Helping out the rest


Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For the 2012-2013 school year, eight Downey High School teachers have been awarded grants reaching a total of over $40,000, from the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation, for classroom goals they want to accomplish. According to Denise Takano, $440,000 has been given for teacher projects in the Downey Unified School District.

Teachers Mr. Hansen, Ms. Puente, Ms. Cordova, and Mr. Thompkins each received grants for up to $4,500 for projects ranging from purchasing curtains for the drama class to updating the advanced photo studio.  Teachers Mr. Harris, Ms. Berumen, and Mr. Durkee, also individually received grants for up to $3,000 to enhance their classroom needs. Mr. Redfox received the highest cash prize of $27,000 from the Mary Stauffer Foundation.

Created by Stauffer herself, in 1992, the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation has given numerous donations to the people and institutions within the Downey community.

Recipients of these cash must use the money for what they requested in the grant proposal. Usually, the foundation sends out invitations for individuals or groups to apply for funds to implement projects they are interested in.

As a teacher for the Introduction to Engineering class, Redfox needed the $27,000 grant to update the five-year old computers used in his classroom.

“These computers are really old,” Redfox said. “We weren’t getting new computers and we needed to update our software.”

The Mary R. Stauffer Foundation has not forgotten the students. Many middle school and high school students have received checks ranging from $100 to $500 because of exemplary grades. Junior Cristina Lee-Castro was awarded a $100 and a $500 check in her sixth, and seventh grade years in middle school, respectively. Although she received the highest cash donation of $500 four years ago, Lee-Castro maintains a significant amount of respect for Stauffer.

“I would thank her so much for awarding me with such a huge honor, and I would also thank her for making me feel proud and good about myself,” Lee-Castro said, “but most of all, I would thank her for helping my parents to start saving up money for college.”

Although her foundation was started over twenty years ago, Stauffer has maintained the energy and dedication to making the Downey community thrive. The money her foundation has given out has helped create programs, such as Project Lead the Way, an engineering program at Downey that exposes students to a world they might not otherwise have explored. By her charitable contributions, many students have the opportunity to expand on their growing knowledge. Many cannot thank her enough, but Stauffer says she’s only doing her job.

“God made me that way, I guess,” Stauffer said. “It was the way I was raised. It is the right thing to do.”

No matter the circumstances, Stauffer still makes hefty donations to her community. Even during the economic recession, she was still fortunate to assist others; however, at the end of the day, Stauffer believes that we as a whole population should work together to create a better environment.

“I just do my part,” Stauffer said. “We should all do our own part.”