ExxonMobil grant to help

CHAMPLAIN - Northeastern Clinton Central High School has been receiving a grant annually from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance. And, this year, it is music to their ears.

In the past, the school has been nominated by SB Collins Inc., St. Albans, Vt., a distributor for Exxon Mobil, receiving $500 yearly. EMEA works by having their local Exxon distributors nominate a local school of their choice to receive the grant. Of the 10,400 distributors across the country, only 2,400 schools receive the grant.

"We're glad that we have Vermonters in our school, so it's kind of nice that this Vermont company thinks of us as their local school," said principal Stephen E. Gratto. "We're pleased that we can work with the Vermont side of the lake as well as the New York side."

This year, EMEA upped the ante by donating $750 to schools across the country.

"We realized we hadn't increased in nine years," explained EMEA public affairs advisor Beth Snyder. "We recognize $500 eight years ago doesn't go as far as it used to."

For the last two years, the school has used the money for its calculus and physics classes to participate in a field trip to the Great Escape in Lake George.

However, this year, Gratto budgeted district funding for the trip, leaving the grant money to be put towards something else.

On Feb. 12, the middle and high schools will join for an assembly to see the musical group FLAME. The band, which is from Fulton County, is made up of 11 developmentally- and physically-disabled musicians.

According to their Web site, www.flametheband.com, the members have disabilities ranging from Down's syndrome, to blindness, who wanted "to change the world through music."

"My wife works at a local school and she said these guys were one of the best assemblies she's ever seen," said Gratto. "I certainly want to promote diversity and understanding of disabilities, so if I can put that together with a fun concert on the day before February break, I think it's a no-lose situation."

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