02/25/05 — "Prize patrol" surprises Wayne teachers with mini-grants

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"Prize patrol" surprises Wayne teachers with mini-grants

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 25, 2005 1:47 PM

A dozen mini-grants were delivered to teachers across Wayne County on Thursday.

The Business and Education Partnership, sponsored by the Wayne Charitable Partnership and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, served as the "prize patrol," surprising recipients and presenting each with balloons, a certificate and a check.

Dr. Ken Benton, chairman of the education committee, said the grants were worth up to $500 each, double the amount when the idea was launched four years ago.

"We're trying to give the teachers enough money where they can actually make a difference in their project," he said.

The funds, which largely come from money raised at the Chamber's annual Spelling Bee, were also provided by businesses and sponsors around the county.

The popularity of the grants was reflected in the number of applications received, Benton said.

"We had 49 mini-grant applicants for the spring distribution of mini-grants," Benton said. "Thanks to the business community of Wayne County and the fundraising of the Education Committee, students will gain new and innovative experiences from the mini-grant programs."

Benton said the grant proposals are presented anonymously to the judges so they have no knowledge of who the teachers or schools are in advance. He said the judges look at things that are unique and not typically being done already in the classroom.

He said there was a great diversity of ideas and schools this time. Among the projects that were funded by the grants, students will learn why bluebirds were almost extinct in the 1970s and are still in danger; discovering that electromagnets are found everywhere, from automobile engines to washing machines; and a study of the movement and wearing away of rocks and soil in erosion and its importance in forming canyons, valleys, and tributaries.

Benton said the committee awards the grants twice a year, in the fall and again each spring. This school year, $11,425 was given out. To date, $31,775 has been distributed through the Chamber program.

Spring mini-grants went to these teachers:

*Karen Barkhurst, Spring Creek Elementary School

*Cathy Best, Rosewood High School

*Terry Butler, Eastern Wayne Elementary School

*Michael Corbitt, Greenwood Middle School

*Donna Countryman, Edgewood Community Developmental School, two grants

*Terry Hines, Brogden Primary School

*Glenda Jernigan, Northeast Elementary School

*Holly Lutze, Northeast Elementary School

*Emily Parks, Grantham School

*Junius Shealy, Dillard Middle School

*Jan Whitener, Edgewood Community Developmental School