Algebra! Remember those days? Constants, variables, the quadratic equation; the formulas alone are a foreign language! Many upper level math classes require scientific or graphing calculators, like the Inspire calculator. They are very sophisticated, but also very expensive.
Konner Robison's math class at Sage Ridge School in south Reno requires such calculators. When the 17-year-old overheard a classmate tell the teacher her parents couldn't afford one, he committed to making sure no student ever goes without the tools needed to learn. How? Well, when we met him, he was making a presentation to a powerful group of area leaders; trying to raise private sector money for public school needs. He told the group that a lot of schools simply do not have access to the kind of equipment they need for students to reach the next level of education. So, he started the Scholastic Gateway Fund this year. The charitable fund has already generated tens of thousands of dollars and it on track to top $100,000 by the end of the year. "Oh, it's a great feeling. It's incredibly rewarding and I'm fortunate to be in the position I'm in and to be able to give back to those who deserve a better education," humbly explains Konner.
Konner has surrounded himself with a respected advisory board. He garnered their support by opening their eyes to what is lacking in our schools. Philanthropist Suzanne Pennington sits on the board and told us, "We visited several schools and I'll be quite frank - I didn't realize the needs out there myself until now. So, I've become very passionate about it myself."
Most recently, Konner, Suzanne and the rest of the board gave a $5,000 check to Sparks High School. Ms. Marie Espin teaches math there and was pleased to show us how the school spent the donation. They bought 44 Graphing Calculators which are available to any student who needs one. Ms. Espin says the technology has even changed the way she teaches. Before the calculators, "We'd have to pick the easier problems. Now, we're able to pick a little more difficult and they're able to really learn." Students like Wolfgang Hendrix are also grateful for the donation. Before the calculators, he says they had to write out every formula and equation. "It was a pain," he recalls. Now, he says, the calculators help him learn math visually. "It's a good representation of what we're learning in the class and everything."
Thanks to Konner's generous spirit and willingness to call on our community to join his effort, more light bulbs are now going on in math classes all across Washoe County. Any school can apply for a grant. To learn more, log onto http://www.scholasticgateway.org/
Written by Kristen RemingtonPlease "Like" KTVN Kristen Remington on Facebook