Stephens Middle School is one of 48 schools and two school districts around the country that will receive $100,000 each from Target this year.

It’s the only school in Oregon to get one of the grants with a combined total $5 million. Viewers of the Ellen DeGeneres Show were invited to submit the name of a school in need along with a explanation of why the school should receive a grant from Target.

When Stephens’ Library Media Assistant Mercede Ogan heard about the grant, she knew she needed to apply, according to Salem-Keizer’s website. In her grant application Ogan talked about her students and how they inspired her.

“Our students work so hard and their perseverance is astounding,” she said, “I simply wanted to return to them what they do for me every day.”

Target selected the schools based on a number of factors, including poverty rate.

“We are contributing a total of $5 million to schools and districts across the country in hopes of inspiring learning and putting more kids on the path to graduation, ready for college, a career and life,” said Laysha Ward, president of community relations at Target.

Principal Matt Biondi said he was waiting for more details about the grant, but he believes the school will get a lot of flexibility to decide how best to spend the money.

A few ideas include intervention support especially after school, improving literacy with more books for classroom libraries or ones students could keep, investing in technology or even an activity bus that could take kids home after tutoring or activities.

The money works out to be about $100 per student.

Biondi hopes to narrow down the ideas as soon as he knows more about the grant.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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