CNE Foundation Grants fuel educational opportunity for students

By Dick Maloney

 CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (October 8, 2020) – Rockets, no matter how large powerful, need fuel. The Clermont Northeastern Education Foundation propels the 1,400-plus students in the district.

Since 2015, the Foundation has awarded more than $44,000 to teachers and classrooms across the district. The latest grants, totaling $7,794, were announced in September, and cover everything from radio transmitters for turtles to 3D printing materials and T-shirts. CNE teachers apply online for the grants, which this year totaled $7,794.

Eric Brown, the CNE Education Foundation president, discussed the grants:

How this year’s recipients were chosen: 


“The Foundation’s goal is to provide additional tools for the teachers and students to improve educational opportunities above and beyond what the school budget provides. The grant amount limit is based on the number of students impacted, from a classroom in a grade, to a department (i.e. science or language arts), a building (elementary, middle or high school) and the entire district. The application specifies all the pertinent details, how it will improve educational opportunities for students, how long the expected benefits will last, etc …

“This year’s recipients were chosen on the above criteria after review of the applications and discussion and approval from each building’s principal.”

How much money is dedicated to the grants?

“That is somewhat determined by how much the Foundation is able to raise in a year through donations and fundraising events and projects. Since 2015 we have been able to grant $44,000 to the students and educators in the Clermont Northeastern District.”

 Why the process is important to foundation and to the community

“It is important to the community because it helps us ‘Build Better Rockets,’ which has a positive impact on the community as these students grow up and go out into the world. It is important to the Foundation because we are simply a group of parents, alumni, and community members that want to make a great district the best it can be.”

Clermont Northeastern High School seniors pose after the academic signing ceremony in May 2019. (Photo by Dick Maloney.)

Is there anything else you would like to share about the foundation

“We are constantly looking for new members for the Foundation, knowing that there are lots of talented people in our CNE community that can take the CNE Foundation to new heights of success. An influx of new members would bring new ideas and energy to the Board and that will ultimately have a big influence in the success of our students. The Board generally meets once a month on the third Wednesday of each month, so the time commitment is not extravagant. We would love to have increased involvement from parents, grandparents, alumni, educators, business leaders, and anyone that wants to improve the educational opportunities for the students in our great district!”

A rundown of the awarded grants, with comments from selected high school teachers:

CNE High School

Scott Wells – radio transmitters for “Turtles and Telemetry” project

Wells’s zoology classes have been tracking Eastern box turtles in the nature preserve behind the school, using GPS systems, transmitters, radio antennae and receivers.

‘This is us doing real science,” Wells said last year. “I just can’t get over how unique it is and how these kids, I’ve never seen any of my science kids get so caught up in this and doing their own research on their own time and figuring things out on their own because I don’t know all the answers. This is all new to me as well. But they’re growing their own education.”

Clermont Northeastern High School zoology teacher Scott Wells and students with “Hank,” on of the Eastern box turtles they have been tracking in the nature preserve behind the school, in September 2019. (Photo by Dick Maloney.)

Chris Moore – HP laptop with touchscreen and backlit keyboard

Moore is the band teacher for grades six through 12, and subjects include Drama, History of Rock, Music Theater and Modern Rock Ensemble. He also assists with the mixed choir. He has been at CNE 16 years.

“Last year, my laptop died. I used it to arrange music for bands, marching drill patterns for the Marching Rockets, we run the orchestra programs and backdrops for the school musicals. I’ve even used it to DJ middle school dances.

 “So far this year, I’ve made it through most of the marching season hand-writing drill and using music that was already arranged. 

The kids really miss having newer music arrangements and being able to visualize their marching drill. We also needed to get a decent laptop so we could live stream our concerts and other events at the school. It also needed to have a backlit keyboard to use during musicals in the dark and a touch screen to work with the drill writing software.”

Grant money from the Clermont Northeastern Education Foundation will help refurbish trackers for the “Turtles and Telemetry” project in Scott Wells’s CNE High School zoology class. (Photo by Dick Maloney.)

Jill Stegemann – Academic Signing Day

Stegemann is a 1987 CNE graduate who has taught in the district for 17 years. She is an intervention specialist and organizes the district’s academic signing day each spring, which is modeled after the national initiative called Better Make Room that recognizes seniors who have committed to continue their education at a two-year or four-year college, a trade school, or the US Military. The first ceremony was in 2017; the 2020 ceremony was cancelled.

“We use the grant money for supplies for the event (decor, balloons, certificates), and for a gift for each student. That gift has ranged from bags of candy to t-shirts over the years,” Stegemann said.

“Each year, the celebration gets better! Many parents and students are appreciative of this event, because it recognizes each student who is continuing their education, not just the best student or the best athlete. Also, we recognize students who are going into trades, not just college. It really is a great experience for all, and gives each of those students a ‘moment’ to be recognized!

Hannah Reinke – Equipment for physical education

Reinke is in her second year teaching physical education and weight training at CNE High School. She will use the money for archery targets, adjustable nets and cricket equipment.

“All these items are very exciting additions to the physical education program at CNE. One of the goals of the program is to introduce students to new and diverse forms of movement,” Reinke said. “This equipment will provide meaningful opportunities for students to engage with, learn about, and move through new forms of physical activity. These items also encourage the use of movements that are socially distanced and add extra aspects of safety that are vital in this unique school environment.”

Michael Tabor – University of Cincinnati Stock Market game (13 teams)

Tabor teaches American Government, Military History, War in the 20th Century and Pre-1500 World History.

“The money was used for my American Government students to participate in the University of Cincinnati’s Stock Market Game. It is going to help my students build a fundamental understanding of investing while providing them with real world skills practice in math, English Language Arts, economics, social studies and other subjects. Students get to buy and sell stocks in order to build a portfolio, as well as compete with other students from the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country.”

Cihan Taktak – 3D printing materials

The computer science teacher will use his grant money to buy supplies for the 3D printers in his classroom, and make them available to teachers throughout the district.

“In the past I have printed visual aids for classrooms such as military implements like trebuchets, catapults and historical buildings. I have also printed models that were designed for students for projects used in other classrooms for presentations, artwork etc … “ Taktak said.

“Last year I worked with several elementary teachers and they brought their elementary students over and I was able to do several presentations about how 3D printers work and how they are used and the students were able to observe several of the printers printing models that were designed by students.”

Bernadette Wayne – Link Leader T-shirts

Wayne is the faculty coordinator for the Link Crew, helps students transition from middle school into high school. CNE has had a Link Crew for two years.

“The Link Crew has done a great job helping ninth-graders transition from the middle school to the high school through our freshmen orientation and regular meetings with student mentors. The program has had a tremendous impact on our school community and we look forward to its continued success,” CNE High School Principal T.J. Glassmeyer said.  

Middle School

Joni Bacon – Boardmaker Online Professional. Boardmaker helps assign and manage student activities.

Darlene Porter – Moby Max Annual subscription for 10 students. Moby Max is an online tool designed to help close learning gaps.

Alexis Sanders- Two iPads for student use.

Elementary School

Megan Goldfuss – Speech Language Pathology Now

Lisa Larimore – Premium Edulastic subscription for three math and science teachers. Edulastic is an online assessment tool.

Kelly Stitzel – Flexible seating and noise reduction earmuffs.

Christen Mulvihill – Class set of “Littsie of Cincinnati,” a book about Irish immigrants in 1830s Cincinnati.

Susan Putnam- Edulastic Teacher Premium upgrade for four teachers.

Amy Becker – Subscription to