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Three Forks Education Foundation hosting fundraiser

Three Forks Education Foundation Board President Dave Chojnacki is passionate when he speaks about the local organization that provides scholarships and teacher grants.

"We are a small school. We are not like Bozeman or Billings. We are Three Forks, and we are six blocks long. We want our students to know there are a lot of people who care about them and their future in this community who care about their future. And they are our future," he said.

Chojnacki and the board members are inviting the public to the Three Forks Education Foundation annual fundraising dinner scheduled for Thursday, March 16, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the school cafeteria.

The cost to attend the fundraiser is $15 for a single meal and $50 for a family. This year's dinner will be prepared and served by Three Forks School Food Director Ashley Darling and will include a spinach salad, roasted pork with apples, steamed broccolini, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and a dinner roll.

According to Chojnacki, former Superintendent Robert DoBell came up with the idea of starting the organization, and several area residents got together to put together the paperwork completed to move forward, adding the first fundraiser was in May of 2016.

In 2017, the TFEF gave away $300 in scholarships and $300 in grants.

Chojnacki said during the 2021-22 school year, they provided nearly $4,100 in teacher grants and almost $14,000 in scholarships. Earlier this school year, the foundation awarded about $7,000 in teacher grants.

He stressed the importance of the fundraiser, with $3,600 raised at last year's event.

"The donated money all goes to scholarships and teacher grant funds. That's how important this event is," Chojnacki said.

This year's event will include a silent auction with items donated by local businesses until 6:45 p.m. A dessert auction is scheduled for 7 p.m., and a labor auction is also scheduled during the event. Chojnacki said the labor auction allows residents the chance to bid on teams or organizations to come and do work for them, like cleaning the house or shoveling snow.

As an example of the teacher grants from this year, Chojnacki said the library could purchase tables and chairs with their $471.63 contribution. The industrial arts department was awarded $500 for shop equipment upgrades and $1,000 for a wood planer.

"It is rewarding for us to see our students have these opportunities they have never had before. It is very rewarding for the teacher who gets it and very rewarding for the board to provide it," he said.

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