TOLLAND, Conn. (WTNH)– A phenomenon is rocking Tolland as people throughout the community are searching for shimmering, painted rocks — but the sparkling stones themselves aren’t the prize.
Tolland Education Foundation, (a nonprofit supporting public schools), began hiding these rocks with notes attached in the Spring. Whenever a parent or student finds one, they present it to a teacher, paraprofessional, or staff member. That educator then receives a $100 grant from the foundation.
“There’s a buzz around the rocks,” said said Linda Byam, president of the Tolland Education Foundation.
The grants allow educators to buy tools for the classroom they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
“Curriculum funds are usually dedicated to very specific learning activities,” said 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Tiffany Reynolds, “so these are a little outside of the box.”
Almost all of the stones are worth $100.00 — but the Shaikh family found the “Golden Rock” worth $300.
“We saw something sparkling in the bushes,” Sarah Shaikh, “and it said, you can give a teacher $300, and we chose Miss Reynolds.” Her sister, Meerah, added, “we know she’s just such a wonderful teacher and the money would be in good hands.”
Reynolds asked her students what she should do with the money. They decided to spend it on games and puzzles for her classroom.
“It’s enrichment for my classroom, something that curriculum funds wouldn’t cover, something unique, something interesting,” Reynolds said. “I’m feeling just very loved, because $300 is a lot and I knew I could put it to good use.”
The initiative was such a success, they’re bringing it back. Last week the foundation hid ten more rocks around town for people to find.
“We’d love to challenge other education foundations and schools to do the same thing,” said Byam, “in appreciation of the hard working professionals educating our kids everyday.”