Friday was a day of smiles at schools across Webster Parish as nine teachers were surprised with a check for $500 to go toward projects in their classrooms.
Representatives from the Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce made stops at the schools to hand out grants from the Webster Education Endowment Fund (WEEF). In total, $4,500 was dispersed Friday in an effort to assist those local teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty and need funds to assist them in the classroom.
"WEEF's mission is to improve the quality of education in Webster Parish public schools by marshaling independent, private donations and resources of the community," said Chamber President Jerri de Pingre'. "These resources are to be used for the express purpose of advancing public education through grants of funds to qualified educators in Webster Parish.
"These teachers represent the best that our parish has to offer," she continued. "The Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be a part of this important program."
Steve Dozier, Webster Superintendent of Schools, along with Connie Busby, elementary supervisor, joined the chamber officials for the presentations.
"We have many deserving teachers that have submitted innovative and creative projects for their classrooms," Dozier said. "We thank the chamber for supporting our teachers, students, and schools. Webster Parish is a great place to be."
Busby said the grants have provided valuable funds to teachers for projects that otherwise would not have been funded.
"Teachers and students at nearly every school in Webster Parish have benefited from these project funds," Busby said.
The 2012 WEEF recipients include:
Becky Wilson, Lakeside High, for the project "Extra, Extra Read All About It"
Sara Chreene, Central Elementary, for the project "Literature Across the Curriculum"
Becki Brown, Richardson Elementary, for the project "School Wide Read-Alouds"
Donna Strickland, Doyline High, for the project "Inquiring Minds: Using Hands-On Activities To Teach Science"
Tina Anderson, Webster Pre-School, for the project "A Collaboration of Pre-K Students Exploring Science Concepts"
Jennifer Guillory, Webster Pre-School, for the project "Providing Enrichment Through the Availability Of Science Center Materials"
Vera R. Meadors, Richardson Elementary, for the project "Amateur Architect Fraction Project"
Ana Fleming, Harper Elementary, for the project "Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Sounds Like Learning 'Round the Clock"
Jeremy Bell, N. Webster Jr. High, for the project "High Definition Reading"
All full-time Pre-K-12 Webster Parish public school teachers are eligible to apply for the grants, which are given annually. Teachers interested in the grants for 2013 should contact Connie Busby at the Webster Parish School Board office.
Started in November 1999, WEEF was originally set up to give 90 percent of the earnings gained off the investments of the original $125,000 raised for the fund. The mission of WEEF is to give the interest of that $125,000 earns away to teachers in grants.
When a teacher applies for a WEEF grant, their non-identifiable application is submitted to a chamber committee that chooses the grant winners without ever knowing who they are judging.