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Skyridge school seeks your vote

Parents trying to win $5K Raley’s grant for the Life Lab
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Some Skyridge Elementary parents have launched a campaign for the community’s vote. They’d like to win a $5,000 grant from Raley’s supermarkets for the school’s Life Lab. “It needs a new irrigation system. It needs new planter boxes. It needs to be cleaned up and weeded,” parent Tania Wanlass said Tuesday about the Life Lab. Competing schools are listed on Raley’s Reach at the raleys.com website and the voting period ends Friday, Sept. 23. “We’re up against the entire Sacramento region,” Wanlass said. “For us it includes a very large area, including high schools. We’re making a good go at it. But if we had a lot of Auburn support, we would be able to get the grant.” As of Tuesday afternoon, Skyridge had 265 votes on the website. “The $5,000 is a huge amount for a school to get,” said Courtney Loveday, vice president of the Parent Teacher Club who submitted the application on behalf of Skyridge. “We’re the only school in Auburn to apply and it would be great if we could get more than Skyridge parents voting.” If their dreams come true, the goal is to turn the Life Lab into a year-round project. “The kids tend it (during the school year),” Loveday said. “No one tends it in the off-season. So if we could get someone to take it over in the summer — the children aren’t really focused on it then — it would be nice if when kids come back from summer, it is ready to go instead of having a big cleanup day after school starts. Because, by then, the homework and projects have begun.” The Parent Teacher Club funds numerous school projects, but there’s not enough to cover the Life Lab. “The biggest things we fund are the computer lab and the librarian,” Loveday said. “We joined forces with the Auburn Education Foundation to fund the librarian. The computer lab is funded completely through PTC and we have huge list on our website (of other projects) we have up and running. We spend about $40,000 a year and are always looking for donations and volunteers. We’d love to find a way to get more people involved with the school.” At the Raley’s corporate office, spokeswoman Jennie Teel-Wolter said the Reach program was started in honor of the company’s 75th anniversary in 2010. “We do it twice a year and this is our fourth cycle,” she said. “The first time we did it, it was open to any nonprofit organization. What we found is there was a really big need for schools. So, in the fall, the back-to school edition is only for schools.” The competition is open to all accredited K-12 schools in the covered regional areas. “We saw 30 percent growth this time in the number of schools that applied,” Teel-Wolter said. For this cycle, one school in each of the five geographical areas will win a grant. “Giving back to the schools is one of the most important things we can do. And there’s such a great need in the education community with schools facing so many cuts,” she said. “So it is a way for Raley’s to work with our customers to make a difference in the lives of our students.” Voters must register at the Raley’s Reach site and are allowed one vote per person per day,” Wanlass explained in an email. For Skyridge PTC member Kristen Wingate, getting the community’s support to win would be “awesome because it is a great opportunity to help our kids.” “We are a small town and small school,” said Wingate, who is chairwoman of the book fair. “Some of the larger schools in the Sacramento area are really clobbering us now in the vote because they have so many people to draw from. …Kids have been going down (to the Life Lab) during recess break and pulling weeds. The kids are really into it. This is not something we should let fall into disrepair. It is a great learning experience for them.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. -------------------------- Where to vote: raleys.com/reach