Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Auction to benefit Adopt-A-Cougar program


Auction to benefit Adopt-A-Cougar program

It’s no secret that college is expensive, but these days even planning for a post-secondary education can be pricey, between exam fees, application fees, and college visits. Unfortunately, these costs can sometimes keep an otherwise deserving student from taking advantage of every opportunity.

In 2018, the Niwot High School Education Foundation (NHSEF) partnered with the school’s counseling department to found the Adopt-A-Cougar program, which helps Niwot families with these costs.

“What people don’t always realize is that Niwot High School has a fairly large free and reduced lunch population,” NHSEF Director Paula Hemenway said. “Niwot’s main focus is the IB (International Baccalaureate) and AP (Advance Placement), and students can get college credit for those, which can save a lot of money, but you have to take the exam. The fee for an AP exam this year is $94 and an IB exam is even more, at $119.”

For students enrolled and taking the test in more than one of these classes, that can quickly add up, and there are a limited number of hardship waivers available. Last year, the Adopt-A-Cougar program paid for a total of 40 exams with funds provided by the NHSEF, and they hope to surpass that this year.

The foundation is also looking to provide more than just exam fees.

“This year we would like to expand the initiative to also cover other costs, including application fees, college visit costs, and SAT prep courses, particular for first generation college students,” Hemenway said. “It’s all administered by the counseling department and it’s all confidential.”

To help fund this goal, the NHSEF is gearing up for its third annual spring online auction, which kicks off on Sunday, May 5th and runs through May 11, just in time for Mother’s Day.

“Part of the money goes to the foundation as a whole,” Hemenway said. “Our purpose is programs that enhance and enrich student learning. The foundation is really the academic side of parent and community supported organizations at the school, whereas the Boosters is more extracurricular.”

The NHSEF’s mission is to “engage and inspire the community in support of enriching the teaching and learning experience at Niwot High School.” In support of that, the foundation provides grants to teachers for field trips and classroom materials, as well as professional training. The organization has also helped the school fund larger projects, such as the digital marquee and upgraded lighting in the auditorium.

This year’s auction has a bit of everything—from travel packages, to professional services, to restaurant and brewery options. Locals will recognize many of the sponsors, including Taddiken Tree, Niwot Market, and Bootstrap Brewing, but there are also getaway packages to mountain destinations, for those inclined to venture a little further.

There are also several items for Niwot students and their families, such as reserved graduation seating, tickets to the 2020 prom, and registration to a Cougars mini-cheer camp.

“There are a lot of ‘experiences’,” Hemenway said. “It’s definitely worth checking out.”

There are also options for directly supporting the Adopt-A-Cougar program or the Foundation itself.

All proceeds raised from the auction will go directly to the NHSEF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The auction runs for just six days, from May 5 to May 11. Visit NHSEF Online Auction and check it out. For more information about the Niwot High School Education Foundation, visit NHSEF.org.


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