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Wilson festival a win for all

Thanks to a creative fundraising idea and some generous community support, Wilson Elementary School in Denton now has more than $13,000 to purchase iPad Minis for its library.

We also understand that the school has received positive feedback from parents and grandparents who enjoyed participating in a fundraiser that didn’t require them to purchase items they didn’t want.

That qualifies as a definite “win-win” in our book, and we believe the idea used at Wilson Elementary is a great example for other schools to follow when they consider their own fundraising efforts.

School officials announced last fall that a Wilson Film Festival would be organized as a fundraiser. Individuals were encouraged to view online videos created by classes at the school and vote for their favorite by making a donation.

Using the school’s current 24 tablets, classes at Wilson Elementary filmed 30 videos for the film festival and also showed viewers how the devices were being used by classrooms.

In November, the school hosted the Wilson Red Carpet at Ryan High School to screen the films for the public and to raise donations.

News of the film festival gained national attention after an article in the Denton Record-Chronicle in October was picked up by The Associated Press. As the story spread, the school saw increases in festival donations.

The school had originally hoped to raise $30,000 to purchase 30 iPads, but decided to use the $13,400 that was raised to purchase about 25 iPad Minis to be checked out through the school library. An additional five iPad Minis are being purchased for five classrooms that each raised $1,000.

Carol Richmond, the school librarian who spearheaded the fundraiser, said she is pleased with the results.

“Thank you to the community for the support,” she said. “It was great fun, and we hope they enjoyed it, too.”

She said the school hopes to add the classroom set of tablets to the library by the first week of February.

Richmond said there are no plans to use the film festival as a fundraiser next year, but the festival could continue as a way to show how tablets are being used in classrooms.

Audrey Staniszewski, principal of Wilson Elementary, said the school is appreciative of Richmond’s efforts in putting on the fundraiser.

“We were very happy,” Staniszewski said. “We’re so appreciative and pleased by the response, and that all those monies will go to buying iPad Minis. We are so excited to get that technology, the iPads, in the hands of the kids.”

We congratulate all those involved in the Wilson Film Festival fundraiser and thank supporters who chipped in with donations.

Thanks to this unique project, a lot of local youngsters will have some exciting new technology at their disposal, and they’ve also learned a valuable lesson — making fundraising fun can pay off in a big way.