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SSEF Impact

Impact Stories

Paige Erickson: Student

Paige Erickson is part of Sartell High School’s class of 2025. She has been part of District 748 since kindergarten. “As far as involvement I have been heavily involved in the school's robotics programs at every level they have offered. I participate in several other programs and activities, but none have quite captured my attention like robotics has.”


“Our schools are regarded for not only the education they provide but the unique opportunities that they offer. SSEF’s support of the robotics programs helps provide many of those opportunities for the students involved, including how to network and leverage personal value, along with many other skills that simply cannot be taught in a classroom.”


“The grant that Robotics received from SSEF has helped me find what I want to do with my life, and it is opening doors to help me achieve my dreams. There are already many companies offering jobs and internships to me and others on my team. At age 16, I have experience in managing business relations and presenting project ideas to a team. Along with indispensable experience in the engineering process, CAD, and manufacturing.”


“SSEF is an amazing support for our community and district. With their help we can access projects and programming, on a timeline that provides students with the best opportunities - and consequently, more chances for success. We are in school for a short period of time, and I feel like it’s a waste of time, resources, and most importantly potential when programs for students are abandoned or delayed because of a lack of funding. Your donations to SSEF are the best way to ensure that your support is having a direct impact on our schools, community, and the lives of our students.”

Joe Schulte: Teacher

Joe Schulte has been with District 748 for 12+ years. In his current role as a technology education teacher, Joe has had the opportunity to work with students in a variety of ages, skill levels, and subjects. Joe says, "I engage students in project-based learning. We find joy through service to others, building solutions to problem areas within our community.”


Mr. Schulte first approached SSEF when funding was needed to evolve the school’s construction program. “We needed support to take our construction program to another level. The current equipment just wouldn't cut it, so we asked the SSEF to hone our toolset and add some weapons to our arsenal. Phase 1 was the pitch; we needed to propose an idea that moves students closer to the cutting edge. Phase 2 was the sell. We knew we would need to provide a vision for where this grant could take our program. We finished the process with a verbal 10-minute elevator pitch to a panel of SSEF board members.”


After being awarded the grant, Schulte reported that the dollars “directly affected 200 construction students. It got us armed and ready to be able to complete SabreCON 1. Support like that - which SSEF provided - was the difference in a successful year-one build.”


“Education Foundations allow stakeholders (parents and community members) to see the impact of their efforts and contributions through focused funding. These organizations challenge school districts to continue to push the advancement of education through infusions of technology. They provide a channel or pathway to go above and beyond. That often goes unfunded when only conventional means are available. A product of this is getting everyone in the community to lean into the goings-on in our classrooms. It’s often difficult to remove the veil that exists between the community and schools. Well-intentioned parents may find it difficult to see all the good that is going on, and these grants put light on some of the best of our efforts.”


“Schools are pillars of healthy communities, but in the Sartell-St. Stephen community, the school is our community. It has been since inception and we need to remind those who are not aware that we are an excellent school system. The result of this? Students leave our doors well-prepared to succeed in the world at large. That comes from parents who expect this and support this directly, not just from efforts within the district. It is a result of everyone valuing excellent schools.”

Sonja Babich: Donor

Sonja Babich grew up in Sartell and graduated from SHS in 2006. During her high school years, she was involved in Student Council, Varsity Soccer, Concert Choir, Curriculum Committee, Sabre Splash, and served as a class officer. She and her husband, Chris, now have three children who will be in the Sartell-St. Stephen school district - Unto, Sophie, and Annika.


“I knew of SSEF because the Toast to Autumn event started when I was in high school and my parents would attend the event. My parents were donors with my dad's family dental practice. Other parents of my friends would attend the event as well. After college and coming back to Sartell, Trevor Akervik, a board member at the time, asked me to join the committee. I also knew Michelle Meyer who was heavily involved in it in the past. There were other great community members that I respected who were involved, too.”


“I have a passion for Sartell and a passion for being involved and giving back to the community that supported me. Being a donor of SSEF allows me to return the favor and support this school district that helped guide me to becoming the best version of myself.”


“SSEF is a great organization that truly focuses on keeping District 748 leading edge. Bringing those amazing and creative ideas to our schools makes it one of a kind, but also creates new opportunities that set us apart from other schools. When I was a student representing our SHS at state and national events, I was so proud! Our district was known to be trendy, new, clean, and respected by others. We are not a boring school district, smart kids come out of our school, and also classy and respectful kids too! We are always ahead of the game in so many areas.  That's truly because of the amazing faculty that leads and educates our students and truly helps guide all of us to become our best selves. We couldn’t do it without SSEF. They keep us on our toes and push faculty to think out of the box and to bring those leading-edge ideas, so we can implement them into our Sartell-St. Stephen schools, faculty, and our kiddos.”


“Why donate to SSEF? Great families and faculty support SSEF. It’s a great organization to show support to and network with. You will see the return immediately because the grants are annual. SSEF is always looking at new leading-edge ideas to implement in District 748. We have a great community of donors that support SSEF.”

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