Cause for Celebration

  • May 7, 2023
  • STEM
When a whisper turns into a dream which turns into reality, it's cause for celebration. This year, Anacortes Schools Foundation celebrates ten years of STEM enrichment and we honor the original dreamers who turned that whisper into field trips, science equipment and so much more.

ASF STEM Committee (pictured L to R) Kim Post, Kristine Stultz, Michelle Romag, Joyce Anderson, Maggie Santos, Marilyn Hanesworth, Jody Dylan and Vicki Stowe.

A decade ago, this STEM committee approached ASF with a plan to create and fund enrichment and field trips focused on STEM in Anacortes schools. They envisioned local programs based on the exceptional environment of Fidalgo Island. To make their vision a reality, they created "Celebrate the Season," which laid the foundation for an event and programs that continue today and have impacted thousands of students.

"We knew STEM was being more formally addressed on a national level, and we saw startling statistics regarding career opportunities that would be unfulfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates here in Washington state," Vicki Stowe said. "So, we began exploring how to make this national priority a mainstay in the Anacortes School District." When the STEM Committee first approached ASF for funding, the foundation was focused almost exclusively on scholarships. But ASF was open to supporting this idea, and they offered the STEM Committee a seat on their board. How to fund their dream became the driving force of the committee.

At around the same time, Island Hospital Foundation was discontinuing their annual "Celebration of Trees", so the group decided to use this holiday opportunity and adapt it to their own needs. Thus "Celebrate the Season" was born. "We wanted an annual tradition, complete with a fundraising element, but also with a day or two of activities that could be open to the public," Kristine Stultz said. "And we knew what a unique opportunity we had with the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed."

And for ten years, that tradition has continued. What started as a whisper — a dinner and holiday fair for STEM enrichment, bringing in $30,000 in its first year — has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the year in our community. ASF raised more than $300,000 at the 2022 Celebrate the Season and plans to put as much of that funding as possible into the schools within the year. As we enter our final year of Celebrating the Season in the Transit Shed, we extend our gratitude to the original STEM Committee. All the members of the STEM Committee have continued to support ASF and advocate for enrichment and quality education in Anacortes. ASF is grateful to this incredible group of visionaries who contributed their creativity, time, talent and energy to make the event a success for many years and for sparking a trend towards hands-on discovery and more engaged STEM study in the Anacortes School District.

Anacortes Schools Foundation