.  Enhances learning opportunities benefit all involved.   I also want to help recognize the accomplishments of our alumni who work tirelessly to improve our world.  Our students are our future!

M. Benjamin Susman

Name: M. Benjamin Susman
Occupation: Attorney
Reason for joining AEF:  I represent a lot of children and families in the community. AEF is a great organization, working to enrich our students’ lives. I enjoy working with children and the schools to better the lives of these children and that aligns with the core values of the AEF.

Allyssa DelPiano

Name: Allyssa DelPiano
Occupation: Marketing and Communications Specialist and former PTO President
Reason for joining AEF: As a Mom and former Auburn public school graduate, I’m excited to help create innovation, positive change and opportunities for our teachers, ultimately propelling our youth to the highest levels of achievement.

Mark A DiVietro

Name: Mark A DiVietro
Occupation: Optician at Silbert Optical
Reason for joining AEF: Reason for joining the AEF is realizing what an asset our School District and the special programs that directly influence the current students are to our community. Also seeing the current board being primarily made up of dedicated and energetic retired Educators and Administrators make me feel refreshed that education is still very important to them and makes me want to be a part of that positive group.

Ex-Officio Board Members

  • Jeffrey Pirozzolo, Superintendent of Schools
  • Lisa Green, District Business Manager
  • Ian Phillips, School Board Representative

Community Partners

  • Paul DelPiano
  • Jennifer Forcey

Educator Grants

To date, Auburn Education Foundation has funded more than 142 creative educational projections in grades K-12 through our grants program. Through a competitive grants process, we award funding to educators who have creative ideas that will capture the attention and imagination of Auburn Enlarged City School District students.

Funding is awarded to projects that cannot be supported through the regular district budget and fall within at least one of the following six areas: Academics, Arts, Life Skills, Character Education, Physical Education & Wellness, and Technology.

We offer two grant cycles per academic year:

FALL APPLICATION: Due by October 15
SPRING APPLICATION: Due by February 15

2022 – 2022 Grants


The Tassel is Worth the Hassle

Funding for this project was used to purchase flexible seating, sensory lighting, and calming activities to make a more welcoming space for students who need to practice mindfulness, relieve stress, and complete assignments. The goal is to provide a comfortable setting for students who need extra help/support to graduate.

CPR Anytime

The purchase of Adult/Child CPR and Infant CPR Anytime Mannequins allows the health department at Auburn Junior High School to teach CPR during health classes. Every student will receive training to perform hands-only CPR which will give each child the lifesaving knowledge/skill that can be used anytime and anyplace. 

Sensory Toolkits for Inclusion Classrooms

Sensory activities were purchased to create sensory “toolkits” for inclusion teachers at Genesee Elementary School. The kits were filled with items offering different colors, textures, sounds, and smells. These types of activities help to calm students allowing them to become more mindful, better behaved, and able to focus on learning. 

Auburn School District Golf Program

Golf mats simulating Par 3, Par 4, and Par 5 golf holes are used in Seward Elementary School physical education classes to expose students to golf. The curriculum includes/encourages teamwork, goal setting, honesty, and perseverance. This equipment can be shared with other physical education teachers desiring to teach this sport.

The Coffee Cart

The Auburn Junior High School Coffee Cart is manned by a group of students who are cognitively disabled, other health impaired, and/or autistic who may struggle to be actively engaged in the learning process. Every week, these students discuss, list needed ingredients and then make baked goods for the Friday Coffee Cart where staff can purchase coffee and baked goods. The students also deliver to staff unable to visit during times when The Cart is open for business. This endeavor provides hands-on learning experiences, with a focus on physical, cognitive, and emotional support to develop various skills and confidence through planning, preparing, and running the Coffee Cart. The grant funded a commercial brewing system, a mixer and curriculum materials.

Motorcycle Fabrication

Students taking Advanced Transportation in the technology department learned about the engineering, design, and fabrication techniques used in building motorcycles. Students developed higher-order thinking skills to build high-performance custom motorcycle frames and expressed their creativity in designing every aspect of their mini motorcycles. Learned skills help prepare those students attending technical colleges or starting positions in the industry.

Calming Area/Sensory Hallway

Casey Park Elementary School created calming areas within classrooms for students who needed a safe and effective place within the classroom setting to regain control, reflect on behaviors, and rejoin the class. The goal is to decrease disruptive behaviors and increase student engagement. The sensory hallway is a series of pathways that students follow using different types of movement (skipping, hopping, jumping, etc.) allowing students to burn off excessive energy.

Let’s Color Auburn’s History

In collaboration with Kevin Burke of Accredited Art, a local art company, a coloring book was created that featured many of the people and sites that have played important roles in Auburn’s history. Because fourth-grade students learn about local history, each student was given a book and then in conjunction with the Fourth Grade Passport Program, students were able to visit several of the sites mentioned in the book. 

