Taste of Tuscany returns June 3

Proceeds benefits Ellsworth school programs

By Sarah Nigbor

ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth Community School District Foundation will host its popular Taste of Tuscany fundraiser Friday, June 3, back after a two-year hiatus.

“We haven’t had it since 2019,” said Foundation President Suki Mitchell. “We are very excited to get to have it again and we hope we get a nice, big crowd.”

The event will be held at Vino in the Valley (W3825 450th Ave., Maiden Rock). Tickets are $40 and include a full buuet (pastas, salads, wood-fired pizzas) and tick ets for wine sampling. Live music will be performed by Ellsworth High School Vo- cal Jazz and the JV Jazzers. Guests can bid on silent auction items from local businesses, plus some surprise big-ticket items. The evening culminates with the Teacher of the Year award.

The mission of the ECSDF is to enrich and enhance educational opportunities through the use of private funding sources. Their goal is to help bridge the gap needed to fund extra educational items in the district.

Taste of Tuscany is the biggest fundraiser of the year for ECSDF. The proceeds are used to fund grants submitted by teachers and school stau. “We go through the applications and fund as many as we can,” Mitchell said. “We’ve made a little bit more each year. Every little bit that we can get, we fund every grant that we can. The past couple of years we’ve been able to fund every grant submitted.”

In the past, the foundation has funded things such as a 3D printer for the Fab Lab, character education re- treats for students, field trips, books and literacy initiatives, teacher training and professional development, Smart boards in classrooms, iPads, consultants for the music department, etc. One year the foundation bought T-shirts for the students to wear during their annual service day. Another year, they purchased incubators for chickens for a science class.

Field trips can be expensive and fall outside of the normal school district budget, Mitchell said. Because of funding from ECSDF, kids have the opportunity to go to the state capitol (fourth grade), to theatre performances for English classes, and others.

“A lot of the incidentals – bussing, gas, the bus drivers, entry into museums – that’s not in the school budget,” Mitchell said. “That can add up to be a lot. I think field trips really add a lot to a child’s education.”

Another valuable experience the foundation helps to fund is the sixth-grade trip to JA BizTown, which is a day-long visit to a simulated town. Students operate banks, hold jobs, manage restaurants, write checks, pay bills and vote for mayor. The experience teaches them to “connect the dogs between what they learn in school and the real world.” The hope is that ECSDF has kickstarted the program participation so that it can be worked into the school district budget going forward.

“It’s an interesting jump to what’s waiting for them in the real world at a level they can understand,” Mitchell said.

The foundation works closely with the school district and parents’ clubs to help teachers fulfill goals in their classrooms that is beyond the scope of the regular district budget. Mitchell is grateful for the phenomenal community support, not only from businesses but from families.

Tickets for the Taste of Tuscany are available at Nilssen’s, the school district ovce, Vino in the Valley or 715 Steer & Beer.

Social time begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by the buuet dinner, silent auction and wagon rides 5-8 p.m.

For businesses interested in donating items for the silent auction, contact Mitchell by May 27 at 507-202-4259.

May 17, 2022