What Would You Do With $10,000?


Photo credit: Jessica Southwick

River Dalley, Writer

If your school administration was given $10,000 to spend, and the only rule was that they had to put the money towards benefitting student life, what investments would you want them to make? Bellows Free Academy students were asked this question via an email survey in Nov. 2022. Student school board member Leah Fitzgerald gave The Mercury the inside scoop on who conducted this survey, where this $10,000 budget came from, what students want the budget to improve and what the budget will actually go towards. 

The budget money was given to BFA’s Student Advisory group to spend. According to Fitzgerald, The Student Advisory Group “consists of six students that…were picked by the principal and some of the students in the group.”  The group was formed due to the demand of students wanting to be on the schoolboard, Fitzgerald said. 

“There was a coalition group in Burlington that really liked what we were doing because we were student- run, and they gave us a grant for $10,000. They didn’t tell us what we need to do with it…they only said that it needed to benefit the students,” Fitzgerald said.

Faced with a big spending decision, Fitzgerald said that the Student Advisory Group turned to BFA students for input. A survey was created in order to collect opinions on what students wanted to see improved across the campus.

“We wanted to make sure that everybody had the opportunity to have input into what they wanted,” Fitzgerald said.

According to Fitzgerald, the most popular answer to the survey was more student parking. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald said that this would be “very hard” to implement due to the lack of space on campus, as well as lack of budget. “There’s just no money for that,” Fitzgerald said.  Another popular response was air conditioning in the gym, which is, unfortunately, also not an option. The rest of the recommendations were “scattered” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said that the money will go towards “enrichment programs…to give back to the community.” These enrichment programs would go towards activities such as student mentorship during BFA Enrichment blocks and making jewelry for the children at St. Albans Town Education Center. 

“We really have endless ideas and possibilities,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re just trying to see what would involve students.”