Games for AHS Library

The library at Auburn High School is a gathering place for students and is open throughout the school day. With the relaxation of Covid guidelines, the librarian introduced board games as an alternative to students interacting constantly with screens. Research shows that board games alleviate stress, reduce social anxiety, and improve interpersonal skills. A variety of board games including chess, Rummikub, Mancala, Backgammon, and Trivial Pursuit Decades, were purchased for student use in the library. 

Root Coding Robots

Root Coding Robots, an instructional technology tool with a supportive curriculum that can be leveraged for coding, were purchased for each of the five elementary schools and the junior high school. These devices involve scaffolding computer programming that can be used by our youngest learners and progressively advances with grade levels. The implementation of coding also allows students to advance their skills in communication, collaboration, and team building.

2021-2022 GRANTS


My Beating Heart

This project incorporates wrist-based heart rate monitors into the already established Physical Education program at Auburn Junior High School. The monitors allow students to track their individual progress in physical health based on their personal data. Students learn the healthy benefits of physical activity.

Yoga Mats for Calming

Yoga mats were purchased for a first-grade classroom at Herman Avenue where yoga is practiced daily as a calming technique. Students learn self-regulating skills to use when they need to calm down due to frustration or anger. The mats are shared with other classrooms.

Sensory Solutions for an Inclusive World

Funding was provided to create student-centered access to sensory activities including an alternative break space to help those children having difficulty regulating environmental stimuli due to sensory system deficits. Use of these tools increases student self-regulation, decreases disruptive behavior and promotes a caring community of learners.

Math Puzzle Packs

Math puzzle packs provide students with a fun and effective way to develop computational fluency. Teachers at all grade levels in all the elementary buildings have access to worksheets that use puzzles as a more engaging way to learn and practice math facts. The puzzles are designed to challenge students at their own level and can be modified for those who need additional help. 

Indoor/Outdoor Sensory Movement Pathways & Games

Movement pathways were created inside the buildings and outside on school grounds at Seward and Herman Avenue Elementary Schools. Large, permanent stickers were placed in specific hallways and students who needed a quick break from academics could follow the path of movement activities. The outside pathways are used during recess as another way to engage children in physical activity.

Piper Computer Kits

Students at Genesee Elementary School learned about computers by physically building a computer from start to finish. The project was designed to teach problem-solving skills and computer literacy, including knowledge of hardware and programming languages, along with collaboration and communication skills. These kits can be reused to increase student involvement.

$25,000 Signature Project Grant

Funding was provided to elementary schools and Auburn Junior High School to support the district’s Positive Behavioral Interventions Support (PBIS) program. This program is used nationally to help schools manage behavior and provide clear instruction of rules and procedures in schools. Students earn points/school currency when PBIS behaviors are demonstrated/seen and can then use accumulated points/currency to “purchase” prizes. To accomplish this, book vending machines were purchased for Owasco, Herman, Casey Park and Genesee (Seward already had one). Students earned currency and could then go to the machine and choose a book. This also increased an interest in reading. At the Junior High School, this grant funded the prizes for the program. Teachers handed out Maroon Bucks to students who followed the principles “Be Dedicated, Be Respectful and Be in Control”. Students use their Maroon Bucks to “purchase” prizes including skateboards, gift cards, art supplies and other gifts desired by this age group.


Special Grant Project

Auburn Education Foundation and Herman Avenue Elementary School have a friend in Jay Goldman, a 1974 Auburn High School graduate. Jay, and his friends, John Callahan and John Marshall, all of whom attended Herman Avenue School, supported Jay’s idea to make a monetary gift of $5500 to AEF designated solely for the benefit of students at Herman. The three friends asked that the money be for programs/equipment needed by the school that would support the greatest number of students, especially those with social and emotional needs now two full years into the COVID-19 pandemic. 

2020 – 2021 Grants


Snow Shoes for Herman Ave Kindergarten Students

Twenty-five pairs of snowshoes were purchased for Herman Ave Elementary School to be used in gym classes. These snowshoes provide opportunities for outdoor exercise and additional learning opportunities for students. Outdoor activities are needed during these times when children are spending much time inside and will serve as a chance for children to recharge and refocus. These snowshoes can be used in other grade levels as the snowshoes fit a range of boot sizes.

AJHS Cloud Based Video Editing

A subscription to WeVideo was purchased for use by eighth graders at Auburn Junior High School. Video production is considered to be a “must have” skill and has been incorporated into the AJHS Technology Curriculum for several years. Students will learn about all aspects of making movies and will take on the role of script writer, videographer, director, talent and sound editor of their own video projects. This program will provide cloud-based operation for remote, hybrid and in-school productions allowing all in the target group to participate. Potential projects include creating their own video yearbook.

Understanding the Weather – Using Models

The Auburn Dearth Science Department purchased the American Meteorological Weather Cycler, interactive models that allow students to manipulate a variety of weather variables and see the cause and effect of this variable manipulation. The goal is to help students understand the complex weather phenomenon in the atmosphere. Students will analyze and interpret the data on the model. Students will read the graphs on the weather cycler and identify fronts and associated weather patterns. These models will be used by Earth Science teachers in both the High School and Junior High School.


