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Fore kids: School Fund outing benefits language arts, technology upgrades

By Staff | May 6, 2015

The May 16 Blue Ribbon Classic will benefit the children of the Sanibel School. There are still openings for the outing at the Sanctuary Golf Club. Included in the organizing team are Kim Kouril (left), Jeff Powers, Mike Sawicki, Barbara Von Harten, Jason Maughan, Babs Maughan, Art Cassell, Brett Kist and Rob Lisenbee. CRAIG GARRETT

The ideal event for helping island kids is planned for May 16.

The Sanibel School Fund Blue Ribbon Classic outing at the Sanctuary Golf Club will benefit The Sanibel School. Proceeds pay for a language arts instructor, software, technology and sound equipment and musical instruments, upgrades in classrooms that give students an advantage at the nationally acclaimed school.

The outing last year raised some $100,000. Organizers are hoping that more players, sponsors, raffles and auction bids will top that figure, Sanibel School Fund vice president Kim Kouril said. Players and sponsor teams are still invited to play in the outing. Individual player fees for the top tier Sanctuary course are $200, with proceeds going to the Sanibel School Fund. Organizers anticipate 26-30 teams of four players. Auction items like trips to Ireland, work by carving legend Jim Sprankle and other goodies will drive the funding goal higher than last year’s.

“Of course we’re excited to host the event,” Kouril said, “but this is all about the kids. We are excited that so many islanders are involved.”

The May 16 outing begins at 11:30 a.m. with sign-in and a cash bar, a 12 p.m. flag ceremony by scouts with Pack/Troop 140, and a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start.

Because of the Sanibel School Fund, Sanibel School has become a force in foreign language competition. The school’s Spanish Club placed among Lee County’s best in the World Language Fair 2015. Competition in March brought hundreds of students to the event, said the school’s Spanish language instructor Silvia Zavala. Several of the school’s 18 competitors finished first in dance, in videos and artwork. Others were clustered at the top with their classmates.

The children performed in April for a Sanibel School Fund booster event, drawing a standing ovation for dance.

Considering there was nada just three short years ago, the school’s performances “were amazing,” Zavala said. “At the beginning of the year I told them we’re going to have fun with this. And they did. That was the most important thing.”

“For a small school,” she said, “this is a big deal.”

The Sanibel School serves approximately 375 students in kindergarten through 8th grade that live in Sanibel or Captiva islands. It has been awarded a Blue Ribbon through the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools program, which recognizes educational institutions where students achieve overall academic excellence or for success in closing achievement gaps.

The school has also earned an “A” rating from the Department of Education for the past dozen years.