Credit union disperses $7,750 to Downey teachers

DOWNEY - Fourteen Downey educators have been awarded $7,750 in grants by Downey Federal Credit Union to contribute to the enrichment of their students' learning experience.

Four educators each received $1,000 while five got $500 grants and another five got $250 apiece.

The differing amounts were based on the following criteria: clarity, uniqueness, and creativity of the proposed concept; number of students impacted; relevance to classroom focus and district standards; and expected level of enhancement of the student's learning experience and environment.

The grant opportunity was open to elementary, middle school, and high school educators. Nearly 125 proposals were received this year, which marked DFCU's 10 years of involvement in the student enrichment program and, as new president and CEO Ray Mesler said in his introductory remarks, it continued a tradition of close association and collaboration that has existed between DFCU and the school district for some 56 years.

Kari Volen, DFCU community education and development representative, also pointed out that DFCU has given out more than $70,000 in grants over the last decade.

Receiving $1,000 checks were:

*Rio San Gabriel Elementary's Mary Dagani, who will be using the funds to integrate art with writing for photo journaling;

*Warren High's Bianca Farina, who will be purchasing four iPads to help her developmentally disabled students with free educational apps;

*Downey High's Gregory Pittenger, who will use the grant to purchase a new irrigation system for the campus vegetable garden, which is a part of the botany program;

*and Sussman Middle School's Nekane Erro, who will use the funds for iPad minis for autistic children to learn social skills using free apps.

Each receiving $500 checks were:

*Alameda Middle School's Maureen Sary, who will be using her grant money for fitness equipment such as pedometers, Nerf balls, and jump ropes for third-graders;

*Warren High's George Redfox, who will be purchasing digital cameras for students entering regional and national photography competitions;

*Warren High's Justin Muller, who will apply the money to purchase iPads to "make learning more fun" by taking advantage of the free social studies and history apps;

*West Middle School's Andrea Pyle, who will use her check to provide walkie-talkies so students in the film-making class can keep in touch with one another;

*and Columbus High's John Glaister, whose grant money will be used for a docent-conducted tour and an art educator for a trip to the Museum of Latin American art for social studies, English, and Special Ed students.

In the $250 category, the recipients were:

*Maude Price Elementary's Victoria Smith, whose funds will be used for the garden program;

*Lewis Elementary's Brad Mathews, who will purchase music folders and t-shirts for the students' performances in the city;

*Sussman Middle School's Lorraine Neal, whose grant is earmarked for microphones for the Glee Club;

*Doty Middle School's Daniel Rojas, who will purchase games and books for the WEB program, for developmentally disabled students;

*and Doty Middle School's Carrie Redfox, whose check is intended for board games and Lego's for "My Place," a club for regular and Special Ed students.

********** Published: Dec. 12, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 35

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