GooseChase is a digital scavenger hunt where you compete against other people to complete “missions” involving either text, photo, or video answers. Each mission is assigned a point value, and you may be given bonus points for creativity. There will be prizes for the most creative submissions. This program will serve as an engaging activity to help students and families create a sense of community that has been lost due to Covid.

Fatal Vision Opioid Program

A Fatal Vision’s Opioid Program Kit educates junior high and high school students on the effects and dangers of the use of opioids. The kit is an interactive learning experience that models how opioid use depresses the central nervous system, causing several impairments. These impairments negatively impact an individual’s health, quality of life, and safety. By experiencing the behavioral effects of opioid use, participants are more aware of people’s susceptibility and become knowledgeable of the severe consequences associated with using opioids.

Yoga and Mindfulness Reboot

The Yoga program at Auburn Junior High School relies on funding for yoga mats, blocks, and other associated items to keep this successful program available to students. Yoga is a lifetime benefit that helps to decrease stress in students’ lives and increase mindfulness. Yoga classes are offered to Health 8 classes throughout the school year and also to those students in need of extra support with Covid-related stress/issues.

$25,000 Grant to the Auburn Enlarged City School District - Personalized Learning Teacher Fellowship

This grant supplements a personalized learning teacher fellowship program used by the district at all grade levels. Supplies were purchased to further enhance the students’ experiences in this individualized learning model. This fellowship helps educators reimagine what is possible for every student by redesigning the classroom experience. Selected educators engage in workshops to collaborate, to learn and practice strategies which will be implemented within the classroom for both in-person and remote instruction. Students have a voice and a choice in their learning through project-based activities and choice boards. Students self-assess their progress and engage in conferencing with the teacher to set and monitor individual learning goals. Students will also be targeted to serve as tech-mentors for their peers. Staff will be encouraged to visit these classrooms to observe and learn about this innovative practice.

2019-2020 Grants


Matilda the Musical, AJHS

The students involved in the production learn how to work together in a fast-paced, high-stakes situation where things need to be completed correctly in a designated, set time. The stage crew learns how to set each scene change so that the correct set pieces/drops/props/costumes are ready for the next scene. Each actor on stage is responsible for learning not only how to be an individual performer by memorizing their lines and their staging, but also how to support each other in the scene. They also learn how to improve upon their character by delving into the sub-context of what the character says and their physical mannerisms throughout the performance. Students learn to work cooperatively by relying on one another for strength in a large group, as well as small ensemble performance numbers. They are also learning to be confident public speakers and gain presentational skills in not only using their vocal articulation appropriately, but also skills in stage presence and physical mannerisms that translate to a variety of situations.

Drone Building Project, AJHS

This grant challenges students to design, build, program, and operate a fully functional drone. It will expose the students to all of the work done before a drone can be flown. Students will specify, order, and assemble drone components into a drone for competitive challenges. Skill sets include soldering, wiring, programming, and integrating systems. These skills are not part of AJHS curriculum but are an integral part of the technology of drones. Students also grasp basic and intermediate engineering skills.

Heat Transfer T-shirt Press and Supplies, AJHS

Custom T-shirts allow students to express organizations and philosophies that they embrace. The environmental club will be the first group to design, assemble, and produce T-shirts for their club, signifying their commitment to making a better environment for our community and the world. When students have a feeling of belonging and allegiance to a worthwhile cause they become activists. Showing this with custom T-shirts that they design allows them to appropriately express themselves and their commitments.

Student Mindfulness Using Yoga, Auburn High School

Students in secondary Academic Intervention Services classes will participate in weekly yoga lessons focused on improving their academic concentration and reducing their stress. The yoga activities will include poses focused on strengthening balance and linked with intentional breathing exercises.

Research has shown that the implementation of yoga practices improve student resilience to stress, as well as show improvement in student concentration, self-awareness, behavioral and emotional maturity, and self-confidence (Hagen & Nayar, 2014). The goal of this project is to implement short weekly or bi-weekly yoga practices with the materials provided by the grant and in doing so, increase student achievement not only in AIS class, but with the hope that these positive behaviors will carry over into the rest of their school day.

Modeling Linear Motion, Auburn High School

The motion of objects makes up the largest portion of the Regents Physics Curriculum. It involves not only understanding the math associated with it, but also a conceptual understanding of a graphical model of motion using the Vernier Track Motion Kits. Students will be able to explore how the change in position affects velocity, acceleration, and force acting on an object in real-time.

The kits are designed to meet the needs of multiple learning styles through their clear representations of motion and tactile components. Students will be able to collect data samples easily as the materials come with built-in sensors that export the data to a spreadsheet program. This will make data analysis by students easier allowing the instructor more time to assess students’ understanding of the material. This project meets the district goals of using strategies that engage students by encouraging them to use higher order thinking skills, collaboration, and creativity. The project will also meet the New York State Science Learning Standards that require students to focus on modeling of scientific concepts.

