By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Thirty grants totaling more than $23,000 were awarded this week to Yukon educators during surprise, in-class presentations.
Since it began in 1991, Yukon Public Schools’ Foundation for Excellence has awarded more than $500,000 to local educators to fund innovative and creative projects in their classrooms.
“We began awarding grants before you were born!” YPS Foundation trustee Pam Shelton told students in several of the classrooms visited during the Monday, Oct. 29 award announcement.
Some 47 applications were received for grants this fall, with 30 winners selected at a meeting last week.
The classroom presentations made by Foundation trustees to the grant award recipients has become an annual highlight for many schools and local educators.
Foundation trustees told students these grant funds provide “special projects and supplies” that otherwise may not be possible within the regular school budget.
“This is something these teachers have worked really hard to get,” YPS Foundation trustee Cherie Logan told students.
Skyview Elementary tallied the highest number of Foundation grant recipients with 10 teachers earning their funds. Yukon High School was next highest with seven teacher grant winners.
A pillar in the community’s education system, the non-profit Foundation for Excellence is funded entirely through donations and gifts from businesses and individuals. Contributors may donate in honor of someone.
In explaining how the Foundation’s board chooses which teachers receive grants, Foundation trustee Marc Foreman told Yukon Middle School students, “The teachers write essays … and we grade them.”
Foreman advised teacher recipients to mark Thursday, Nov. 15 on their calendars.
That night, all grant recipients will be recognized during the annual YPS Foundation banquet at the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner Road in El Reno. Highlight of the evening will be the presentation of eight prestigious memorial and honor awards for the best judged grant projects.
Several of these grants are named in honor of longtime Yukon educators and school advocates, notably Dixie Ritz, Jane Shedeck and Pat Snyder.
The fete also recognizes the Foundation’s many donors, contributors and supporters.
The Nov. 15th annual banquet has a camping theme, “Camp Win-A-Grant”, as attendees are encouraged to dress casually in jeans and flannels.
“It should be a lot of fun!” Foreman told teachers.
“Camp Win-A-Grant” banquet sponsorship levels are: Happy Campers ($1,000), Starry Night ($500), Firefly Friends ($250), Canoe & Paddle Pals ($100), and Lone Wolf ($50).
For banquet reservations and tickets, call 354-2579 or 354-1996.
YPS Foundation For Excellence Board of Trustees are: Suzanne Briscoe, Marilyn Chambers, Pam Shelton, Marc Foreman, Kyle Ruzicka, Kristi Wright, Julie Simeroth, Cherie Logan, Diana Heusel, Ashliegh McClung, Kara Heintz, Carolyn Henthorn, and Sauny Shedeck. Ex-officio members are Dr. Jason Simeroth, Dr. Jason Brunk and D’Lynne Koontz.
Tax-deductible donations may be mailed to: YPS Foundation for Excellence, P.O. Box 850295, Yukon, OK 73085. For more information, visit www.ypsfe.org .
Yukon High School: Samantha Manke – “I Can’t Contain My Attraction for Polymerase Chain Reactions!”; Brian Payne – “Working with the Medium of the Masters”; Tiffany Rush – “Switching Things Up”; DeLora Mowery – “Data, Data Everywhere; and Nary a Drop to Drink”; Kim Garner – “Shakin’ and Bakin’ – Learning About Our Earth”; Erin Regier – “Let’s Get Ready to Model!”; and Misty Williams – “No Need to be Nervous About the Nervous System”
Skyview Elementary: Emily White – “Coding for Innovators”; Charissa Spruill – “It’s a Barnyard Hootenanny!”; Megan Simpson – “Lighting Up Learning”; Aaron Rios – “Wobbin’ Out the Wiggles for Success”; Nicole Gifford – “For the Love of Science”; Julie Lee – “Kinesthetic Kiddos”; Erica Blystone – “Wiggle While You Work”; Amy Walters – “Reading to Succeed, It Is In the Bag”; Crystal Butcher – “A Dash of Robotics Goes a Long Way”; and Sara Newton, “Bringing Learning Home.”
Yukon Middle School: Jeanette Bechtol – “Burst of Color with Batik” and Shannon Truelove – “Cozy Reading Corner.”
Ranchwood Elementary: Jill King/Elizabeth Wilson – “Open/Shut, Open/Shut … That’s the Way We CUT, CUT, CUT!”; Kandy Myers – “Shape It Up!”; and Shelley Erdman, “STEM, Stories and Stacks.”
Central Elementary: Jessica Adams – “Captivating Capstone 4D”; Emily Crim – “Puzzling Our Way Into ABCs”; and Ryann Burner – “Lights, iPad, Action.”
Lakeview Elementary: Lori Gossen/Kassandra Ford – “Not Your Grandma’s Storytime”
Shedeck Elementary: Ashley Rudkin – “Readers Are Leaders”; Chase Langley – “Get Your Steps On Route 66”; and Jennie Wilmes – “Get On Our Level: “Books for the School”
Myers Elementary: Wendy Green – “Awesome Books with Musical Hooks!”