02/08/06 — Chamber's 'prize patrol' takes grant news to local teachers

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Chamber's 'prize patrol' takes grant news to local teachers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 8, 2006 1:49 PM

The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee distributed another round of mini-grants to area teachers this morning.

"Is it my birthday?" asked resource teacher Wilma Thompson at Dillard Middle School when the prize patrol interrupted her language arts class.

Gazing up at the multi-colored balloons as presenter Doris Murphy explained her reason for being there, Ms. Thompson gasped.

"Oh! It's my money!" she said.

Ms. Thompson said the mini-grant will fund her class's project, "Remembering Me Through Poetry." Students will complete scrapbook containing poems they enjoy and ones they have written, as well as pictures of things they are doing throughout the process. Students will also receive their own copy of the book.

The Business and Education Partnership, sponsored by the Wayne Charitable Partnership and chamber, delivered 18 mini-grants to 13 schools. A total of $8,200 was distributed, with each grant worth an estimated $500, said Dr. Ken Benton, chairman of the education committee.

A large portion of the money was raised during the 2005 Spelling Bee, held in September 2005. Other funds were provided by sponsors across Wayne County.

The mini-grants will assist teachers in trying new ideas and implementing special projects. Some of these include a life skills beautification project to teach students basic and functional knowledge of science concepts and a night activity that illustrates clear skies and special spatial events such as comets and planet alignment.

Award presenters included Elsie Hall, Jim Slowinski, Ms. Thompson and Benton.

Chamber President Steve Hicks expressed the importance of the business community working in tandem with the schools in Wayne County to provide unique learning experiences in the classroom.

"This is a great opportunity for us to recognize those teachers who go above and beyond the normal classroom activity to make learning more exciting and rewarding," he said.

The complete list of winning teachers and their projects includes:

*Heather Best, Rosewood Elementary School, "Literacy Their Way"

*Donna Countryman, Edgewood Community Developmental, "Melody Makers" and "Green Thumbs"

*Jean Gardner, Tommy's Road Elementary, "Night Sky"

*Jim Grant, Fremont STARS, "STARS on Stage"

*Karen Helms, Mount Olive Middle, "Off to the Races"

*Diane James, Tommy's Road Elementary, "Serving Up Good Nutrition the Puppet Way"

*Ricky Joyner, Southern Wayne High, "Composting Project"

*Carla Kincaid, Spring Creek Elementary, "Everyone Read-Along"

*Vivian Lamm, Northwest Elementary School, "One Student At A Time"

*Annette McCullough, Spring Creek High, "Aquaphonics in the Middle School"

*Rhonda Nichols, Norwayne Middle School, "Exposing Learning Disabled Kids to Great (Audio) Books"

*Lalita Ragland, Goldsboro High School, "Great Horticulture Scenery"

*Tracy Salter, Tommy's Road, "Listening for Better Reading"

*Jan Savage, Grantham School, "Join Our Journey Across the United States"

*Wilma Thompson, Dillard Middle, "Remembering Me Through Poetry"

*Constance Witherspoon, Edgewood, "Music Makers"

*Sheila Wolfe, Tommy's Road, "Shake, Rattle and Roll Curriculum."

Approximately 79 applications were received for the mini-grants, according to Janet Brock of the chamber. For the 2005-06 school year, a total of $17,973 worth of grants have been awarded.