AMESBURY — The Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc. awarded $35,000 in grants to public school programs during Monday night’s Autumn Evening of Giving, which featured the presentation of the annual $10,000 Jordan M. Shay Memorial Grant along with two surprise awards totaling $15,000.
In addition, the foundation also named police Detective Bob Wile this year’s Peter Gray Friend of Education, an honor given to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to the education of Amesbury’s children.
“I got the email the other day and I was floored,” Wile said. “It’s a great honor, it really is, I never really realized when I go to work every day, I just do what I need to do and do what’s asked of me, so I wouldn’t ever have thought something like this would have ever materialized in any shape or form.”
This year’s winner of the $10,000 Jordan M. Shay grant was the “When will we ever use this?” program, which will be a partnership between Amesbury High School and Lowell’s Boat Shop that will encompass American studies, local history, math classes, language arts and science.
Through the program with the historic Amesbury boat shop, students will learn about river currents within the Merrimack River, water depth, boat capacity and tidal variations, among other things, AEFI president Laurie Knapp said.
The memorial grant is named in honor of Jordan Shay, an Amesbury resident who died in 2009 at the age of 22 while fighting in Iraq. The grant was established to support worthy school programs. In addition to the money, the winning school each year receives the Jordan Shay Memorial Trophy.
Holly Shay, Jordan’s mother, presented Amesbury High math teacher Jessica Regis and Graham McKay of Lowell’s Boat Shop with the trophy, along with a check from The Provident Bank.