Friends of the Alpharetta Library make $10K donation to Alpharetta Elementary

Volunteer organization ‘adopts’ neighboring school to help fund reading, writing programs

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Students at Alpharetta Elementary will benefit from a $10,000 donation from Friends of the Alpharetta Library (FOTAL), which “adopted” the neighborhood school and funded the grant to support reading and writing programs.

“We looked for something that was above and beyond donating books [to schools], and thought, ‘why don’t we adopt a school?’” said Gerrie Fornek, a board member of FOTAL. “And since Alpharetta Elementary is just down the block, we approached the principal and told him we wanted to make a donation.”

Fornek said FOTAL raises funds primarily through monthly book sales at the downtown Alpharetta library, with the money going to a variety of library programs, as well as to support local education and students. The group funds college scholarships for Milton High and Alpharetta High students, GED scholarships at Lanier Technical Institute and regularly donates books to a foster care program in Roswell as well as to school libraries in Alpharetta and other areas.

This year, the group found itself with additional funds and looked for a worthy cause in its own backyard.

FOTAL made an initial donation to Alpharetta Elementary at the start of school; then presented the remainder during a check presentation this week.

Alpharetta Principal Adam Maroney was new to the position last summer when first approached by FOTAL about the donation, but had wonderful ideas of how to put the money to use for his 700 students.

“I was overwhelmed and amazed to learn [FOTAL] had selected Alpharetta Elementary as the recipient of such a generous gift,” said Maroney. “I was still very new in my position and wanted to use the grant judiciously to ensure the use of the funds aligned with both our school improvement plan and the mission of the Friends.”

Over the past several months, Maroney and his staff have used the funds in a variety of ways to support reading and writing initiatives.

“With the grant, we have been able to contract with a company to provide writing assessments,” said Maroney. “The data gained from these assessments has allowed teachers to better plan instruction.”

In addition, the school has purchased additional materials for the media center to support the rollout of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).

Ben Statham, president of FOTAL, said he was confident Maroney would make good use of the funding.

“He was young, energetic and full of great ideas,” said Statham, who has been a volunteer for the Alpharetta Library for more than 20 years along with his wife, Linda.

Fornek added schools are all struggling through the economic downturn, so it was gratifying to be able to help their neighborhood school in a big way.

“It was a wonderful thing to adopt this school,” said Fornek, whose two daughters-in-law are both teachers. “I know school teachers often use their own money to buy books for their classes, so we’ve been so fortunate to be able to [help] Alpharetta Elementary.”

A complete list of the many programs that FOTAL supports can be found on their website: www.fotal.org.


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