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School’s film festival great fundraising idea

We believe Wilson Elementary School’s Film Festival is a great fundraising idea, and it should pay dividends in more ways than one.

Rather than have students sell products or seek pledged donations to raise funds to purchase iPads for learning, school staff members recently launched the film festival. Each class at the school has created iPad videos that have been posted online, and through Dec. 31, people are being asked to vote for their favorite video by making donations.

Film festival officials say the school is attempting to raise $30,000 to purchase 30 iPads that can be checked out from the school’s library for classroom activities. An iPad mini will also be purchased for every class that receives donations topping $1,000, and it will remain in the classroom.

In our view, the school deserves a lot of credit for taking a different — and highly creative — approach to fundraising that should not only raise the money needed but also provide a great learning experience for students.

School staff members tell us that students enjoy using the iPads and that the devices can inspire students who might otherwise fall behind.

Currently, the school has a classroom set of 24 iPads, school librarian Carol Richmond told us, and when those iPads are rolled down to classrooms, students “are immediately engaged.” The device has helped some students focus more on classroom lessons, Richmond said.

Nearly 30 videos were created with iPads for the Wilson Film Festival. The school’s current iPads were used for the videos to show others how the devices could be used in the classrooms.

Kim Schenck, a first-grade dual language teacher, said she’s seen iPads get children who are shy or reluctant to come out of their shells, and the devices provide a resource that’s not as “threatening.” She said iPads give advanced students opportunities to create projects and “take learning to the next level.”

The school is hosting a Wilson Red Carpet event at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Ryan High School auditorium, 5101 E. McKinney St., to screen the films produced by individual classes. The event is free, but those wanting to attend must obtain tickets through the Wilson Elementary School office. The event is also another opportunity for people to donate.

To view videos submitted for the Wilson Film Festival or to make a donation, visit

Some films spotlight activities taking place in the classroom and books in the school library, while others are mysteries. The videos range from a minute and a half to 20 minutes, Richmond said. The variety is impressive.

Using iPads to inspire students in the classroom may seem like a radical, new idea to some, but it’s really just following the best traditions of education. Teachers have always sought better ways to reach and challenge their students.

We believe the idea makes a lot of sense, and we encourage area residents to support the Wilson Film Festival to help put more of the devices in students’ hands.