Tricounty News

EV-W school gets grant from diversiCOM

Eden Valley-Watkins High School received an $8,028 technology grant to be used for the purchase of new technology in its schools such as smart boards. The grant, written by high school principal Bruce Kiehn and sponsored by diversiCOM, is available through the Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED) which is part of OPASTCO, the national trade association that represents independently owned telephone companies. Only schools in rural communities served by OPASTCO members, such as diversiCOM, are eligible for the grant monies.

The grant program, now in its eighth year, awards funds to public schools that are working to increase the use of technology to enhance the learning experience. Of the more than 60 applications submitted, eight schools were selected to receive funding. The technology grants ranged from $3,572 to $9.942. More than half a million dollars in funding was requested. FRED awarded $50,000 in grants to rural public schools across the United States this year.

The FRED grant programs are the direct result of the strong ties between local communications providers such as diversiCOM and the communities they serve. "It was with great enthusiasm that diversiCOM nominated the Eden Valley-Watkins High School for a FRED Technology Grant, and we are very pleased they were selected," said diversiCOM CEO Dave Del Zoppo. "They are a progressive school district that works hard to provide the very best education possible with the limited funds they have. Using the grant money for white boards will enhance and challenge the students to learn in a new way."

"Each year it is amazing to see the response to this program," said Melissa Korzuch, FRED Director. "The work of the selection committee was extremely difficult because of the outstanding quality of the grant proposals. Many of the schools we see applications from are in high poverty areas with more than half of the students receiving free or reduced lunches. Technology upgrades are not possible for these schools, particularly in this economy, which makes the grant program so valuable."

More information about the winning applicants and how to apply for next year's program is available at An estimated $50,000 will be available in September 2010. FRED is a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation that is affiliated with the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO). More information about OPASTCO can be found at