Education foundation annual fun run and walk benefits Hermiston schools

<p>Rebecca Berger and Emi Ramos finish a 5-kilometer run during the Heritage Education Foundation fundraiser Saturday at Sandstone Middle School. The HEF Fun Run raises money to support teachers and students in the Hermiston School District.</p>

Approximately 150 participants gathered at Sandstone Middle School on Saturday to take part in the eighth annual Heritage Education Foundation Fun Run and Walk to raise money for a program that aims to provide an enhanced educational experience for students in the Hermiston School District.

The HEF Fun Run and Walk included a one mile and a 5-kilometer event. The proceeds from the fundraiser will support programs and resources that are beyond the financial means of the school district.

As runners crossed the finish line, teachers and event organizers described the benefits the program can have upon local students and schools.

Event co-organizer Jeff Snell, of Eastern Oregon Physical Therapy, said the program provides teachers access to grants for a wide variety of educational tools.

“We try to do what we can,” Snell said. “This event raises money to help the schools and help the kids. Teachers have an opportunity to fill out grant requests for projects in science, the arts, whatever they need.”

HEF Secretary Anne Fialka said the foundation helps augment the educational experience for students by providing resources such as cutting-edge technology like digital cameras and promethean boards. Promethean boards are an interactive educational tool that, according to the company website, “create an engaging and interactive learning experience with the ability to focus attention and keep curious minds interested in lesson content.”

“We do everything from technology like the promethean boards to buying books for students,” Fialka said. “We provide the means for science projects, admissions for students to go on field trips and things that are going to enhance students’ learning experience.”

Rocky Heights Elementary School teacher Lindsay Murdock received grants from the HEF in the past and said the funding provides tangible results for her students.

“I’ve received two grants in the past,” Murdock said. “It’s been a phenomenal way to get things that we don’t necessarily have money for in our classroom budgets that the school gives us. It allows us to get the things that we need to run things in a more productive way.”

The Hermiston Education Foundation is a non-profit public benefit corporation. According to its website, the stated goal of the organization is “to promote, facilitate and carry out academic endeavors aimed at enriching the student experience in the Hermiston School District.”

During the last eight years, the HEF has raised nearly $216,000 for Hermiston schools.

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