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Rochester Public Schools Foundation awards more than $12,000 in grants

The organization has provided more than $550,000 since 1988.

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Mayo High School senior Addie Cayou demonstrates a new adaptive trike, funded with a grant from the Rochester Public Schools Foundation.
Jordan Shearer / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Why tell someone about your brand new set of wheels when you can show them instead?

That's exactly what Mayo High School senior Addie Cayou did Tuesday night at the Rochester School Board meeting. She started in the back of the boardroom and peddled her way up the middle aisle in a sleek adaptive tricycle.

The Rochester Public Schools Foundation funded the purchase of multiple tricycles through its recent grant cycle. In total, the Foundation awarded $12,315 in grants for various projects. The organization has provided more than $550,000 since 1988.

"What we're looking for is something that could be scaled — something that, if successful, might just be implemented districtwide," Justin Cook from the Foundation said.

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Mayo High School senior Addie Cayou demonstrates an adaptive trike, provided with a grant from the Rochester Public Schools Foundation.
Jordan Shearer / Post Bulletin

Cook also said the Foundation looks for projects that aren't currently available in the district, that offer unique and innovative learning experiences and are defined by certain goals.

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The Foundation awarded funding to seven applications. There were 13 applications submitted.

In addition to the adaptive tricycles, the Foundation's grants will help fund collaborative clubs at Riverside Central Elementary, ukuleles for students in the district's online school, sensory rooms for a couple different programs in the district, and two different projects involving the creation of garden spaces.

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No matter how much the district's decision-makers applauded the projects, their words never could match the smile on Cayou's face as she peddled down that aisle to the sound of everyone clapping and cheering her on.

The grant will add six of the tricycles to the district's fleet of bicycles in its Safe Routes to School program. The program is held at the various elementary schools to help students learn how to bike safely.

Andrea Bacon, a developmental adapted physical education teacher, said they are not traditional adaptive tricycles. One of the benefits of that, she said, is that they're a lot more affordable. She went on to talk about several of their other benefits.

"It doesn't carry the stigma of a big, clunky expensive adaptive bike. And everyone wants to ride them, even the adults," Bacon said. "A lot of our students, when they get older, are going to use bikes and trikes as a means of transportation, so we want them to be able to ride these in the community safely."

RPSF Grant Awards by inforumdocs on Scribd

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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