MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Schools

May 6, 2010

Group distributes more than $4,400

Foundation grants help Checotah teachers

CHECOTAH — Students can discover historic faces, natural spaces and updated places thanks to more than $4,000 in grants from the Checotah Education Foundation.

Foundation board members spent Wednesday afternoon awarding 10 grants totaling $4,433  to surprised teachers at Checotah’s four schools. The Foundation has awarded more $46,739 in grants over the past nine years.

“We feel we’re helping schools that might not be able to do things,” said Foundation President Dr. Mitch Myers. “We try to help teachers do extra things. We help with basic needs and innovative projects.”

The Foundation raises the money through benefit golf tournaments and bean suppers as well as from individuals and memorial funds. A committee reviews grant requests but do not see teacher’s names until after grants are selected. Grant awards ranged from $198.19 to $500.

Most Checotah High School grant recipients were away on the CHS senior trip to Robber’s Cave State Park on Wednesday. However, Checotah alternative education teacher Mildred Burkhalter was caught by surprise when Foundation members walked into her classroom with a bunch of blue and white balloons and an oversized image of a check.

“I’m really elated to receive this,” he said. “I had never taken the time to apply for a grant. I’m glad I did.” Burkhalter said her project, Faces of History, involves students portraying historic figures. “Then we create a video of the students portrayals for future reference.”

Faye McLemore said the grant for her project, 21st Century Tools for History, will enable her to provide more current maps for her history classes.

“I had a lot of out-of-date maps,” she said.

Intermediate School enrichment teacher Patty Green said her grant will help fund an Outdoor Wildlife Learning (O.W.L.) Project that will get students outside. Enrichment students will create an outdoor learning environment featuring hummingbird feeders, bird houses and, later in the spring, a butterfly garden.

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