I Spy Sensory Boxes & Sorting Bins, Owasco Elementary School

A sensory bin is a tactile, hands-on learning experience for students. The bins will be filled with different textures, colors, sounds, and smells. These bins will be used in many different ways to address student achievement. As a whole bin, using “I Spy” Cards, students will be presented with a self-directed challenge of finding various items in the bin, ie: a red car, a red letter A, a red pompom, etc. This activity will aid in color recognition, letters, and observation and fine motor skills as the students will use tweezers and scoops to sort through the bins. Used with sorting trays (ice cube trays) students can learn about relationships by sorting red soft items into one chamber and red hard items into another. Other items can be used in isolation as fidget toys for students with sensory stimulation. These items can help combat sensory overstimulation.

Library Podcast Studio, Auburn High School

Students at Auburn High School do not see themselves as content consumers. Instead, they are driven to be producers of content and that is in every aspect of their lives. With this project, students will have the opportunity to be content creators. They will build a podcast studio and then create podcasts for class assignments or simply because they are passionate about doing so in their spare time.

Students will learn how to work collaboratively together to develop a space that they will maintain. Students will improve their public speaking skills and their ability to convey information in a well-thought/well-informed and responsible way.

Egg Timer Review Game, AJHS

The purchase of the Educational Insights Wireless Eggspert will impact the entire eighth-grade student body. The students will be retaining their academic knowledge and increasing their academic scores by reviewing content materials. While using the timers during the debate/whole group discussions, students will gain confidence in public speaking and better articulate their thoughts and opinions. Developing these skills in the 21st century is imperative for student’s College Readiness. The timers will be used during review games, building-wide vocabulary review, and classroom discussions around debatable topics.

Reading to Rise Above the Ordinary, AJHS

The World Language teachers at AJHS will incorporate leveled readers in our target languages to expand students’ exposure to authentic reading material and increase their fluency. Leveled readers permit differentiation, giving all students the opportunity to gain confidence by successfully reading a book in a language other than English.

Author visit: Marcie Colleen, Genesee Elementary School

Author Marcie Colleen ( will present an assembly to Genesee 4th-6th grade students in December. he will share the story of how she became the author of the Super Happy Party Bears series. The presentation includes a look into the writing process, including revision, questions and answers, and an optional dance party. By understanding the writing process from an author’s point of view, students will be motivated to revise their own writing.

Casey Park Courtyard Renovation

This project aims to utilize wasted space, improve the aesthetics of the Casey Park Courtyard, and give elementary school students an outdoor space where they can learn and enjoy nature. This project will involve a hometown architect, contractor, Casey Park students and staff, AHS Z-Club, and AECSD maintenance staff. Students involved in this project will be exposed to multiple career opportunities and gain first-hand experience working with professionals.

March Book Series by John Lewis, AJHS

John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, has created an innovative graphic novel series that covers the entire Civil Rights movement from the 1950s through the inauguration of Barack Obama.
This grant will fund the purchase of a classroom set of March, a three-book series, which is engaging and historically accurate. After reading the books, students will create a 10-page graphic novel that details another incident in American history related to social justice.

Book Vending Machine Project, Seward Elementary School

Seward Elementary School will work with Global Vending Group to bring a book vending machine to the school. Seward would utilize the vending machine in conjunction with their Positive Behavior Incentive and Supports (PBIS) program where students earn Bee Bucks (Seward’s personalized incentive system) that could be used to “purchase” tokens for use at the book vending machine. The machine will be stocked with a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that will include appropriate reading levels for students in grades K-6.

Social Justice Speaker and Books, AJHS

A classroom set of “Refugees” by Alan Gratz will be purchased for student use. Students will then hear from a speaker, a refugee from Sudan who has recently been elected to the Syracuse Common Council. Students will actively engage in classroom discussions during the speaker’s visit. This project will help students develop a social-emotional understanding of the refugee crisis on a more personal level.

Escape Room, AJHS

The escape room package, “The Disappearance of Mr. George” is a digital program where the owner can create puzzles for the players to solve using any content of their choosing. The answers to the puzzles will crack a code, and the first team to crack the code is the winner. Students will be highly engaged in this competitive format and will have to use deductive thinking and cooperative learning to solve each puzzle before receiving the next clue. Content will be from the book “The Outsiders” by SE Hinton and several short stories read throughout the school year.

Engineering Brightness, AHS

This grant will be used to sponsor a free community event that would include a presentation by John Howe and Tracey Winey, co-founders of the organization, Engineering Brightness. The community will learn about the philanthropic efforts of Engineering Brightness and what they do to help combat light poverty around the world. At the event, 3D printers will be running to show the community what a 3D printer is and how it can be utilized to solve global problems. Student projects (art, poetry, and others) will be featured at this event. The presenters will spend the following day working with students on building 25 3D-printed solar-powered lanterns. Students from each building will participate in this service learning project.

