Nonprofit awards more than $31,000

Gainesville High School students cheer as physics and engineering teacher Loren Freeman is handed two grants totaling $3,500 from Gainesville Independent School District Education Foundation board member Rachel Strait on Friday, Nov. 30.

Smiles were in abundance Friday, Nov. 30 as the Gainesville Independent School District Education Foundation Prize Patrol presented more than $31,000 in grants to various teachers throughout GISD.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Gainesville High School Principal Melissa Hutchison said of teachers on her campus being surprised with grants totaling $12,791. “I think, you know, any opportunity that we have to provide to our teachers who we know give everything to our kids is an opportunity that we can’t pass up.”

Hutchison said she thinks the grants will give students experiences they might not have otherwise.

Monies given this holiday season include taking GHS students to the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma, teaching students where their food comes from with a farm-to-table experience and taking students to media day at the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show next October, officials said.

“I have no doubt that some of these experiences are going to change the way a student sees,” Hutchison said. “It may even change their career path because of some of these experiences. We’re just very, very fortunate for the education foundation. It’s a beautiful gift.”

Physics and engineering teacher Loren Freeman was the recipient of two grants this year — one for $500 to take students to the air show and one for $3,000 to purchase a 3D printer.

“It’s really a unique thing to have,” Freeman said of the printer. “It’s going to be a part of their careers. 3D printing is not going away, and they need to know how to use that before they get into that situation.”

Education Foundation President Tamara Sieger said the grants support educational activities and programs not funded by tax dollars.

“We rely on donations from the community to award innovative teaching grants,” Sieger said. “There is no better investment than in the lives of children here in our community, who will become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Gainesville Junior High School received $3,668 in grants, Robert E. Lee Intermediate School was handed $5,149 in grants, W.E. Chalmers Elementary School’s grants totaled $5,017 and Thomas A. Edison Elementary School employees were presented with $4,778 in grants, according to information provided by Sieger.

Last year, Sieger said 19 grants totaling $22,921 were given to teachers districtwide.

The GISD Education Foundation was established in 2002 and has been providing grants since 2003, according to Sieger.

To donate to the nonprofit, or to view a detailed list of previous grant awards, visit www.gainesvilleisd.org/foundation.