Hands-on projects and teaching moments
We were very successful in business in Sandpoint, and we enjoy giving back to the community. We feel that Panhandle Alliance for Education is a well-organized group with a fabulous executive director, good and enthusiastic people on the board, and great volunteers. So when we initiated our Idaho Community Foundation endowment in 2006, we specified PAFE to administer the annual proceeds in the form of local teacher awards for math and science education.
This past year, we directed the proceeds of our endowment to PAFE to distribute to the school district to address particular needs brought about by the Covid-10 pandemic. Those needs included professional development for teachers pivoting to online instruction; scholarships for all-day kindergarten; and relief for families in desperate social and emotional need. Our community needed a lot of financial help to respond to the Covid problem, and we felt better helping out with that.
Historically we’ve been very happy with all the teacher grants PAFE has chosen for our award. A recent one we admired was to a teacher who used funds to take kids to the grocery store and teach them how to shop there. How far can you make your allotted money go? How much money would it take to buy the things you need? How far does one single dollar go? How much good will a particular product do for you? We thought these were terrific and practical math lessons – staged in our local markets, no less.
We also loved funding a recent project for fifth graders. Two teachers bought various pieces of furniture and had the kids design how this furniture should go into classrooms to support easier, better learning and teamwork. We always like a hands-on project, and we thought this one was so creative.
Because of our history with the Sandpoint Airport, we love opportunities for students interested in aviation. There have been many successes: Sandpoint High School graduates are in responsible positions at NASA and working as jet pilots for commercial airlines and in the military. There is so much talent here.
More broadly, we like technology and believe that math and science are the keys to the future. Seeing kids develop their individual ideas, become self-reflective, and learn how to work and get excited together on math, science, and technology projects – that’s what education should be about. PAFE grants contain teaching moments for all those things.
Dave and Laurie Wall have lived in Sandpoint since 1973 and owned the Evergreen Ford dealership. Starting in the late 1980s, Dave was chairman of the Bonner County/Sandpoint Airport commission for 12 years, during which the airport was awarded a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to expand to accommodate jets. Laurie is retired from her position as manager of First American Title Company.