Educators find grants for South Stokes High School funding

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- It’s a common theme for so many school districts – student needs are growing while budgets seem to be getting tighter.

However, two educators in Stokes County appear to have found a solution.

They say there is plenty of money for schools out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

Amanda Campbell and Renee Himmelspach have become quite the dynamic duo at South Stokes High School.

Campbell is the distance learning/technology assistant at the school.

Himmelspach is the head librarian and technology facilitator at the school.

Together, they have received four grants bringing in nearly $70,000 in additional funding for school projects.

“A lot of the money that we bring in, if we didn’t have that, then our kids would miss out on some things,” Campbell said.

“I think we’ve learned as much from the ones we didn’t get as the ones we did get,” Himmelspach said.

The grant money has allowed South Stokes High School to buy books for the school as well as books for its elementary feeder schools.

The school also has a bird sanctuary that was funded with grant money.

South Stokes High School will also receive solar panels thanks to grant money.

“They’re great because you can send them something … and within a day they have a plan, they have an idea,” Principal Johnna Cheek said.

Campbell and Himmelspach are now focusing their efforts on finding money to upgrade the school auditorium.

The auditorium is used not only for school functions, but also for community purposes.

“The school was built in the 60s. [The auditorium] is not handicap accessible,” Himmelspach said. “We would like to host camps for disabled children in the summer.”

Campbell and Himmelspach taught grant writing to teachers at a recent county-wide conference.

“You will get the funding, you just have to hang with it and don’t get discouraged,” Himmelspach said.

“We’re in it to win it, and we’re just going to keep going,” Campbell said.

In addition to their work at the conference, the two have been asked to visit several schools in the county and share what they’ve learned.

Campbell says she would like to see a grant writing team at each school.

Both Campbell and Himmelspach are graduates of South Stokes High School.