Two Central High School students were surprised Thursday morning with news that the grants they applied for through the La Crosse Public Education Foundation will be funded.
Sara Brekke, a sophomore at Central, applied in October for standing desks to be added to classrooms around the building.
"This summer I was really active in cross country and always doing stuff," she said. "One of my biggest dreads coming back to school was having to sit for so long everyday."
Central currently has two standing desks, both in a math classroom, for students to use. Brekke's grant request will add two more.
"I know a lot of students are bothered by sitting," she said. "You get fidgety, you're not as awake."
The desks sit in the back of the classroom, minimizing distractions and giving students who would rather stand, or, who don't fit comfortably into a regular desk, another option.
"I know when I'm standing at the desk it definitely gives me more energy," she said. "I'm more awake and I can focus better."
Elijah Dannhoff, a senior, also found out a portion of his grant proposal will be funded.
He applied for a tig welding machine for the metals class at Central.
"My junior year I was in a competition for welding and a lot of students from across the state were talking about was on a lot of parts of their projects they used is tig welding," he said. I thought to myself ,we don't have this, we should have this, and we're missing a big part of welding by not having it."
Dannhoff said by having a tig welding machine, students at Central can stay competitive with other welding students in the area if they choose to go on to technical college.
"Logan High School has a tig welding machine and them having it puts them a step above us," he said. "We're just a step behind the rest because we don't have that here. Hopefully by having it we can teach kids some base knowledge before they go to a technical college."
The La Crosse Public Education Foundation is awarding 17 grants totaling $31,000 this fall.
David Stoeffler, the executive director of the foundation, said the committee has a three step process when reviewing grant proposals.
Innovation, proven practice, and impact on students are main criteria the foundation uses, according to Stoeffler.
"We thought the standing desks was a good project because Sara really made it a partnership," he said. "She looked for other places, like the school, for funds. And we thought we'd fund a part of it too."
The school said the new standing desks should be installed in a classroom by January.
However, the tig welding machine probably won't be put to use until next school year, since the school will have to do ventilation work next summer.
"It impressed the committee that a student who may not benefit from the investment himself because he's a senior, is looking out for the future of other students and bringing technology into the district," Stoeffler said.
He added another round of grants will be awarded in March and April of 2015.