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Lottery grant delivers classroom cubbies

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | January 20, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — “Good morning, Mrs. Soderberg’s class, let’s make some noise.”

The Washington Elementary kindergartners immediately took the Idaho Lottery officials up on their invitation Wednesday to begin cheering and screaming — prompting several of their classmates to put their hands over their ears.

Prompting the cheers was the Lottery's delivery of a storage cubby system — one of three storage systems funded by the monthly Idaho Lottery Do Good program.

Kindergarten teacher Johanna Soderberg submitted a grant request for the cubicles after realizing storage space for snow clothes was in limited supply.

"We have loved getting to play in the snow this year but we noticed that storing snow clothes can be a little challenging with our hallway lockers," Soderberg told Idaho Lottery officials when they paid a visit to her classroom Wednesday to deliver the good news. "So we were hoping for some classroom cubbies to store our snow gear and supplies throughout the year."

The grant purchased three heavy-duty storage and communication center as well as three sets of storage trays to be used in the centers.

In her grant application, Soderberg said that as snow arrives in the community, the student's snowgear quickly filled the hallway, creating congestion; and filling the limited storage space in the halls and classroom.

"We have a limited number of hooks in a busy hallway where students hang their backpacks and coats," Soderberg said in her grant application. "However, during the winter students have to access their backpacks multiple times a day to take on and off their snow gear before and after each recess and outside specialist class."

While students are using containers Soderberg purchased to keep snowgear and lunches in the classroom to minimize the amount of time spent unzipping backpacks to get items stored there, it didn't completely solve the issue, she wrote.

"While this has successfully limited some of the congestion in the hallway, I do not have shelving to store these bins in so they have to be stacked at the end of each day and spread out in the classroom for students each morning," Soderberg wrote. These storage centers and bins would provide a permanent place in the classroom for students to efficiently store and access their supplies throughout the day."

Wednesday, Idaho Lottery officials fulfilled the wish as part of its Classroom Wishlist grant, part of its Do Good program.

To thank Idaho Lottery, the kindergartners presented the officials with an oversized thank you card, carefully written and signed on bright blue paper.

“To the Idaho Lottery, thank you for our cubbies," the students wrote. "We are excited to store our snow clothes and supplies inside of them. Thank you for delivering them to us. Our kindergarten class.”

After Idaho Lottery officials read the card out loud, a student let them know they had neglected to read off all of the card.

“Just so you know, you forget to read off the names we wrote.”

Idaho Lottery officials agreed and quickly read the names, checking several times to make sure they pronounced them correctly, and thank the students for creating the card.

"Thank you, everyone," they said. "This was very sweet.

The program invites teachers to submit "classroom wishes" to be fulfilled. Each month, Idaho Lottery identifies each month's selection, based on its impact to education and timeliness. Last year, Idaho Lottery funded 61 projects through the program for a total of $114,780, David Workman, Idaho Lottery spokesman, said in an email to the Daily Bee.

"With the help of our players, the Idaho Lottery funds up to $10,000 in classroom needs every month," Workman said.

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(Photo courtesy KRISTIN HAWKINS)

An Idaho Lottery official accepts a thank you card from students in Washington Elementary teacher's Johanna Soderberg kindergarten class after she received a Classroom Wishlist grant to buy three storage cubby systems.

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(Photo courtesy KRISTIN HAWKINS)

Washington Elementary kindergarten students pose for a picture as they join teacher Johanna Soderberg in thanking the Idaho Lottery for a $4,670 Classroom Wishlist grant given to purchase a storage cubby system to hold winter gear and supplies.

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