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Education foundation awards first grants

The Newton Education Foundation recently present mini grants to several Newton County teachers. The grant recipients, from left, are Justin Bennett, Keisha Sampson, Donna Harris, Etha Addison, Michelle Campbell, Whitney Strickland, Lori McGovern, Renee Mallard, Kerry Stevens and Eric Hasty with Bob Stansfield, Chairman of the Newton Education Foundation.

The Newton Education Foundation recently present mini grants to several Newton County teachers. The grant recipients, from left, are Justin Bennett, Keisha Sampson, Donna Harris, Etha Addison, Michelle Campbell, Whitney Strickland, Lori McGovern, Renee Mallard, Kerry Stevens and Eric Hasty with Bob Stansfield, Chairman of the Newton Education Foundation.

COVINGTON -- Several Newton County teachers will be able to complete special projects this year.

The Newton Education Foundation recently presented nearly $5,775 to teachers in the Newton County School System as part of its classroom mini grants program.

"We are proud to be able to assist them in providing these excellent projects for their students," said Bob Stansfield, chair of the foundation.

In October, the foundation opened up an application process for educators to apply for $2,000 worth of grants in the system's three curriculum levels, elementary, middle and high schools. Dozens of teachers applied.

"The selection process was indeed difficult because of the quality (of the proposals)," he said. "I think the proposals are indicative of the high caliber teachers we have right here in Newton County."

The awards were given to the following projects:

* Clements Middle School teachers Michelle Campbell, Denise Walker and Jenea Williams were awarded $1,000 of the request $1,265 for the Pleasure of Reading project.

* Eastside High School's Kerry Stevens was awarded $327.85 for Real World Bacterial Identification.

* Ficquett Elementary School's Donna Harris was given $533 for her Wii Are Fit! project.

* Indian Creek Middle School's Renee Mallard, Lori McGovern and Eric Hasty were given $1,000 of their requested $1,251.67 for their project Using Graphic Novels to Increase Reading Interest and Achievement.

* Live Oak Elementary School teachers Etha Addison and Elizabeth Cooke were given $500 of their requested $699.95 for a Math in Art Festival.

* Newton High School's Justin Bennett was awarded $1,475.41 for his Sustainable Agriculture project.

* Palmer-Stone Elementary School's Whitney Strickland and Holly Smith-Foot were given $438 for their TouchMath Money Kit and Poster Set.

* West Newton Elementary School's first-grade team led by Keisha Sampson were awarded $500 of their requested $2,000 for ELL Resource Materials.

"Grants are great and well appreciated opportunities for educators, especially during slow economic times," Bennett said. "As our instructional budgets continue to shrink, we as teachers are always looking for other sources of funding to fulfill our learning objectives."

Bennett plans to purchase 12 Earthbox systems for NHS to provide students with reusable raised planting beds to use at home or at school. Students will be able to grow vegetables to learn skills in harvesting and preparing meals using fresh locally-grown products, he said.

The mini grants will be offered again in the future.

"We encourage those who didn't receive a grant to apply again," Stansfield said.

The Newton Education Foundation, ReImagine Newton, was formed in 2010 as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraising campaign for public education.

Tax deductible donations may be sent to the Newton Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1586, Covington, Georgia 30015. More information about the foundation and ways to donate is available on its Web site, www.reimaginenewton.org.