FMC BioPolymer and Lonza Rockland, Inc. recently hosted the recipients of funding provided by the FMC/Lonza Mini-Grant program. Funding for eight diverse projects was granted by the FMC Community Advisory Panel late in 2010. The grant requests were very diverse in nature, ranging from the physics classroom to the library to the drama department.

Teachers and a few students joined CAP members for their regular meetings in March and May. During the meeting of March 17, Physics teacher David Allen showed the operation of the Chladni plate purchased for the science department to help visualize waves.

Steffany Tribou demonstrated a document camera procured by the English/Language Arts department, which allows more effective sharing of documents and ideas within the classroom. Karen Matthews shared a presentation about the Circles program, an interactive DVD series acquired for the Life Skills program to help teach relationships to students with disabilities.

On May 19, the CAP was treated to a slide show detailing the creation of a student-run TV studio in the old bus garage. Richard Johnson of Rockland District High School described the operation of the lighting equipment granted by FMC and Lonza. Becky Harjula from the RDHS library explained the usage of three Nook e-readers. Kathy Dunne set up a demonstration of the Rosetta Stone software, acquired by the French department to supplement the students’ classroom learning. Alison Machaiek presented the airbrush system, which is used by the drama department for creating scenery as well as the application of makeup. RDHS Sophomore Maxine Buretta assisted in the demonstrations of both the Rosetta Stone software as well as the airbrush. Ken Pride exhibited the wall-size world map which will adorn the wall of his Social Studies classroom in the fall.

FMC Maintenance Manager Rod Mason said in a news release, “The response to the Mini-Grants program has been terrific. We are thrilled to be able to provide the schools with funding for equipment and other educational resources that they would not otherwise be able to obtain.”

“We are delighted to see the results of the Mini-Grants program. The RDHS staff has done a great job making the funds go as far as possible, positively impacting a large cross section of the student body,” said Lonza Sr. Manufacturing Engineer Matthew Calderwood.


FMC and Lonza will continue the program next year, providing enhanced educational opportunities to the staff and students of the new Oceanside High School.

FMC BioPolymer, the largest and most experienced producer of carrageenan extracts worldwide, has operated the Rockland facility since 1937.

Lonza Rockland, located on Thomaston Street in Rockland, develops and manufactures products used in molecular and cell biology research. These products contain agarose, a seaweed extract processed by FMC BioPolymer.