Educational Foundation to host gala fund-raiser featuring Emmy winner

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SHIRLEY — The Shirley Educational Foundation will host its first gala fund-raising event at the Bull Run Restaurant on Friday, April 21, in celebration of Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday.

During the interactive dinner show, two-time Emmy award-winner William Meikle will perform as Benjamin Franklin in an improvisational routine using audience participation.

For a donation of $130 per person, $100 of which is tax-deductible, participants will have a choice of four entr es including prime rib, baked haddock, chicken picatta or baked vegetable lasagna.

Shirley Charitable Foundation has donated $500 to underwrite the event, said foundation President Susan Jacobs at a meeting held last week.

So far, ticket sales to the event have been low, but donations to the foundation totaling $225 have been received, according to secretary Susan Heinz.

Foundation members hope to sell 60 tickets to the performance, to raise $6,000 toward future grants, Jacobs said.

A second, family-geared performance by Meikle will take place on April 22, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the First Parish Meeting House.

The cost of tickets is $15 per person. They can be reserved by mailing requests and donations to the Shirley Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 943, Shirley, MA 01464. Reservations can also be dropped off at Shirley Middle School, Lura A. White School or the Hazen Memorial Library.

Tickets will be $20 at the door on the evening of the performance.

Last October, the foundation was formed to fund programs within the Shirley school district outside of the scope of the budget, said Jacobs.

”(These are) long-lasting things to add programs into the school for years and years to come,” she said.

Shirley’s school district needs community support, Jacobs said.

Two grants were awarded by the foundation in January. One funded the purchase of indoor exercise equipment for preschoolers at Center School, and the other funded a 35-computer, one-year site license for brainpop.com. Brainpop.com is an award-winning, interactive, educational Web site that provides resources for teachers, parents and students.

The grants offered by the foundation can empower teachers, allowing them to offer programs they may not otherwise be able to implement, Heinz said.

”(We are) looking to fund programs above and beyond typical curriculum,” said member Gary Bourassa.