, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 30, 2013

Grant brings excitement to MHS drama teacher

It’s among several given by Education Foundation

— Drama teacher Penny McGill rushed over to the Fine Arts Auditorium, where she thought yet another pipe was leaking.

But what the Muskogee High School teacher found instead was a plaque, balloons and lots of smiling faces to go with her $10,000 grant toward the theater department’s needs.

The Education Foundation of Muskogee ran its annual “grant patrol” Monday, giving out almost $24,000.

McGill said she was stunned.

“I just need to breathe,” she said, clutching the plaque and getting hugs from foundation board members and students. “The first thing that comes to the top of my head is our curtains. They’re in such bad shape, and we can replace them and not worry anymore.”

McGill said the theater department also rents lighting for shows, so she hopes to buy lights and microphones.

Foundation President Randa Johnson said the grant came about because of matching donations from Yaffe Iron and Metal.

Andrew Yaffe, a member of both the boards of Yaffe and the foundation, said his hope when he asked the company to match grants was to be able to give such a large grant this year.

“A lot of it, too, was I was on a couple of musicals on this stage when I went to high school here,” he said. “And it’s a really neat experience.”

Johnson said Education Foundation members look forward to the grant patrol.

“Today, for us, is a very rewarding day because it’s a culmination of all our efforts,” Johnson said. “This is what we work so hard to accomplish, and it’s wonderful to see the joy on the faces of the teachers.”

The grants included $1,987 for the “Acting Out Loud: Living History Through Drama and Literature” program at Sadler Arts Academy and $2,895 to teacher Robin Allen at the Early Childhood Center for “Math: Above and Beyond.”

Peggy Jones, Muskogee Public Schools’ executive director for curriculum and instruction, and Jim Wilson, the assistant superintendent for personnel and support, rode along on the grant patrol Monday.

“It’s fantastic. This gives teachers the opportunity to do things they ordinarily couldn’t,” Jones said. “It helps them get creative and get supplies to really make our programs better.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

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