Schools foundation awards grants to teachers
Sitting down in the Eudora Middle School auditorium during an in-service training last week, Eudora High School government instructor Robin Kelso probably didn’t feel like she was on a game show.
That is, until it was announced she won a grant from the Eudora Schools Foundation.
“I called it my ‘Price is Right’ moment because you never expect to hear your name,” Kelso said. “I was just shocked.”
During the Oct. 12 training session, the foundation also awarded a grant to kindergarten teacher Mandy Meyer; and one to the Eudora Elementary School team of fourth-grade teacher Teresa Reetz and reading instructor Cynthia O’Bryhim.
Foundation President Marion Johnson said about 10 grant proposals were submitted.
The foundation was formed in 2006 by former Superintendent Marty Kobza with the intent of enhancing the quality of education through fundraising and partnerships with members of the community.
The awarding of the grants, which were worth about $400 each, signaled the completion of a goal the foundation long had been striving to accomplish.
“We’ve been working as a foundation for four or five years and to finally be able to distribute some money was thrilling because we were doing what we were organized to do,” said foundation member Pennie von Achen, who headed up the grant selection committee and presented the grants to the winners.
Kelso said she would use the funds to purchase copies of the Barbara Ehrenreich book “Nickle and Dimed,” which is a nonfiction first-person account of the difficulties of living on minimum wage.
Kelso said the book would be a good wakeup call for her seniors, which also was the reason the foundation selected her to win the grant.
The team of Reetz and O’Bryhim will purchase books about various cultures. The two women came up with the idea while taking a post-graduate class on diversity at Emporia State University.
Von Achen said presenting various cultures to students was important because Eudora is such a homogeneous community.
“We feel blessed that we’ll be able to use the money for something that we feel is important, and we were glad that the committee felt it was important as well,” Reetz said.
Meyer will purchase guided reading books, which are used to find the correct reading level for students.
In the past, kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade classes shared guided reading books. The books now are being used at the new elementary school, but the kindergarten classes are at Eudora West Early Childhood and Family Center.
“Having a group of people, such as the school foundations committee, means the world to myself and all the teachers at Eudora West Early Childhood Family Center,” Meyer said. “This foundation has worked very hard to find the money to share with the teachers in the district.
“They obviously realize the school’s need for extra supplies and materials and they are very generous to offer teachers the chance to apply for certain grants.”
Von Achen and Johnson said the foundation likely would continue the grant program as long as funds are available.
For more information on joining or donating to the Eudora Schools Foundation, go to www.eudoraschools.org.