Riverdale Mill gives out grants

Published 9:36pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just like in years past, the Riverdale Mill International Paper Co. plant handed out more than $60,000 in grant funding to local organizations and schools Tuesday during a luncheon at the Tally-Ho. Of the 28 grant recipients, two were local non-profit organizations with the 26 others being Selma and Dallas County public schools.

The grant amounts ranged anywhere from $500 to $5,000 and schools received grants for literacy promotion as well as environmental learning supplies.

“The Riverdale Grant Review Committee received 58 grant applications this year, requesting more than $169,000 in funding,” IP mill manager Jim Bruce said in a press release. “We are pleased to award these grant funds today to our local schools and non-profit groups, and we know these organizations and schools will use the funds to impact our community in a positive way.”

As the checks were handed out, one check was especially tearful.

On the Saturday prior to the luncheon, Terry Bean, teacher at R.B. Hudson Middle School, passed away from an illness and did not get to see the grant he applied for come to fruition.

Principal Logan Searcy accepted the grant Tuesday for classroom sets of novels on Bean’s behalf while other R.B. Hudson employees held back tears.

“I thought it was such a tribute to him that he was still so engaged and active in his teaching at his school,” Pam Frasier, IP training manager said. “He was doing not just the regular, but going above and beyond and submitting a grant for his school. I think that is special.”

While many schools received grants like the R.B. Hudson grant for literacy, several received grants for environmental education.

Martin Middle School received a $1,200 grant to purchase literature about recycling and recycling containers for school.

Grant writer Jami Horne from Martin Middle said she could use this grant for all types of children at Martin.

“I work with special education children as well so I would love to find a way to get the special education kids, along with the rest of the school, to really get involved in recycling,” Horne said.

Selma High School received a literacy grant for $4,150 to purchase materials, printing and publication costs to gear up their student-run newspaper once again. The school journalism club will restart the paper led by the club’s faculty sponsor Crystal Smith.

“This is one of my favorite days on the job,” Frasier said. “As a teenager my dad was always on to me saying, ‘You don’t need to spend that money.’ And then I’m an adult, I have a job and I get rated for the year on whether or not I spend all the money I have. It’s a wonderful thing, we gave it all away, and there are a few happy faces around.”

The grants were provided through the International Paper Foundation and they are specifically to help local schools and agencies.

“We feel like the involvement of Riverdale employees in these schools and organizations can bring even greater value,” Bruce said. “I’d like to thank all of the teachers and agency representatives for the work they do as well as thank our employee volunteers and the mill’s grant review committee for the efforts.”

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