Hamels grant home run for school

KENSINGTON - September 17, 2009 Cole and Heidi Hamels got a look at Stetson Middle School's much needed facelift this morning.

They are the top winners of the Hamels Foundation Grant, collecting $50,000 for school improvements back in May.

"The main reason we focus on education is to give back to the kids because one day they'll be grown up and they have kids too, so we can hopefully start a positive trend," Cole said.

Principal Renato Lajara wants every child to benefit from the new resources.

The faculty took great care to distribute the gift to as many programs as possible.

"We took the money and stretched it as much as possible so every teacher and every student can have a part in it as well," Lajara said.

"You know that just throwing dollars at somebody isn't going to fix the problem. He was going to put the money to where it was best used," Heidi said.

The Hamels, who are expecting their first child, had no doubt that Stetson is a winner.

The school's library is now named the "Hamels Instructional Media Center" in appreciation.

The grant from Cole and Heidi didn't only provide high-tech items like microscopes, but also the sturdy desks the kids work on which are so much more appropriate for their science experiments.

"Soon as I go into the science room, I feel like a professional scientist. I never used to feel like that last year," eighth grader Johany Lebron said.

All this new equipment makes it easier for Stetson's kids to learn and it gives them a clearer vision of the future, too.

"Cole must've had a good education and he followed his dreams. I think that's what he wants us young kids to do, set a goal for ourselves, he tried to help us achieve that goal," eighth grader Destini Clarke said.

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