Bristol Central to pursue grant to fix up auditorium

Bristol Central High School has entered into a grant program with The Clorox Company that, if it wins, could get $50,000 for renovations to the high school auditorium to fix things like broken chair.

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
Gina Gallo Reinhard spends a lot of her time in the classroom as an Italian and Spanish teacher at Bristol Central High School. When she’s not teaching students foreign languages, or working with the school theater productions, she is focusing on writing grant proposals, and has had some success so far.
Over the summer, Gallo Reinhard discovered The Clorox Company’s “Power a Bright Future” grant program, which is giving away $50,000 to the school with the most votes.
The Clorox Company’s Power a Bright Future grant program is a nation-wide contest, and Bristol Central High School is the only school in Connecticut participating. The challenge is for the students and staff at Bristol Central to get as many votes as possible. If Bristol Central wins the $50,000 grant, it will go towards renovations in the school auditorium, a room in the school used by every student, teacher, and even the entire community.
“This is a community building, even if it is Bristol Central High School, the whole community uses it” for events like Miss Mum pageants, meetings, recitals and more, on top of school activities, musicals and plays, Gallo Reinhard said. “Renovating the auditorium is the one thing that would positively affect the whole town.”
On the first day of school, she said every teacher in the district goes to the auditorium at Bristol Central before heading off to their assigned schools, as a meeting place. She added that elementary and middle school students are eventually fed into the high schools like Bristol Central, and will be using the future auditorium.
Right now, the auditorium needs things like new seats, since some are broken. Other possibilities, if Bristol Central wins, would be to install its own lighting and/or sound system, because the theater department has to rent that equipment for every performance.
Lindsey DiPietro, an English teacher at Bristol Central who also directs the high school plays, said for fall performances it usually costs about $2,500 for lighting and sound. In the spring, it costs about $4,000 for one performance.
Gallo Reinhard said she wanted to ensure that this grant is not just benefitting the music or theater students at the high school, but will benefit every student and faculty member that walks through the auditorium doors.
A group of students have been working on a series of short videos that are comical displays of the renovations needed in the auditorium.
Freshman Olivia Mason is editing the videos, which are being shown to the whole school and will be available for the community to view.
“The videos are telling people why they should vote,” Mason said, adding that she had to go back into the videos to change lighting effects since the auditorium doesn’t have its own adequate lighting system. “It’s a fun way for people to get interested and vote for our school,” she added.
The contest allows for the schools to enter into one of three categories: play, create and explore. Bristol Central has entered into the “create” category. There will be seven grants given away, four based on the number of votes and three based on judge’s pick. The school with the most votes will receive the $50,000, and then the six others chosen based on either votes or judge’s pick will receive a $25,000 grant each.
“I feel that this is the base and the heart of (Bristol) Central,” Mason said. “I think we all work so hard and we deserve a cooler, more modern environment to come in to.”
Voting for The Clorox Company’s Power a Bright Future grant program will be held from Monday, Nov. 12 through Wednesday, Dec. 12. Each supporter can vote once per day, at www.PowerABrightFuture.com, or text from their mobile phones. Gallo Reinhard added that she is encouraging the community to use email and social media to get the word out about the contest and Bristol Central’s participation.