As the Columbia Falls High School Academic Endowment board members pondered how to raise funds for their mission, they were well aware that the business community was hit hard by requests for donations.
“We were just trying to find a fundraiser that wasn’t just asking for money or donations, but some kind of fun event, a way to fundraise where people got something out and could have fun.” Kim Wortman, one of the foundation’s board members, said.
From these discussions arose the idea of a film festival, which should be scheduled at a time of the year that does not overlap with other similar events in the valley and present content with broad local appeal.
The result was the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on October 16 at the Columbia Falls High School Theater, with both in-person and virtual viewing option.
“I think this is an opportunity for the foundation to spend time with the public and have a fun event,” said Treasurer George Scherman. “The sponsors have been very generous. So far, it looks good.
The Columbia Falls High School Academic Endowment (ACAE) is a non-profit organization established in 2012 to fund projects and programs that “expand educational opportunities, encourage creativity, and enhance the academic experiences of students at Columbia Falls High School.” . CASA is a volunteer run operation separate from the school district.
Similar to the Kalispell Education Foundation, teachers identify needs in their classroom or potential innovative programs, execute ideas with administrators, and then make their case to CASA. The organization then selects the ideas for funding, allowing for projects, activities and purchases outside of the regular school budget that would not otherwise be possible without the help of the foundation.
With funding from CASA, students attended Academic World Quest, Model United Nations and Quiz Bowl, as well as theatrical and musical performances. CASA funds have also been used to purchase equipment, books and resources for the chess club and music software, to name a few, and to organize activities. such as a LEGO robotics event.
One of the most important projects of the endowment fund was to provide $ 17,000 to fund new equipment in the high school science labs.
“It’s a topic I was especially happy about because the kids were working with pretty old stuff,” Scherman said.
Wortman said she appreciates the “juxtaposition of big and small” in CASA projects, from major expenses such as new science lab equipment to funding a book club last year.
“There are a lot of different areas where the school can be helped,” she said. “It’s not always a big project; that can amount to a few hundred dollars for a book club.
Fundraising for this year’s film festival is made possible through CASA’s collaboration with four local businesses – RE / MAX Mountain View, OrthoRehab Physical Therapy, Glacier Medical Associates and Freedom Bank – who “share the vision of bringing the community together for the benefit of students, ”according to a press release.
The October 16 event will feature six films, including “River Looters” about three river surfers turned obsessed free divers who search for lost treasures in the Deschutes River; “The Crown” about Will “Akuna” Robinson becoming the first African-American man on record to complete the Trekking Triple Crown; and “Stone Locals,” about five people who anchor the “core and community” of rock climbing amid the sport’s growing popularity.
For a full list and descriptions of the six films, visit www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/events/cfhs-academic-endowment.
Raffle items, door prizes and concessions will be offered for the live event at the Columbia Falls High School Theater, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. for socializing and film screenings starting at 7 p.m. in the theater. at reduced capacity.
In-person and virtual options allow ticket holders to watch movies on demand for five days until October 21. Tickets cost $ 15 per person for the live screening and $ 15 per household for the virtual option, and are available online at www. cfhsendowment.com.
For more information on CASA and to make a tax-deductible donation to support the association, visit www.cfhighschool.org/endowment or facebook.com/ColumbiaFallsHighSchoolAcademicAlumniEndowment.