Operation Healthy Heart/Healthy Mind, AHS

This program will begin each new semester. Students will begin the semester with their pre-assessments including, heart rate recovery, blood pressure, and target heart rate for cardiovascular exercises. Students will use class time activities to improve heart health and then monitor with the heart rate monitors.

2018-2019 Grants


Visiting Author Maker Faire, All Elementary Schools

Authors Miranda and Baptiste Paul, along with Cameroon farmer Tantoh Nforba, the subject of the Paul’s book, I Am Farmer, visited each elementary school and shared how Tantoh solved water problems and developed community gardens in his country. Auburn Education Foundation funded an evening event where parents, students, and community members could learn about the experiences of the authors, illustrator, and Farmer Tantoh. The event also featured a Maker Faire in which students in grades 3-6 shared environmentally focused projects. Students, individually or in groups, identified an environmental problem and developed a solution to this problem using the design process taught in the Innovation Lab located in each elementary building. The seed money for these Labs was also funded by Auburn Education Foundation. Chosen projects were displayed at the evening event, and the students discussed their projects with attendees.

Sound Recording Technologies, Auburn Jr. High

Auburn Junior High School students interested in the technical aspects of music and visual design (stage lighting, acoustics, live sound mixing) as well as public address technologies (promethean board application, video projection) will have the opportunity to set up, facilitate, and tear down sound and audio at AJHS events (assemblies, guest speakers, meetings, award ceremonies, etc.). This will be accomplished with the purchase of a set of two wireless microphones and an earset lavalier.

First Person View Drone Project, Auburn Jr. High

With the purchase of three first person view drones, students at Auburn Junior High School will be able to describe, repair and operate these drones. AJHS students will be able to experience piloting drones remotely and acquire an understanding of drone technology. They will also have the opportunity to use them in sanctioned BOCES drone competitions.

Project Invent

The Project Invent Program provides a curriculum and gives students an opportunity to work with engineer professors from MIT to realize a solution to a global or local issue. Students involved in this program will submit projects to Project Invent and, if chosen, will travel to Silicon Valley to pitch their design to industry leaders.

Essential Modular Circuits, Auburn High School

These kits will provide students in the electronics and engineering classes at Auburn High School with simple, easy-to-understand materials from which they can build series and parallel circuits. Students will increase their understanding of circuits and their applications in modern society.

“Expanding Your Horizons” Girls STEM Conference, Auburn Jr. High

This one-day STEM conference held at Cornell University targets 7th and 8th grade girls who would not otherwise be able to participate in a program of this nature. Conference goals are to stimulate the participants’ interest in math and science through hands-on activities and to foster awareness of math and science-related careers.

Asian Elephant Live Free Coloring Book, Herman Avenue Elementary School – 5th and 6th Grade

Herman Avenue fifth and sixth grade students will have the opportunity to develop, illustrate and write captions for an innovative coloring book and assist the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Students will gain knowledge and strengthen their appreciation of endangered species, a different culture, and how to be a global citizen. Coloring books will be given to each participating student, and a copy will be sent to each elementary library. Electronic copies will be sent to the Elephant Nature Park, where profits from sales will be used to care for the animals at the park.

Advancing Literacy Skills with Karaoke, Genesee Elementary School

The purchase of a karaoke machine will allow students at Genesee Elementary School to use music and lyrics to strengthen literacy skills. Students will be motivated through music to use phonics to read and identify the link between rhythm, sound, and text.

2017-2018 Grants

Breakout Boxes, Seward Elementary School

Beth Cuddy
Breakout kits are immersive learning games. Students work in small groups and are given a series of clues that they have to solve in order to “break in” to a locked box. The activity requires the use of skills such as cooperation, critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. Students are engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated while working to solve the puzzle. These boxes can be designed to be used with any curriculum at any grade level.

MakerSpace-Combining Coding, Fashion and Micro-computers, Auburn Jr. High

Kasha Fletcher
Through learning, understanding, and applying knowledge, students will apply concepts of STEAM to create electronic functioning textiles. Students will collaborate in teams to design and electronically coded functional textile that is operable by the wearer or user of the textile. Students will be able to explain and present the process to the community.

“The Most Beautiful Roof in The World”, Seward Elementary School

Michael Vail
The students of Mr. Losani and Mr. Vail’s fifth grade classroom at Seward received an Auburn Education Foundation grant for the purchase of a classroom set of the book, “The Most Beautiful Roof in the World.” The book is a vivid encounter of a famous conservationist, Meg Lowman, and her escapades into the canopy of the rainforests of Central and South America. Students will conduct several projects while completing a unit on the rainforest using this book as a guide.

Math Board Game Library, All elementary schools

Stephan Kowalski
A series of math games will be housed in the library of each elementary school. Teachers will be able to sign out the games for use in small group instruction. The games enhance the existing curriculum and engage students in fun and relevant learning activities.

