PALMDALE – The South Antelope Valley Education Foundation (SAVE) held a press conference Tuesday to announce the recipient of the 2011 DREAM Award, and to hear testimonials from students who have benefited from the program.
SAVE was founded four years ago and has raised about $300,000 altogether, said Roger Gallizzi superintendent of the Palmdale School District during the press conference. This year the fundraising goal is $100,000. Funds raised often go to the fields of science, technology, arts and music.
“We typically always fund field trips for AVID students and typically every year we also do the outdoor science school,” Gallizzi said. “And then the other two dreams we fund change based on needs.”
Three former Tumbleweed Elementary students who participated in the outdoor science school last year talked about their experience during the press conference.
“It makes you learn and at the same time you have fun there,” said Dalia Calba.
The outdoor science school is a weeklong trip. Calba as well as the other students had never been away from their parents for that long before.
“It meant a lot to have the opportunity to just have fun and see what I could succeed at without my parents there,” said Calba.
Karina Medina said that the outdoor science school was a good opportunity to learn science, take responsibility for herself and learn how to get along with others.
“My favorite part of the outdoor science school was learning about science,” Medina said. “We actually did a lot of fun things too. We did night hikes and the dance and I really enjoyed myself there.”
Armando Rendon said that his favorite part of the outdoor science school was also the night hike. Seeing an owl and the sky filled with stars was something he said he had never seen before.
Steve Stucky, Tumbleweed Elementary school teacher, said they generally partner up with other schools, so the students have to learn how to get along with people outside of their circle.
“They’re learning about themselves, how to get along with others beyond their neighborhood, and for many this is the first time they’ve been outside of the Antelope Valley,” Gallizzi said. “As far as bang for the buck advantages, yes, there are educational advantages but there are also great personal advantages for every kid that gets to go.”
The Dream Award is given to someone who is very supportive of education in the Antelope Valley, said Gallizzi. This year’s 2011 Dream Award goes to the Antelope Valley Press.
SAVE’s primary fundraiser is a live and silent auction which takes place annually. This year’s Dream Award will take place at 6 p.m., November 3, at the Antelope Valley Country Club.
“At everyone’s table it’s like a bid sheet and you can just buy dreams right at the dinner table,” Gallizzi said. “We try to make the dreams affordable so that a table of eight can pitch in their money together and buy something significant.”
One example of a dream, he explained, would be a dream to have a graphing calculator.
“Graphing calculators are like $160,” Gallizzi said. “It would be pretty expensive for someone to buy 30 graphing calculators for a whole classroom. An individual person can buy one graphing calculator but if you’ve got 30 people in the room, you can make that dream come true.”
The dreams are chosen by the superintendents of four school districts, which includes Palmdale, Keppel Union, Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Elementary and Westside Union.