Foundation awards $20k in school grants

It wasn’t exactly the Publisher’s Clearinghouse’s Prize Patrol, but 31 Yukon teachers were surprised Thursday as Yukon’s version of the Prize Patrol popped into classrooms throughout the district delivering grants.

The Yukon Public School’s Foundation for Excellence began its surprise visits Thursday morning at about 7:50 with a special delivery to eight grant recipients at Skyview Elementary.

The school received more than $8,000 in grant money, almost half of the $20,000 that was handed out.

Principal Carla Smith knew the grants were coming, but she didn’t know the recipients were or the grant amounts.

She said the school had 11 applicants for the grants.

“I am going to cry. This is great,” Smith said.

D’lynne Koontz, director of community education, said 20 grants were awarded this year to 31 recipients.

There were 47 grant applications, she said.

The grants equal half of the funds raised through donations to the foundation this year, she said.

“We use half of what is generated. Last year, we generated $40,000,” she said.

The remaining money is deposited at various financial institutions in the community as a way to continue the program into the future.

The largest grant that a teacher can seek is $1,000.

No one received a $1,000 grant this year. The largest amount was Cathy Smith’s grant for “Chrome Sweet Chrome.” It totaled $995. Smith is a teacher at Skyview.

The smallest was at Ranchwood Elementary. Kandy Myers received $232.19 for her “Stre-e-etching My Students.”

Smith said the grants are an opportunity for the teachers to be creative.

“The most important thing is they are using their creativity and what they know is going to interest kids and help them find a deeper level of understanding. By getting money and getting their grants awarded, they are able to breathe life into the classroom, give them something different, something new to grasp. In some kids, it is enrichment and in some kids, it helps them understand concepts for the first time. So it is exciting. It put the love of teaching right back into what they do every day,” Smith said.

She also said the grants fund projects they would not otherwise be able to do.

“We don’t have the funds to do the extras on our own, so the foundation steps up. They are not frivolous. Tthey are a way to get kids hooked. It wouldn’t happen without the foundation,” Smith said.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth agreed.

“It is fantastic. This year, we are giving out $20,000 worth of grants and it adds to each one of these classrooms and it will affect children for years to come. It is a big deal to have this kind of support,” he said.

Koontz said the foundation was formed in 1990 and has been awarding grants since its inception.

During that time, more than 675 grants totaling more than $450,000 have been awarded.

The foundation originated with six “star” donors: Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Gene Cranfill, the Jim Snyder Family, Mr. and Mrs. Garland Bloodworth, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Shedeck, and the Clarence Wright Family — who believed in promoting academic excellence in Yukon classrooms.

The founding donors believed that quality education enhances the lives of the students as well as the success of the community, said Koontz.

Today, anyone donating at least $1,000 can have a grant named, she said.

“We have several grants that are awarded that way, she said.

The recipients also will be honored Nov. 16 during the annual Foundation Banquet.

“The Foundation’s goal is to give back to the teacher, to make sure they meet the needs in their classrooms,” she said.

A majority of this year’s grants were awarded for either technology or STEM projects.

In addition, several music and physical education teachers were recipients.

Koontz said this year also marks a year where every school in the district had at least one recipient.

“This is the first year that has happened,” Koontz said.

The following grants were awarded Thursday by the Yukon Public School Foundation for Excellence.




Charissa Spruill — Mallet Madness! A Musical Marathon — $743.77

Kayla Schckley — Learning Through “Osmo”sis — $923

Amy Jandebeur — Using Technology to Transform Teaching — $988.55

Nicole Gifford — Reaching Students with Technology — $899.94

Lindy Waters — Creative Collaboration with OSMO $933.81

Crystal Butcher — Starting Your STEM Journey (Don’t worry, I’ll be your GPS) $899.97

Alice Manney — Lights, Camera, Action $749

Cathy Smith — Chrome Sweet Chrome $995



Libby Wrather — History of Our Story $577.54

Deawn Dunnington — Read or Not, Here We Grow! — $476.03

Connie Baker — “All Hands on Quaver!” — $901.25



Misty K. Williams — Show me the Models! $984.50

Erin Regier — Bringing Genetics to Life through 3-D Modeling — $993.40

Bailey Fry — Miller Makers — $324.29



Heather Cromwell — Math + You = Champions — $906.74

Rachel Punneo — Breakout of Boredom — $250



Kimberly Byerly — Bon Appetite! A Book Tasting for First Grade — $90.77

Jennifer Redway — “The Can Band” — $320.49



Wendy Green — Sweating to the Beat – Music Edition — $840.42

Amanda Estep — Sweating to the Beat – PE Edition — $933.79



Jennie Wilmes — Launching into Literacy! — $949.94



Wendy Schneider — Green Thumb — $365.10

Jannett Marvin — Hands-on Medical Detectives — $813.34



Emilee Crim — Culture in the Classroom — $637.95

Lynn Neill — Music for All, Bar None — $913.50

Debbie Boswell — The MAP to Success — $922.24



Elizabeth Wilson — GOOD Things Come in Threes — $298.11

Kandy Myers — Stre-e-etching My Students — $232.19

Renae McGregor — Practices Makes Perfect — $602.40

Morgan Ross — STEM-Possible — $333.99



Ashlie Cravens — Library STEM Cart — $839.87

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