Teachers get their just rewards

Foundation passes out awards to fund several programs across the county

February 11, 2007|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Sun Reporter

It was almost like Publishers Clearing House when the Carroll County Public Schools Education Foundation presented its first monetary awards for 18 programs at 14 schools around the county.

Big smiles, heartfelt thank yous and congratulations were the order of the day as the Star Patrol school bus made its rounds, sometimes catching teachers in the classroom, giving their students a chance to share the goodwill.

Winning teachers or administrators received a red, white and silver star-shaped balloon bouquet, corsage and an oversized check for a special project for their students.

"Since there is no discretionary money for teachers, the Education Foundation board put together an application for a program or project that would positively influence students, for up to $2,000, for something not already funded by the school board," said Robin Kable, public schools coordinator of business and community partnerships.

The foundation, formed last spring with an 18-member advisory board, raised more than $40,000 in its first few months and decided to spend $20,000 on special projects to the schools that applied, Kable said.

With many applications, the board raised the total prize fund from $20,000 to $25,000. Individual prizes, kept secret until the presentation Thursday, ranged from $300 to $2,000.

The first stop was at Winter's Mill High School, where Spanish teacher Maureen Rooney-Mata was awarded $1,500 for a weeklong series of multicultural activities for the whole school, including a potluck meal, assembly and dancers from different countries.

"Oh, my goodness, this is going to be so exciting -- we're going to have such fun at our assembly," Rooney-Mata said, clapping her hands and smiling broadly.

Winter's Mill principal Ken Goncz noted that Rooney-Mata is "very focused on cultural education -- this is a labor of love for her."

As the group entered its third school, foundation board and awards committee member Paul Scholz said, "You actually have a feeling of doing good."

At East Middle, the group was taken to Lorene Livermore's eighth-grade class, which applauded when they saw the check for $1,500 for their Shakespeare Festival, a transitional project to help incoming students from four elementary feeder schools adjust to middle-school life.

The students put on workshops and will perform Romeo and Juliet, Livermore said. The funds will help pay for the program, including transportation for the elementary-school students to East Middle.

Several Carroll Springs School students joined physical therapist Marisa Myers and other staff to receive $1,500 for a hydraulic changing table for the therapy pool area.

"It's going to make a huge difference for our kids changing for the pool," said Myers, after accepting the gift for therapist Jennifer Ways, who applied for the award.

A delighted Hugh Jamison enthusiastically explained all the competitions his 16 engineering team students at Westminster High plan to enter, and for which they earned $1,500.

"This is quite an honor," Jamison said. "Our team is going to use this very wisely. The students will love it, and it will encourage them to put forth their best effort."

Next door at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, James Guilford proudly displayed what he and his Robotics Club students needed $1,500 for -- a mechanical robot almost ready for tryouts for an international competition.

Although snow covered Gateway School's labyrinth, teacher Lyndsay Pyles-Rogers pointed out the window to where a 10-foot round gazebo would go in the middle of the trail, partially paid for with $2,000 from the foundation.

"Probably every kid in the school has helped with the labyrinth," Pyles-Rogers said.

Other students said they felt lucky to get the award for the gazebo, which they will help construct. Members of the foundation told the teachers they would like to return and see their projects in action and perhaps even film them for educational cable channel 21.

The winners, who agreed to another visit, need to write a project evaluation paragraph upon completion and let the foundation know if they are applying for funds again, Kable said.

"We hear `if only we had $1,000, we could really change some lives,' and we wanted to affect some change for that," Kable said.


Education Foundation Grants

The following schools and programs won monetary prizes from the Carroll County Education Foundation are:

Carroll County Career and Technology Center: Robotics Club.

Carroll County Public Schools Department of Minority Achievement and Intervention Programs: minority family forums.

Carroll Springs School: hydraulic changing table for therapy pool.

East Middle: Shakespeare festivals.

Francis Scott Key High: mentorship program and chestnut tree project.

Gateway School: gazebo for labyrinth.

North Carroll High: mentorship program and Technology Club.

Outdoor School: greenhouse.

Robert Moton Elementary: classroom math libraries.

Shiloh Middle: Carnival Night.

South Carroll High: clay animation project and Unity Day Concert.

Taneytown Elementary: third-grade folktale unit.

West Middle: proactive problem solving program and student summit.

Westminster High: Engineering Team.

Winters Mill High: weeklong diversity experience.

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