College of Charleston graduate student wins grant for local school as part of class assignment
Kasi Passmore turned a class assignment into a $4,000 boost for her twin sons’ school.
The 26-year-old graduate student and mother of 4-year-old boys applied for and won the grant from the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. The money will be used to buy physical education equipment and fruits and vegetables for Westview Primary School students.
“I just wanted it to go to good use,” Passmore said. “If I was going to do the work, somebody might as well benefit from it.”
Passmore decided to go for the funds months ago when she saw the syllabus for her educational research course at the College of Charleston. One of the final- project options was to write a grant, so Passmore asked whether she could do a real application and submit it.
Patty O’Donnell, her teacher and grant writer for the College of Charleston’s School of Education, Health and Human Performance, gave her the go-ahead. O’Donnell said she gives this assignment to students because prospective educators can benefit from having these kinds of skills.
Teachers often end up spending their money on classroom expenses, she said.
“I want to show this to them as an option for something they can do,” she said.
O’Donnell said Passmore took the initiative to talk to Luci Carter, the principal of her children’s school, and find out what they needed.
Carter passed along the dairy association grant suggestion to Passmore, who organized, researched and wrote the application. This is the first time a parent has volunteered to write a grant for the school, Carter said.
“She was actively seeking an opportunity to do something for the school that really was beneficial,” Carter said. “This was perfect.”
The school is trying to promote wellness, and it has created a wellness committee and is using a new exercise room that promotes movement tied to learning. The money will further the school’s efforts to promote a healthy culture, Carter said.
Passmore has strong ties to Berkeley County schools. The Goose Creek native is an alumna of Stratford High, Westview Middle and Westview Elementary schools.
She is in graduate school working on her master’s degree, which she plans to finish in December.
She already is certified in early childhood education, and she is hoping that earning her elementary education certification will make her more marketable and help her find a teaching job.
Passmore had to do more than her graduate class required — and do it more quickly — to meet the grant’s application deadline, but she said it was worth it.
The timing ended up working out in her favor too. Passmore was pregnant last semester, and she ended up having her third son during exam week.
“It was good to get it done early,” she said.
Passmore earned an “A” on her final project.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 843-937-5546.