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Gravesend teachers win funding from Sonic Drive-In’s donation project

By Noah Singer

GRAVESEND — Sonic Drive-In’s Limeades for Learning program awarded three teachers at P.S. 212 Lady Deborah Moody school in District 21 with funding to purchase teaching tools last month. 

The program, conducted in partnership with nonprofit donorschoose.org, donated $1 million to teachers across the country during the month of October. Schools in New York City received $15,029 in total for winning projects, distributed among 13 educators at seven schools. 

Teachers posted proposals on donorschoose.org, explaining how their requested tools would improve students’ learning experiences and detailing the items’ costs. 

Throughout October, Sonic fans visited limeadesforlearning.com to read the proposals and to cast votes for their favorites. 

Winners included P.S. 212 kindergarten teacher Amy Rodriguez, who was awarded funding for four projects. One of her proposals, “Ear-Resistible Learning With Headphones,” asked for replacements for classroom headphones that were beginning to show heavy wear and tear and that had started to have volume problems. 

On Nov. 1, Rodriguez posted an update on the DonorsChoose website, thanking voters for their help. “In the last two days I was able to teach my small group with zero interruptions as the volume was no longer an issue,” she wrote. 

“For nearly all of Sonic’s 67 year history, franchisees and operators have supported local community efforts, often their local public schools,” Christi Woodworth, vice president of public relations for Sonic, told this paper. “We believe that teachers are entrepreneurs, great problem solvers and know what their students need to succeed.” 

P.S. 212 fourth grade teacher Toni Ann Piscopo also received funding for four projects, to purchase iPads, cases and charging equipment to aid her students’ STEM learning.

“My ELL students can use Google Translate to help translate math into their native language so they can keep up with the lessons and not feel lost and confused,” Piscopo explained in her proposal. 

After receiving the iPads, she wrote, “The glow on [my students’] faces and the sparkle in their eyes was amazing.”

Fellow teacher ToniAnn Murray’s winning project, “Cozy Independent Reading Nook,” asked for chairs, pillows and a bean bag chair in order to create a comfortable classroom space for reading. 

“Thank you for helping my students build their reading stamina in a fun and relaxing way,” wrote Murray.

When asked about Sonic’s use of public online voting to select winners, Woodworth explained, “Sonic puts its $1 million donation into the hands of guests and fans by asking them to vote for the teachers’ projects they want Sonic to support. We love giving our guests and fans a voice in giving back.”

To learn more about the program, visit limeadesforlearning.com.

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