Breakout!, Auburn Jr. High

Marcella Didio
Eight complete kits will be housed in the Auburn Junior High School Library for school-wide use. The kits are an innovative way for students to demonstrate their learning. Students do not sit in seats, read from a book, look at a screen or listen to a teacher. Instead, students talk to one another about information from the book and think about how this information applies to the clue they are reading.

Breakout the Learning: Thinking Outside the Box, AHS

Christina Lupo
Five breakout kits that encourage student engagement and learning through collaborative problem solving will be housed in the high school library for teacher use. These boxes allow students to use inquiry, technology, and collaboration to work through the clues and solve problems to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. These boxes are cross-curricular and can be used in any subject area.

iPod's for Reluctant Readers, Auburn Jr. High

iPods will be used by those students who have difficulty reading independently for any length of time. Several of the seventh graders at AJHS are reading below grade level, and innovative ideas are being sought and used to engage these students. Providing these students with audiobooks that they can listen to as they read will help the reluctant reader and advance his/her literacy.

NGSS Phenomena-based 7th Grade Audubon Trip, Auburn Jr. High

Lisa Spencer
All 7th grade students will take a trip to the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah, NY. This grant pays for the cost of admission. The new state and national science standards (NGSS) focus on phenomena-based learning. Students will use this opportunity to investigate the phenomena of invasive species and their impact on biodiversity. Students will be able to experience first-hand how local ecosystems are impacted. All activities are designed to increase student understanding and awareness of this phenomenon.

Challenging Students to Break-Out, Auburn High School

Brian Bealer
Chemistry students will actually construct six breakout boxes that will then be used by chemistry classes at the high school. The boxes are based around a series of puzzles that students have to solve in order to solve the problem. They are tailored for the subject so that students have to use content knowledge to determine the answer. To encourage the group’s success, each breakout box will contain a key to a larger chest that can only be opened once every group has completed all aspects of the activity.

Fitness to the Beat of a Different Drum, Auburn Jr. High

Shelly Connors
This grant will focus on how music and rhythm can be related to fitness. The drums needed for this project were purchased by Auburn Education Foundation in a previous grant cycle. Several state and national Physical Education conferences have featured the incorporation of drumming into a fitness program to improve fitness, rhythm, and behavior. The music and physical education teachers will work together to implement POUND and Drums Alive, two types of drumming-for-fitness programs.

Sustainability Workshops – All 5th Grade Students, All elementary schools

Cayuga County Cornell Cooperative Extension educators will conduct sustainability lessons for each 5th grade classroom in the district. Through a series of hands-on interactions during class times, students learn about sustainability and the environment, including recycling, repurposing, composting, and more. District 5th grade teachers will be trained so that the program can be continued each year.

2017-18 Special Project, Genesee Elementary School

Genesee Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind team, under the direction of Mrs. Anne Mlod, challenged themselves to solve a problem in the community. They chose to focus on the fact that people do not really know about other people around the world and do not do as many kind acts as they should. With a grant from the Columbian Foundation, the team connected with Odyssey teams in other countries and sent kindness boxes. Each box contained wristbands that say “Kindness is Key,” Tootsie Pops, and Kiva gift cards to support Kiva projects which are loans to help people in poverty start a business. Boxes went to teams in Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, as well as teams in the United States. All were asked to do acts of kindness and report back to the Genesee Odyssey team.

Playground & Interactive Play Space, Preschool program at Auburn High School

A safe outdoor playground and interactive play space for toddler and preschool age children who attend the AHS preschool program. Through play activities, the children will exercise, learn new skills, challenge themselves and develop physically, mentally, and socially.

High school students collaborated with engineers, architects, and builders. These students had the opportunity to take on leadership roles, mentor other students, and work with one another.

2016-2017 Grants

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Auburn A to Z, Genesee Elementary

Marie Jesinski, Anne Mlod, Cinda Gilmore
All district fourth graders in the Auburn School District participate in the Passport to History program. Because finding primary source material written at a fourth grade level to introduce the historical sites to students has been a challenge, the students in Mrs. Gilmore’s and Ms. Jasinski’s fourth grades, working with Mrs. Mlod, will write, illustrate and publish an alphabet book of Auburn. The book will be shared with all schools and used to provide background knowledge of Auburn’s cultural and historic sites. This project is part of a larger unit with the essential question, “How does caring about the place we live, appreciating historical and cultural environments, and appreciating the past and present help us to be better citizens?”


Victoria Calarco, on behalf of all five elementary librarians
In March, author Alexandra Sly will be visiting the five Auburn Elementary Schools. Her books are about science topics and illustrated with photographs she has taken. She also offers InstaStem Video Conferences, which include an introduction to science photography and captions, photographic techniques, and a critique of student photography and captions. This funding, along with a $100 donation from each elementary school parent-teacher group, will cover the fees to have 7 students from each of the buildings and 7 students from a global partner school work intimately with Alexandra Sly. Each building will also have one entire grade level participate in writing science captions while receiving a personal critique from Alexandra. The funds will also pay to get student photography printed professionally.

