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Strickland Middle School, as seen in February.

Strickland Middle School students were in a tight spot since the Wi-Fi hot spots given out to students for distance learning during the pandemic had to be returned to Denton ISD.

Strickland did not have $4,000 in funds that would allow students to participate in online summer programs because Denton ISD was going to charge the school for using the hot spots.

That’s when Lucky Lou’s Bar and Modern Woodmen came together to pay for the school’s hot spot rental fee. The hot spots help connect students online when they might not have good internet access at home.

“We thought we might be able to get together some customers, people around town and other businesses to raise enough money to fund these hot spots,” said Lou Delaney, owner of Lucky Lou’s.

Delaney said 10% of happy hour sales went to Strickland every Friday in June. There was also a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses to help raise money for the goal. The final donation total from Lucky Lou’s fundraiser was $3,315.78. The remaining funds needed to reach the $4,000 target came from Modern Woodmen, a fraternal benefit society, which donated $1,000 to surpass the goal.

Delaney said he spoke to Ryan Feuerhelm, who is the librarian at Strickland, and his wife, Mindy Arendt, about wanting to get more customers to come during happy hour by having a charity event.

Feuerhelm mentioned to Delaney that Strickland needed funds to provide mobile Wi-Fi hot spots to 150 students, at a cost of $10 each per month.

Meghann Cross, an associate financial representative at Modern Woodmen, said she reached out to Delaney for a community project she was working on. Delaney asked Cross if Modern Woodmen could contribute to the Strickland project.

“I just can’t imagine how difficult this past year has been on not only the educators within the system, but the kids too, that missed out on getting their education ... because they didn’t have access to the internet,” Cross said.

Cross and Delaney said they both would be open to helping other schools in the district. Cross also said she’s already planning to give out financial literacy lessons to Strickland students.

“I’m going to be involved with them in order to kind of get that financial literacy education implemented,” Cross said. “Coursework for kids so that they can get some information [and] education on how to handle their finances, [the] kind of stuff that we didn’t get when you’re in school.”

Feuerhelm said it would be great if local businesses would continue to help, not only Strickland but other schools in the district. He said it’s a great feeling when locals can help students advance in their education.

“We want kids to be able to have those opportunities, so, that they’re not behind,” Feuerhelm said. “So that they’re on equal footing with everybody else, so we don’t have a big learning gap — or as big of a gap — when we come back in the fall.”

 

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