SURPRISE! Teachers Surprised With Grants

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November 16, 2018
Daily News-Record 11/15/18
HARRISONBURG — If the big check and the shiny blue balloons weren’t enough to grab teachers’ attention, the announcement that the grants they submitted to the Harrisonburg Education Foundation were being funded definitely did.
Members of the foundation’s board traveled to each of the city’s nine schools, along with Massanutten Technical Center and the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School, on Wednesday to deliver letters telling teachers that their grant proposals had been approved. And they did it Publishers Clearing House-style.
“We had two teachers who cried,” said Margee Greenfield, the co-chair of the grants committee. “Students cheered. Principals have been grateful. It’s just been the best day.”
Although the foundation has given grants for years, this is the first time it has surprised teachers in their classrooms.
Thomas Harrison Middle School teacher Marianne DaRosa’s mouth dropped when she saw the balloons and the check, and she stood up to hug the foundation members when they informed DaRosa that her grant had been approved.
DaRosa received a $500 grant to start a coffee cart and bakery for students
who have intellectual disabilities. It’s something the high school does, and DaRosa observed some of her former students participating and wanted to start a similar project at the middle school.
“It’s to teach them job skills and learn people skills,” DaRosa said.
The $500 will pay for the supplies to get the project off the ground this year.
In all, $47,000 in grants were given to 59 teachers. A total of 96 proposals were submitted this year, Greenfield said.
They ranged from STEM project, to the arts to gardening to equipment for flexible movement in the classroom.
“There was a tremendous range of things,” Greenfield said.