Popcorn for college success - Student Research Foundation

How Mr. Starling’s Popcorn Project Gives His Students the Hunger to Learn

We have recently been blogging about some of the wonderful projects that have been funded through our partner program with DonorsChoose.org. Today we would like to tell you about one such funding project – and a remarkable one – that has now been funded thanks to the efforts of Mr. Starling, an 11-grade high school teacher at Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Spoiler alert: Mr. Starling’s project Poppin’ for Success is all about popcorn.popcorn for college success - Student Research Foundation

“Approximately 75% of the students at our school receive free or reduced-priced lunch,” Mr. Starling explains. “Many are low-income, poverty, homeless, and we have a high number of military families . . . We have a program to keep our students motivated called `Poppin’ for Success’ where we have popcorn and various seasonings for all our students. Our students look forward to this each week and truly we as teachers enjoy it because it gives us time to talk to our students and share things outside of the classroom setting. It really keeps all teachers and students communicating and involved without having to think about school work and assignments. This program has made a huge improvement in our student and teacher relationships along with motivating students to aim for higher grades.”

When Mr. Starling was running low on popcorn seasonings to keep his program going and his students engaged, he posted his “Poppin’ for Success” funding needs on DonorsChoose.org. And we are pleased to report that the project is now 100% funded, thanks to contributions from the Student Research Foundation and other donors, who have contributed the entire project cost of $1,033.31.

Mr. Starling writes:popcorn for college success - Student Research Foundation

“They all love to be rewarded each week for their hard work and now thanks to all our special donors, the program will continue. Without the support of donors like yourself we would not have been able to continue this incentive for our students. Thank you again for being our students’ hero. With gratitude, Mr. Starling”

Learning Is Not All about Technology

Many of the educators who post funding requests on DonorsChoose.org need computers and classroom supplies. But as Mr. Starling’s project shows, even the simplest – and sometimes unexpected – materials can help keep students engaged and learning.

Planting the Seeds for College with A Few Popcorn Kernels

This project caught our attention because of one line in Mr. Starling’s project description:

“Our students work hard each day to be successful and reach their goals of attending college after graduation.“

This simple statement tied well into our overall mission, which in short is to help students evaluate their post-high school education and career options. If a little popcorn is going to help Mr. Starling’s students, we knew it was the right thing to do. We are excited to hear more about how these students are going to continue to stay motivated and succeed in school. We look forward to hearing where their post high school journey takes them. We are here to support all students who are working towards their college and careers goals.

Are you a high school teacher? Let us know how we can we help your school. It takes less than 1-minute to fill out this form.

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