Lady Gaga helps Gilroy schools, foundation funds classroom projects

Gilroy’s school superintendent called it a bright spot after a difficult two weeks. The Gilroy Unified School District is set to receive more than $11,000 in funding from Lady Gaga and her foundation. The megastar announced she will fund classroom projects in cities devastated by mass shootings. Monday was the first day teachers returned to the classroom.

Classes start on Wednesday. School officials said the funding is much needed comfort. It will help 23 classrooms at five schools as the school year begins on a more somber note.

“We get notified through by email,” said Gilroy School Teacher Matt Hungerford. “An email popped up in the morning and it's like, yay I got it funded.”

Hungerford said his classroom projects, one for 3D printers and another for motors and control boards, were funded through Donors Choose, a web site teachers use to fundraise. He was shocked to find out who was behind it.

“I didn't expect that,” said Hungerford. “I’d love to meet Lady Gaga. It would be cool to have her come to the school.”

Lady Gaga announced on Facebook “Her Born This Way” Foundation will provide funding for 14 classroom projects in Dayton, 125 in El Paso and 23 in Gilroy, all the projects listed in cities affected by mass shootings. 

She wrote, “In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration and fury into hope.”

“It was really cool be singled out by Lady Gaga,” said Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Deborah. “It’s
a very appropriate and touching way to help our school community.”

Gilroy’s superintendent said hundreds of students volunteered at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and many were there when the shooting occurred. Since the shooting, the district has housed counseling centers at several schools.

“We had a training for all of our staff today,” said Dr. Flores. “They came back today so we had trainings at all 15 sites on how to help students who have been traumatized by these events.”

She urged students to get back into their normal routine and said the mood is now more hopeful.

“The schools will be a safe place for students to be, we encourage students to come to school Wednesday,” said Dr. Flores. 

As for Mr. Hungerford, he said the $1,000 for his projects will go a long way when state funding is limited. He hopes Lady Gaga’s generosity will teach students a lesson. 

“Even in tragedy there could be good,” said Hungerford. “Somebody like a Lady Gaga, a celebrity, it's really nice to see her give to people. This is our small town coming together. We will survive. We are strong.”

In addition to counseling services at every school, students will notice more security and more police on campus to make everyone feel more at ease on Wednesday.