Giving Back – Supporting Schools and Students
March 19, 2021
Written By Adam Buckallew
Donating resources to youth and education are two of the primary ways the MFA Oil Foundation seeks to support the communities where MFA Oil does business. MFA Oil recognizes the important role of public education in building and maintaining healthy communities in the towns and cities it serves. The stronger the school system, the better prepared its students will be to contribute to the local economy as future employees.
The MFA Oil Foundation regularly gives grants to schools like St. Elizabeth R-IV in St. Elizabeth, Mo. The school recently received a grant from the foundation to purchase new Chromebook computers for its elementary students. In the 21st century digital age, computers are part of everyday life and have become an essential educational tool.
“The students use Chromebooks on a daily basis,” says Stacie Wieberg, who teaches second-grade students at St. Elizabeth. “The grant we received from the MFA Oil Foundation will allow us to purchase Chromebooks with a stylus tool, which our current computers lack. This will be a great benefit to our students and allow them to better illustrate their work more easily.”
Wieberg’s students use the Chromebooks for a variety of tasks. For example, the class planned to use their Chromebooks to buy seeds online for an upcoming hands-on lesson about gardening. From completing regular assignments to researching the science behind volcanoes, the computers allow the children to access educational information on almost any topic.
At Clearwater R-1 in Piedmont, Mo., an FFA program in its first year and a rejuvenated high school shop program were in desperate need of welding equipment and shop tools. A grant from the MFA Oil Foundation, in addition to funding from other sources, has helped the school secure the much-needed equipment.
“When we restarted our shop program, we had one arc welder, one angle grinder and a handful of wrenches and other tools,” says Kyle Mabury, Clearwater’s FFA advisor and agricultural education instructor. “It’s hard to provide the hands-on experiences our students need without tools. The grant from the MFA Oil Foundation has helped us purchase more welding and grinding equipment.”
Clearwater has 65 high school students in its agricultural education program and 30 of those students have joined the newly formed FFA program. Mabury says there was a need for more technical education opportunities in the southeast Missouri community and the funding from the MFA Oil Foundation has helped get his program “off the ground.”
Giving high school students experience with welding and other technical trades provides them with an opportunity to learn practical skills that could prove invaluable depending on their career path.
“Some of our students have never touched a welder before, and they discover it’s something they enjoy,” Mabury says. “It’s exciting to help our students explore career opportunities and skilled trades they may have never considered otherwise.”
While some grants help schools acquire educational materials, others may be used to promote the health and safety of students. Macon R-1 School District in Macon, Mo., was awarded a grant from the MFA Oil Foundation for the purchase of plexiglass panels to minimize the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. The clear plexiglass barriers are affixed to individual desks with adhesives to help block respiratory droplets from flying through the air between students and teachers.
“We installed desk shields made from acrylic plexiglass and corrugated plastic on our students’ desks,” says Shelly Schaefer, a fourth-grade teacher at Macon Elementary. “The desk shields are just one of many precautions we have taken at our school to keep our kids safe.”