STEM/NGSS: “Bone Tissue engineering: An Interactive Engineering Design Module”

Sharon Campanelli Auburn Jr. High School (all 7th grade students)
This S.T.E.M. engineering design project focuses on creating engineered bone tissue to repair “actual” bone. Students will design a cranial mesh implant for a “patient” (Styrofoam mannequin head) suffering a traumatic skull injury. Students will be exposed to the overarching ideas that engineers apply science to real-world problems – in this case, a patient’s inability to heal completely on their own. Students will also gain an understanding of interrelated organ systems in the context of bone growth and healing as the design for blood flow and tissue function. Students will explore and test how their designs address potential solutions.

World Music Drumming and Dancing, Auburn Jr. High

Lisa Edlind
This grant will fund World Music Drumming Curriculum and the instruments to accompany it.
This program will bring cultural awareness to middle school students. Ms. Edlind has ten years of experience working with this curriculum, its creator, and master teachers and drummers from around the world. Educators and administrators have reported better, more educationally integrated classes, improved attendance, and fewer discipline problems when students are involved with this program. Students learn to communicate better with fellow students and also how to lead, understand and demonstrate the techniques of cooperative teamwork. Students also will gain a better understanding and place greater value on the peoples and musical cultures of Africa and the Caribbean.

Yoga in the Classroom, Auburn Jr. High

Krisi Newton
Anti-bullying, health, and wellness and character education are common themes in American schools today, focusing on educating the whole child, mind, body, and spirit. Yoga, by nature, supports this learning. Research shows that yoga leads to academic achievement, positive behavior, and physical and mental well-being of students. This grant will allow for the purchase of mats, blocks and straps, flameless candles, room darkening shades, lavender-scented oil, and cleaner for the mats. The instructor will implement Meditation Mondays in her Health and Physical education classes a few times per semester and in an after school PBL session using the same philosophy. This proposal is part of our district initiative to enhance student social and emotional developmental health.

Sawing into the Future, Auburn High School Technology

Justin Herrling
This is to fund the purchase of a Hudson Portable Sawmill to be used in woodworking, construction, and civil engineering classes. Students will brainstorm and design projects with lumber that they will have cut and then bring their designs to fruition. Math and science teachers will be invited to work with these classes to integrate the curriculum (milling dimensioning, species of trees, and uses). The instructor also plans to have students partner with those who could help with the design and creation of structures and furniture. Students would also be able to make items needed for display, seating, and storage at the high school. Overall, students would be gaining actual experience in a field involving technology.

Seward’s Edible Outdoor Classroom, Seward Elementary School

Meredith Torrisi
The edible outdoor classroom is a student-designed edible forest garden and outdoor learning space located on the grounds of Seward Elementary School. Initiated in 2015 by Meredith Torrisi’s fifth grade class, the project encompasses the design and implementation of an outdoor learning space where students at all grade levels can connect lessons in science, math, ELA, health, and nutrition to hands-on experiences in nature. AEF awarded a grant for this project for Phase I startup. This present grant is for Phase II, which includes the building of an outdoor structure (pergola style) and establishing tree stump seating, raised beds, a pollinator garden, and compost bins.

Bottle and Can Recycling, All buildings

Sustainability Committee
This project will place containers to collect recyclable materials in classrooms and common areas, initially at AHS followed by the other school buildings. By collaborating with a variety of student groups, faculty, administration, and maintenance, this student driven project will help to address the recycling issue and provide all individuals in our schools the opportunity to help create a greener and more sustainable school.

Lorraine Barry Memorial Art Award

The Barry family gives this monetary award to an Auburn High School art teacher to spend on supplies for his/her art classes.
This award was created in 2011 by Mrs. Barry’s family. Lorraine Barry was a wife and the mother of six children. Mrs. Barry was an accomplished artist. Her works include oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, and sketches. A sampling of her art has been published in a book titled The Art of Lorraine Barry.

2015-2016 Grants


Seneca Lake Ecology Research Trip, Auburn High School

Kathleen Austin
Nearly 120 high school students explored and investigated lake ecology while aboard the Scandling research vessel on Seneca Lake. Students worked collaboratively, collecting biological, chemical, and physical data from the lake water and bottom sediments. The data was compiled and sent to Fingerlakes Institute to become part of the EPA project monitoring the health of the lake. Researcher Nadia Harvieux from the Institute of Hobart College assisted in leading student research.

National Archery Program, Auburn High School

Jason Brichard, Shelley Connors
The Physical Education Department updated and improved both the archery equipment and the curriculum. This included participation in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) which has been shown to improve school attendance and behavior. NASP is a cooperative effort between state conservation departments, school systems, and private organizations to engage students in outdoor activities. Archery is a non-discriminatory sport and can be taught through this program to almost any student of nearly any age or skill level.

