MACKINAW -- Deer Creek-Mackinaw Junior High School eighth-graders Paul Hoffman and Sam Hubner wanted to do something to help their classmates besides themselves who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
So they went to their principal, Michele Jacobs, early last year and asked her if the junior high could purchase stand-up desks that students with ADHD could use.
The boys found a willing listener.
"Stand-up desks had been on my radar for a while. I'd seem them on websites. After talking to the boys, I knew exactly what we needed to do to hopefully buy some," Jacobs said.
She applied for a grant from the Mackinaw Stout Foundation, with the boys contributing heavily to the application.
"I asked Paul and Sam to do research and use their own personal experiences to convey how a stand-up desk could help a student with ADHD," Jacobs said. "After I wrote the application, the boys proofread it before I submitted it."
ADHA, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is a disorder that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors. Hyperactivity is another symptom.
The symptoms fit perfectly into the students' pitch for stand-up desks. Here's what Hoffman and Hubner wrote for the grant application, talking about students with ADHD:
* Standing is better than moving around.
* Students won't be as fidgety while they're standing, which will help them focus and pay attention to what's being taught.
* Students can see what's being taught better while they're standing.
* Standing at a desk will make a student less hyperactive because his or her legs will be tired.
Jacobs' strategy was successful. The junior high was awarded a $1,428 grant to help purchase 24 stand-up desks, two for each of the school's 12 classrooms.
Hoffman and Hubner aren't using the stand-up desks they worked so hard to get. The desks were delivered to the junior high this school year and the boys are now freshman at Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School, which doesn't have stand-up desks.
"The junior high had been using make-shift stand-up desks. Now the school has stand-up desks that are made specifically for that purpose, and Paul and Sam are happy about that," said Jacobs, who now is the Deer Creek-Mackinaw School District's superintendent.
Jacobs said junior high teachers love the stand-up desks.
"They say the desks have reduced the distractions that ADHD students have and that students with ADHD are taking the most advantage of the desks in less hands-on classes such as English Language Arts and social studies," she said.
The junior high's grant for the stand-up desks was one of 13 grants awarded by the Mackinaw Stout Foundation for 2018. Applications are due Thursday for 2019 grants.
The foundation, created by the late Elsie Stout, awards grants annually through investment income to not-for-profit organizations, churches, schools and government entities for their recreational, educational, religious and civic activities in Mackinaw and Mackinaw Township.
Here's a sampling of other grants awarded in 2018:
* Dee-Mack Primary/Junior High School PTO: $5,600 to help replace the pea gravel on the playground with rubber bits.
* Mackinaw Fire Department: $4,929 to help purchase self-contained breathing apparatus tanks.
* Mackinaw Recreation Program: $4,000 to help install foul ball netting at two baseball diamonds at Brock Lake. All three diamonds there now have foul ball netting.
* Mackinaw District Public Library: $2,500 to assist in adding a sensory wall in the children's section, and purchasing mobile cubbies for books and additional audio books.
* Dee-Mack High School: $1,925 to help purchase a professional grade printer that can print poster size documents.
* Mackinaw Community Center Food Pantry: $1,550 to enhance the organization's Second Helping program, in which clients with children receive an additional box lunch during summer months when there are no school lunches, and help provide holiday food boxes for clients.
* Mackinaw Christian Church: $1,000 to help provide snack packs during the school year for children in need.
The foundation was established in 2013 in the name of Clarence and Elsie Stout with an $800,000 bequest from Elsie Stout's will. It's managed by board members Mark McGrath, Richard Grunert, Sara Wilkins, Lori Carlson and Bill Embry.
The first grants were awarded in 2015. Clarence Stout died in 1992 and Elsie Stout died in 2010.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.