Thirty Yukon educators left the annual Yukon Public School Foundation for Excellence banquet Thursday as happy campers.
The teachers were honored with grants of up to $1,000 during the event. The money will be used for special projects that help draw students into the classroom.
The recipients were notified last month, but received certificates during Thursday’s Camp Win-A-Grant, held at the Palace Event Center, west of Yukon.
Meanwhile, two longtime Yukon education supporters were honored for their dedication to Yukon education.
Former School Board member Dixie Ritz and former track coach J.W. Loudermilk had grants named for them.
Ritz and Loudermilk both died earlier this year. Their dedication to Yukon schools was honored with new grants.
Megan Simpson of Skyview Elementary was honored with the Dixie Ritz Memorial Award, while Chase Langley of Shedeck Elementary received the J.W. Loudermilk Memorial Award.
The Jane Shedeck Award, considered the top award of the night, was given to Wendy Green of Myers Elementary.
In all, $23,000 grants were handed out to 30 recipients.
There were more than 45 grant applications for this year’s round, said Suzanne Briscoe, the foundation’s vice president.
Briscoe said this year’s grants cover a wide range of areas of education and will impact not only this year’s students, but also students for several years in the future.
“We are rewarding those teachers who think outside of the box and want to go the extra mile. We have such incredible, thoughtful teachers. It is not the school books and the internet. They are from science to reading to art, physical education, math. Lots of math,” she said.
Briscoe said the foundation is heavily supported by the community. The grants are funded through donations. Half of which is invested while the other half is awarded in grants.
This year’s grant total, which was $23,000, is among the highest in recent history.
“We know funding is difficult in Oklahoma schools. We believe in our community and our future is the students of Yukon,” Briscoe, who is a Yukon graduate, said.
More than 250 people attended the dinner.
The event was sponsored by four underwriters, BancFirst, YNB, Arvest and Integris Canadian Valley Hospital. They have sponsored the event more than a decade.
“Everyone knows that teachers have to spend out of their own pockets for any extra things or any special project they do. We want to support them and encourage them to come to Yukon and teach our students and keep them engaged. We want to give them a great education,” she said.
Briscoe also said the effort pays off.
“It does work. I am a firm believer,” she said.