DOWNEY - A check for $7,735 was presented to the Downey Unified School District office by Downey Federal Credit Union for distribution to the winners of the 2012 Student Enrichment Grants Program.The program awards grants in varying amounts to teachers in both public and private schools in Downey whose envisioned projects for their students are adjudged especially noteworthy for their uniqueness and creativity in advancing the students' learning and enhancing their educational experience. There were nine $255 award winners: 1) Old River Elementary's Stephanie Hathaway-To replace their old table tennis wooden paddles with rubber-faced ones, for their physical education class; 2) Maude Price's Shelly Keele-To purchase toys and materials for thematic learning of special needs students; 3) Downey Adult School's Kelly Holt-To purchase a Wii system to teach adults 55 years and older about proper ways to exercise; 4)Griffiths Middle School's Kellie Russell-To sew 'Burrito Baby' onto doll blankets to give as gifts to orphaned children in Guatemala; 5) Ward Elementary's Jackie Graves-To purchase Monarch caterpillar larvae for her 2nd grade science project showing butterfly life cycles; 6) Our Lady of Perpetual Help's Helen Alexander-To provide a field trip to the Lazy W Ranch Time Capsule; 7) Imperial Elementary's Diane Anderson-To purchase stability balls to heighten movement to promote alertness and develop core muscles; 8) East Middle School's David Hedden-To obtain CD's to help with educational songs for pre-Algebra classes; and 9) Rio Hondo Elementary's Naomi Griswold-To purchase materials for hands-on experiments for Science Discovery Day program. The six $555 award winners: 1) Downey High School's Brandy Ordway-Roach-To provide for a field trip to the Renaissance Faire to learn about the Elizabethan era and 'Hamlet'; 2) Columbus High School's Darren Peterson-For a field trip to Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College for students to experience college; 3) Ward Elementary's Jami Piercy-To purchase T-shirts to reward 1st graders who know the first 100 sight words for reading; 4) Old River School's Jennifer Robbins-To provide Gator TV to involve students in writing scripts and editing news stories for broadcast purposes; 5) Old River School's Julia Wright-To purchase special books on mysteries, fantasy and science fiction for special learners; and 6) Columbus High's Robert Hecker-For a field trip to attend the Long Beach Opera production of "The Fall of the House of Usher." The two big winners ($1,055 grants each) were: 1) Warren High's Scott Lane-To build a greenhouse, grow and sell crops, and manage the money earned for his business class; and 2) Downey High's Michelle Napoli-For converting on office to a photo studio for the Yearbook and Online newspaper. The awards have ending '55' digits to commemorate the credit union's 55 years of service to the community. More than 75 teachers vied for the grants this year. Of the entries received, the 17 winners were chosen by a committee from the credit union. The grant money was distributed among the educators from each of the academic levels: elementary, middle, high school and adult education. In her brief acceptance speech, DUSD Superintendent Wendy Doty said, "We can't thank DCFU enough for this yet another financial gift to help our teachers in their efforts to educate our children. We've had a long and beneficial relationship with the credit union." DFCU president and CEO Barbara Lamberth said she hopes to increase the grant amounts every year. Kari Volen, community education and development representative, added: "We are truly honored to sponsor the SEG program and give back to Downey educators, who initially founded the credit union."
********** Published: December 20, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 36