The audience votes during the Think BIG student club challenge.

Bellingham Public Schools Foundation recently launched the first-ever Think BIG Student Club Challenge, which aims to support great student-led projects for clubs that have big ideas but few resources. More than 30 clubs applied to compete in the in-person competition and only seven were selected to present their big idea at the live event. Finalists were chosen by volunteers from the Foundation Ambassadors, a new program that invites community members (students, parents, grandparents or anyone who is interested in public schools) to join with the Foundation in supporting students. Clubs who didn’t move onto the final in-person round were awarded $100 each.

Despite the threat of snow, finalist teams competed on January 13 in the Bellingham High School auditorium (imagine the ingenuity of “Shark Tank” coupled with the excitement of “America’s Got Talent). At the end of the presentations, audience members voted (weighted at 40%) along with a panel of judges (weighted at 60%).

The Foundation had anticipated granting $10,000 at the event, but, thanks to a generous audience member, they were able to nearly fully fund each club’s proposal, awarding $14,000.

“We are so incredibly grateful to the many folks that played a role in making this event a smashing success,” said Kim Lund, executive director for Bellingham Public Schools Foundation. “We can’t wait to see these ideas brought to life!”

And the winners are…

  • $3,000 for Hamsters Gnaw Nationals 2020 (Debate Team, all high schools)
  • $2,500 for Lost No More: Signs for the Community (Engineering Club, Bellingham High School)
  • $2,000 for Lights! Camera! Action! (Film Making Club, Bellingham High School)
  • $1,500 for Colors of the Rainbow Conference (Queer Straight Alliance, Squalicum High School)
  • $1,500 for Teens Empowering Teens Summer Camp (Girl up to Embody Love, Bellingham High School)
  • $1,500 for Walk around the World (United Diversity, Squalicum High School)
  • $1,500 for Food for Families @ Ronald McDonald house (Lemon Club, Squalicum High School)

Learn more about the Think BIG challenge and other ways to support students in Bellingham Public Schools at https://www.bellinghamschoolsfoundation.org/.

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