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Wolfinger Family Fund gives area school districts a boost

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Connie and Sandy Wolfinger (left) visit with students from the Northern Potter School District’s agriculture education class.

Several districts in northern Pennsylvania to benefit

OLEAN, N.Y., January 25, 2022 — The Wolfinger Family Donor Advised Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation recently provided $3,450 in support to area school districts to support a number of special projects and educational programs.

Harold “Sandy” and Connie Wolfinger established the Wolfinger Family Fund in 2019 and designed the fund to provide annual support for educational programming and enrichment opportunities for area students.

The Coudersport Area School District received $1,000, $500 each for a virtual reality project and for a sixth-grade field trip to the Challenger Learning Center of the Twin Tiers Region.

The $500 grant for the virtual reality project will help purchase Occulus Quest VR headsets that will be utilized in the school’s STEM lab by students in grades 7-12.

According to Theresa Daniels, a Coudersport school teacher, the headsets will “provide students with memorable and immersive experiences that would otherwise not be possible.”

“Virtual reality provides the ability to practice skills in a safe environment and in a manner that utilizes a participant’s motor skills, which ensures better knowledge and skill retention,” she said. “VR can transport students from their desks to the Roman ruins, let them mix volatile chemicals and see the reaction without being physically harmed, and allow them to not only see but interact with virtual worlds.”

The $500 grant for the Challenger Learning Center field trip will allow the school to take its entire sixthgrade class to the Challenger Center to experience the Rendezvous with Haley’s Comet.

The rendezvous experience allows students to experience a simulation of the flight and study of Haley’s Comet.

The Northern Potter School District received a grant of $500 that will support a project at the district to establish a food plot on the district’s forested land. The district will then utilize trail cameras to allow students to study wildlife populations, especially whitetail deer.

According to Lacey Miles, the school’s agriculture education teacher, students will work to plan, plant and maintain the plot area. Students will also soil sample using testing kits from Pennsylvania State University to understand the nutrient needs of the soil.

“This gives a range of kids the chance to learn about the unique circumstances that our school has to offer,” said Miles. “Many of our students are interested in conservation and ag mechanic careers. This project gives them a chance to explore and expand their knowledge of those possible careers.”

Ellicottville Central School received $500 to help the school provide a concert by performing artist, Jared Campbell.

Campbell uses songwriting and storytelling to encourage youth to embrace positive forces in their life. This will be the second time Campbell has performed for both elementary and middle/high school students in Ellicottville, said Bob Miller, Ellicottville Central School superintendent.

The Smethport Area School District received a grant of $500 to support the purchase of a rowing machine for the school’s fitness center.

The rowing machine will be available for use by students in grades 7-12. The machine will be available for use in physical education classes and after-school programs. According to Kim Cavallaro, Smethport physical education instructor, the rowing machine can also be an important tool in helping injured athletes rehab and recover.

The fund also provided a $950 grant to the Belvidere High School in Belvidere, NJ, to provide for the purchase of furniture and classroom materials to restructure a classroom for a high school teacher caring for some 110 students.

The Wolfingers have provided grants to the school district as it is one with a special family connection.

Sandy’s mother Dorthy Wolfinger and her sister Alice Wilhelm were lifelong residents of Belvedere and attended schools there from grades 1-12. Alice also taught kindergarten at Belvidere for many years. Sandy and all of his siblings, Ray, Carol and Kirk Wolfinger, attended Belvidere from kindergarten on. 

Donations can be made to the Wolfinger Family Donor Advised Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Olean, NY 14760 or online at cattfoundation.org

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