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BVA Fund Announces Second Round of Grants

BVA Fund announces second round of grants

    The BVA Charitable Fund is underwriting costs of establishing a “school store” as part of its latest round of grants to students and staff.

    The board of directors has approved $4,498 for the purchase of a mobile kiosk for the high school, where Graphic Design and Marketing classes will sell items such as shirts, mugs, bracelets and water bottles that they design and produce.

    Proceeds from the sale of student-made goods will be deposited into a special activity account and be used to fund the development of other school-related items and larger scale projects.

    The BVA Fund board also has granted $692 to Marion Elementary School teachers Amy Vaccaro and Sarah Murphy to create a habitat to raise butterflies, a project that will enable students to understand the symbiotic relationships among insects, plants and human and life cycles.

     The latest grants bring to $15,050 the total amount of money awarded by the three-year-old non-profit group for the current academic year for creative projects that enhance educational opportunities in the Belle Vernon Area School District.

     The mobile kiosk, once established and sales are underway, is intended to be a long-term, self-sustaining project to enable design and media students to gain multiple experiences ranging from design and production to soft skills such as marketing, budget management and customer service.

     “Students will be afforded the experience of running a business in a real world way, using skills they have learned in our classrooms and learning labs,” said Matt Horzempa, who teaches the Graphic Design and Marketing classes. “Students will be motivated to produce high-quality sales items. School spirit will be enhanced by these BVA-designed products.”

     The Marion butterfly project will involve “seeding” spaces with butterfly larvae and then observing their metamorphosis up close outdoors and in classrooms as they transform into caterpillars and then adults. The butterflies will be released into a garden area to continue their life cycle.

     In December, the BVA Fund granted $9,860 for six projects, the biggest of which is providing $5,000 in matching money to science students for cross-collaborative development of a greenhouse and garden to be used as a learning space and a community resource for growing food for classes and local food banks.

     The 12-member board of directors cited growing relevance, acceptance and public support of the non-profit organization to enable it to increase the number and amounts of grants for unique, creative school projects beyond what is available through the school district’s operating budget.

    Its largest annual fund-raising event will be held May 4 at Amulet Farms in Rostraver – BVA Derby Day II, sponsored this year by CSC Insurance Options. Information and tickets are available on-line at