Two anonymous Marion County Public School graduates donated $20,000 to the Public Education Foundation of Marion County’s (PEFMC) Grants for Great Ideas program on Friday, April 29.
Gordon Glover, president of the PEFMC Board of Directors, announced the donation during an event that was held this past Friday at West Port High School in Ocala.
The grant will allocate funding to students in need, including mental health and wellness initiatives. According to MCPS, the donation is a direct tie-in to Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Leah Bender’s platform and her efforts to create new strategies to help tackle student mental health issues.
During the event at West Port High School, an acrylic Golden Apple Horse named “Apple” was also unveiled. The horse’s name was collectively chosen by previous recipients of the Golden Apple title.
The Golden Apple Horse, which was created in partnership with the Marion Cultural Alliance, was donated in memory of Whit Palmer, a former PEFMC board member and advocate for public schools. The horse was brought to life by artist Gene Hotaling, a retired MCPS teacher and 2001 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year.
Each year, the Golden Apple Horse will move to the campus of the county’s latest Teacher of the Year. This move will always fall on the last Friday of April to tie into Teacher Appreciation Week during the following week.
For more information, contact Public Education Foundation of Marion County Executive Director Meghan Magamoll via phone: 352-671-4167 or via email: [email protected].