Outdoor Classroom and Garden, Seward Elementary School

Meredith Torrisi
The courtyard at Seward Elementary School was turned into a regenerative edible garden. The garden classroom was opened to all students who attend Seward and was used to study science, nutrition, ecology, and environmental issues. The students were able to observe the life cycle of plants, the life cycle of the soil, and see how plants can have a symbiotic relationship with one another. Students prepared, planted, maintained, and cultivated the garden.

Matt McElligott Evening Program, All Elementary Schools

Elementary Librarians
Matt McElligott, a popular children’s author and illustrator visited Auburn elementary schools the week of March 7, 2016. This grant added an evening program for students and their families during that week. The author did an interactive presentation on his newly released book — Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster. The goal of an author visit is to encourage students to read and write.

To Kill a Mockingbird Performance at Syracuse Stage, Auburn High School

Kimberly Doan
Several English classes at Auburn High School read and discussed the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. They then attended the performance at Syracuse Stage. Seeing this particular play was an effective way to teach academic content, to increase student tolerance by providing exposure to a broader, more diverse world, and to improve the ability of students to recognize what others are thinking and/or feeling.

Filipino Culture Night, Genesee Elementary

Anne Mlod
Mrs. Mlod, Genesee School Librarian, was selected as a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow. She travelled to the Philippines in June. Students at Genesee learned about the Philippines prior to her departure. At the Filipino Culture night, students and their families tasted Filipino food, played Filipino games, and made Filipino crafts.

Creating, Collaborating and Problem Solving with Legos!, Genesee Elementary

Anne Mlod, Cinda Gilmore
Two base plates and a Lego Robotic/WeDo resource kit for students have been purchased for the students at Genesee Elementary School. These component parts supplement kits already available to the students and allow more students to learn Scratch, a free coding program from MIT that allows students to develop their own interactive stories, games, and animation. Working with these legos in this capacity help students to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively, all essential skills for the 21st century.

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Auburn Education Foundation administers privately funded scholarships to students to assist them in furthering their academic pursuits. Criteria and other information about currently available scholarships are listed below.


2022 Recipient Ryan Stechuchak
2021 Recipient Sophie Lesch
2019 Recipient: Samantha Lesch
2017 Recipient: Ryan Chalupnicki
2016 Recipient: Maggie Lesch
The Nicholas J. DeSocio Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by his loving parents, Mr. James and Mrs. Cheryl DeSocio, and sister Christine, to preserve the memory of their beloved son and brother, Nicholas (1989-2010). Nick was a kind and generous spirit who enjoyed motorsports, golfing, and fishing, and working with his hands. He was deeply loved and will be missed by a wide circle of family and close friends.
Amount: $500 (minimum)
Number Awarded: one student
Due Date: May 1, 2022
Criteria: This scholarship will be awarded to an Auburn High School student who demonstrates a strong work ethic and the values Nicholas believed in.
– First preference will be given to a student who played on the Auburn High School golf team and who
– Intends to play on the golf team at Cayuga Community College.
– If no golf student meets these requirements, the award may be given to any student pursuing an AAS (Associate of Applied Sciences) Degree at Cayuga Community College and intends to work in any technical or skilled trade-related field.

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2022 Recipients: Cameron Daddabbo, Hannah Hutchinson, Sydney Marinelli
Colleen Reilly
2021 Recipients: Abby Franchina, Allyson Tracy
2020 Recipients: Alexis Calkins, Claire Brundage, Emma Nolan, Claire Alexander, Ana Quispe Yeren, Andrew Bishuk
2019 Recipients: Baylee Kennedy, Ashley Reilly
2018 Recipients: James Bennink, Hunter Dugar, Karleigh Harris, Kennedy Wilson
2017 Recipients: Owen Baker, Nicholas Gavras, Carmen Liberatore, Salence Nguyen
2016 Recipients: Meghan Dann, Austin Dugar, Ellisyn Lupo, Tyler Mason
The Dean and Margaret LaDue Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by his loving wife, Mrs. Margaret LaDue, in 2009 to preserve the memory of her beloved husband, Mr. Dean LaDue. Dean was a respected science teacher at Auburn High School.
Amount: $500 – $2,000
Number Awarded: up to four students
Due Date: May 1, 2022 — return to AHS Guidance Office
Criteria: This scholarship will be awarded to an Auburn High School senior(s) who have:
– Maintained an academic average of 85% or greater in MATH and SCIENCE, and
– Intends to pursue a career in TEACHING MATH or SCIENCE.
– If no candidate is found meeting the above criteria, this scholarship may be awarded to a student pursuing any career related to the subjects of Math, Science, or Nursing.

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Annual Reports

To learn more about our scholarships and grants, please contact us today!

Auburn Education Foundation
PO Box 592
Auburn, NY 13021


Hours: By appointment only