SOPHIE SHATZKY/CYPRESS STAFF
With a milestone of 25 years funding faculty-led initiatives and courses under its belt, the Brookline High School Innovation Fund hosted a gala on Thursday, Oct. 28. The gala included student a cappella performances, an art gallery and keynote speakers.
SOPHIE SHATZKY/CYPRESS STAFF
As moonlight emerged, a procession of over a hundred adults dressed in their finest flowed into the colorfully lit 22 Tappan building to celebrate the Brookline High School Innovation Fund’s 25-year anniversary. The event, held on Thursday, Oct. 28, lasted from 7-10 p.m. and featured student a cappella performances, an art gallery and keynote speakers. Tickets were $250 each, and all proceeds went towards the Innovation Fund.
The Innovation Fund, founded in 1998, is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding faculty-led initiatives at the high school to create and implement new courses. Chair of the Innovation Fund’s Board of Directors Maureen Fallon explained how the organization catalyzes these efforts.
“We give teachers grants, and they get time during the school day to create new courses and curricula,” Fallon said. “The goal is that after two to three years of working on the logistics of the course, the course is implemented and taught by whomever created it.”
In the last 25 years, the Innovation Fund has helped create over 30 courses including Global Leadership and Climate Science and Social Change. Fallon said the Innovation Fund lives up to its name because it allows students to learn about current events and social issues.
“The innovation part of it is that teachers are bringing in these ideas that address current events and real world issues,” Fallon said. “These types of courses really teach [students] skills for addressing these issues as they move on to college and adulthood.”
Throughout the night, student a cappella groups including Perfect Pitch, Glee Club, Bass Value and Note-a-fy performed. Leader of Note-a-fy senior Lily Kaufman said she felt proud to support the Innovation Fund.
“I’m so honored Note-a-fy was invited to perform at this event,” Kaufman said. “There are so many important classes that need funding, and it’s really important that people’s educations aren’t hurt by a lack of funding.”
Several parents of current and past students attended the event. Gioia Perugini, the parent of an alum, said that while many of the Innovation Fund’s courses begin with a smaller number of students, the organization’s assistance really allows the courses to flourish.
“Even if there’s a smaller number of kids who are in the pilot courses, [the courses] eventually become a part of the high school, and the district takes them on,” Perugini said. “My daughter was in Kate Leslie’s Social Justice class, which was started with the Innovation Fund, and this class was absorbed into the curriculum. Now, so many students know about the course and have access to it, which is terrific.”
Melissa Hale-Woodman, the parent of a current student, stressed the importance of supporting creativity and variance in course options.
“Whether students participate in the classes or not, [the Innovation Fund] gives them really exciting choices,” Hale-Woodman said. “Some people don’t have a choice in what they study, and I think that giving [students] outlets to explore beyond what is state mandated is important.”