To help pay for the renovation of the Islesboro Central School, students are being asked to give money. A letter-writing campaign is being used to raise the final $1 million dollars for the $8 million project.
Over 820 letters were sent out. A different type of letter was sent to each demographic: elementary students, middle and high students, alumni, and all other community members. The letter-writing campaign was picked because it directly connected to students and is simple.
The $8 million dollar renovation of Islesboro Central School (ICS) has already begun, with half of the cost paid for by a town bond issue. Of the remaining $4 million, $3 million was raised by April by a special fundaising committee. That committee was headed by Linda Gillies, former director of the Vincent Astor Foundation, chaired by the late Brooke Astor, New York City civic leader and philanthropist. That left $1 million to raise.

Students who were interviewed said most planned on giving around $5, but the occasional student was planning on donating over $40. “Because the renovation of ICS is aimed to better the environment for students to learn, I believe it is important for the students to be a part of the process in any way they can,” said Claire Boucher, a 10th-grade student at Islesboro Central School. “If the project is to better students, then the students should give their support,” she said.

According to Stephanie Bethune, a 9th-grade student, it’s OK for the school to ask students for money, “But small amounts, just like they did.”

The letters, especially to students, emphasized that even a small amount of money will help the project. For example, the letter to elementary students included this sentence: “Any amount will be most welcome-a contribution of $1 will pay for 50 nails.” Students that give money will have their name on a plaque at the renovated school.

Heather Knight, Islesboro Central School principal, said that despite the many positive aspects of the letter writing campaign, it’s hard to connect with people through letters. She and another fundraising committee board member, Mike Boucher, both said they hope that people will come forward with any questions.

According to Knight, donations are already being made in response to the letters, which were sent out in late June. Despite the support for the project, it is being affected by these hard economic times. “Lots of people asked to be contacted later in the year for donations,” Knight said. Donations are coming in, Knight said, but in lesser amounts then they would without the economic crisis.

Davis Boardman, an Islesboro resident, is participating in Working Waterfront’s summer writing program.