Chamber honored by state association of school committees

Westborough – Awards and recognition continue to pour in for the efforts of the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce was notified recently that its School/Business Partnership Committee is the recipient of the Outstanding School Partner Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

The School/Business Partnership Committee, chaired by Donna Cox, will receive its award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees at the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce Membership Breakfast Thursday Feb. 28 at the Westborough Doubletree Hotel.

"This is a tremendous honor for us," said Karen Chapman, vice president of the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce. "It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of the members of the School/Business Partnership Committee, most notably Donna Cox, who has chaired the committee tirelessly for 10 years."

The nomination of the committee was made by Nancy Spitulnik, director of Student Services for the Westborough Public Schools and submitted by Westborough Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anne Towle with a supporting nomination from Shrewsbury Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anthony Bent.

"We just felt this was an organization very deserving of this award," Towle said. "The work they've put in, the assistance they've provided is invaluable. I don't know where Westborough's schools would be without their help and support and I'm sure that the other school districts feel the same way, too. I know Shrewsbury does."

The School/Business Partnership Committee has been an active supporter of public education in Westborough and Northborough since 1985, and Shrewsbury and Southborough since 2000.

The committee's main goal is to be an effective resource for schools and a driving force in school/ business relationships, Chapman said.

The partnership committee has supported the schools in many ways, including: developing school programs supported by financial resources; matching school needs with community and business resources; supporting school and teacher educational initiatives through grants; and supporting student achievement through scholarships for high school seniors and internship placements.

Since the inception of the School/Business Partnership Committee, almost $300,000 has been provided in scholarships and grants to schools within the four towns the chamber encompasses – Westborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury and Southborough. Businesses have also provided large amounts of excess furniture, computers and supplies to the schools to help offset existing financial constraints.

Since 1996, the committee has provided more then $60,000 in the form of 234 mini-grants to teachers in the member towns.

High school scholarships, funded by the annual Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, are awarded to seniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement and leadership. To date, since its beginning in 1986, 290 students have received scholarships totaling more than $206,000.

Also with proceeds from the golf tournament, the committee is able to support whole-school needs and initiatives. To date 48 such grants, totaling more than $23,000, have been awarded.

More than 65 businesspeople and educators serve on the School/Business Partnership Committee, including the principals from all of the schools in the member towns.

"Corridor Nine is proud of the strong ties we have forged between our business and educational community and are honored to be recognized for the work that we have accomplished," Chapman said.

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