SKE science station wins hearts of SOUP voters

Betsy PickleOn the Grow, South Knox

Kids won again at the latest Knoxville SOUP.


A project called SKE Scientists on the Playground won $828.25 to help fund the overhaul of a space at South Knoxville Elementary School to make it fun and alluring for students to work on science studies outdoors. The science area is the first of three phases the school plans to complete to update the playground.

Including Thursday’s SOUP, held at Kerbela Shriners’ Temple, there have now been 16 Knoxville SOUP events with 17 winners (including one tie). Eight of the winning projects have specifically benefited youngsters, from elementary-school age to teens.

When it comes to SOUP, it pays to be young.

Introduced to Knoxville in March 2015 by the South Knoxville Alliance, SOUP was modeled after Detroit SOUP, which started out as a potluck soup dinner at which people presented projects to help the community. The winning presentation earned the “pot” – the donations from the door.

Detroit’s idea has spread across the country and around the world. Detroit itself has SOUP dinners in several communities, and Knoxville SOUP’s goal is also to inspire different parts of the city to have their own SOUP event. While open to all of Knox County, Knoxville SOUP has seen most of its entries and winners come from South Knoxville.

Geographically, SOUP was half and half this time. Only four projects are presented at each event, which is held in spring, summer and fall. The SKE project and a project to continue improvements at the Vestal Gateway Park and along the Mary Vestal Greenway (presented by the Vestal Community Organization) are both based in SoKno.

Another was from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – to raise funds for the Audiology & Speech Pathology’s Child Hearing Services annual holiday party, which has encountered increased costs due to a new UT policy. The fourth project, by a new nonprofit called Soul Full Southern Nutritional Reads, hopes to print and distribute a cookbook using recipes based on items regularly distributed by food pantries. Its target is users of 15 food pantries within Knox County.

With South Knoxville Elementary just down the street from Kerbela, neighbors and students turned out en masse, giving the project an edge in voting. Total attendance was about 120.

Follow Knoxville SOUP on Facebook here. To learn more about SOUP and the latest projects, click here.

Betsy Pickle is a freelance writer and editor who particularly enjoys spotlighting South Knoxville.

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