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Nisswa Elementary hits jackpot with generous donation

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When the Nisswa American Legion offered to make a donation to Nisswa Elementary School, Principal Erin Herman got more than she expected.

When Herman said she would like nine mini iPads for classroom digital listening centers, the Legion came through with $3,707.46 from its charitable gambling fund. Herman said when she finally went to the store just before Thanksgiving, she thought the store may have sold out of the product.

Instead, when Herman finally made it to Best Buy, she learned the store had many promotions available. For every iPad Mini purchased, the school received a $100 gift certificate.

“I said, ‘If that’s the case, can we buy a 10th one?’ We really did have one more class that needed one. I didn’t dare be too greedy,” Herman said.

The school also saved on cases, headphones, headphone splitters and other accessories for each iPad Mini.

“With sales on some of the stuff, we paid $284 for $1,300 worth of stuff,” Herman said.

The $3,707.46 donation was worth more than $4,707.46 after all the promotions and sales. The mini iPads in each classroom are being used as digital listening centers for guided reading one hour each day.

“We help some of the kids individually, but while we might be talking about something that might be a little over their head they can practice this skill (on the iPad) so that that idea isn’t so far over their head the next time,” said kindergarten teacher Joe Koman. “Right now, everything we want them to do, they are doing very well.”

Koman said that for his young students, tablets are more intuitive than computers. His students sometimes have trouble using computers.

The listening centers have been in use since just after Christmas, but representatives of the Legion recently got a chance to witness three classrooms putting their donations to good use.

“(I feel) very proud. When we decided we had a little extra money, this was the first place we came to see what they needed,” Gambling Manager Bill Marshall said. “We give to a lot of local charities. We love the school. The Legion has many programs that benefit the youth. This is one of them — to support the youth and their activities in the schools. We support other youth activities, too.”

“We personally donate to a lot of people and we never get to see the results, and here we can see, and it makes us feel good to donate it and see what’s happening,” said Commander Jim Starkey.

Travis Grimler can be reached at Follow him on Facebook.