Westonka FabLab fundraiser exceeds goal

By Becca Neuger
FOR THE LAKER2-l-fablab-cmyk

The Westonka Engineering Program has surpassed its $40,000 fundraising goal for new equipment for the Mound Westonka High School “Fab Lab.” Approximately 375 people showed their support at the Knights of Columbus Shrimp Fry Fundraiser for Westonka engineering on March 3. The event brought the group’s fundraising total to over $44,000.

Over the past several months, the certified Project Lead the Way engineering program at Mound Westonka High School has been working to build a fab lab where students can create and make products and working models that serve as solutions to engineering problems while using industrial-standard equipment. These experiences will provide Westonka students a competitive advantage for post-secondary educational and career opportunities.

After surpassing the $30,000 fundraising mark in January, MWHS was able to purchase a Stratasys 3D printer and an Enco CNC milling machine for the fab lab. Additional funds were needed for supplies and other complementary equipment.

To help make the fab lab a reality, the Westonka District 277 Foundation was able to match fundraising efforts with an additional $2,000 Bill Gillespie Grant Award this year. This was in addition to a 2016 grant awarded to the engineering program by the Foundation.
Event organizers shared their appreciation for everyone involved with the fab lab fundraiser—particularly the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus for hosting the shrimp fry, the District 277 Foundation for its ongoing support, the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association for its generous donation, and engineering teacher Dale Kimball and Westonka Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Mark Femrite for their leadership.

A special thanks also goes to MWHS junior Amy Howarth, senior Brian Burriss and sophomore Joe Fasching, who ran fundraising events, manned sales tables and/or presented to the Knights of Columbus on the fab lab needs. Finally, organizers thanked all of the Westonka students, parents, staff, administrators and many private donors who showed their support.

The Westonka District 277 Foundation is dedicated to enhancing student learning opportunities in Westonka Schools. Each year, the Foundation brings ideas to life by awarding grants to programs, training and projects.

Since the first grants were awarded in 1997, over 170 projects and ideas have come to life thanks to the generous gifts of donors. The foundation has provided well over $130,000 for learning experiences that do not receive funding from the general school district budget. To learn more about how you can get involved with the Westonka District 277 Foundation, call (952) 491-8267 or visit them on the web at www.westonka277foundation.org.

Westonka Public Schools is committed to offering high quality programs that maximize every student’s abilities and interests. In recent years, Westonka has implemented a districtwide engineering curriculum that provides challenging, collaborative and supportive learning experiences and ignites passion in students for the STEM fields. The goal is to help all Westonka students to be more fully prepared for their post-high school education and careers.

The program includes the Engineering is Elementary program at Hilltop and Shirley Hills primary schools; a range of STEM courses at Grandview Middle School; and the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering program at Mound Westonka High School. The PLTW Engineering Program at MWHS is a certified program offering students college credit-bearing courses.
To learn more, visit the Westonka Engineering page on the district website www.westonka.k12.mn.us.