Shown here are Hawkins County Schools grant writer Debbi Pressnell and ECU mini-grant recipients James Laney, Mooresburg Elementary; Tosha Bean, St. Clair; Jonathan Barton, VHS; Laura Tipton & Melissa Markham, Mount Carmel Elementary; Christy Waye, Pathways School; Misty Williams & Brittany Rhoton, Clinch School.

ROGERSVILLE — Eight Hawkins County teachers will share a new $3,000 mini-grant awarded by Eastman Credit Union to purchase classroom enhancements such as robots, a 3-D printer, electronics, a cardio drum set and a model of a human brain.

Hawkins County Schools grant writer Debbi Presnell told the Times News on Wednesday that the teachers submitted a competitive application describing their project and how it would impact their teaching.

“I prepared a proposal for ECU describing the mini-grant concept and program,” Presnell said. “ECU liked the proposal and provided a donation. They did not provide us the full amount we asked for, but did give us enough to start the program. We would like to see it grow to the point that we can award about 17 teachers per year. It was a hard decision to select only eight.”

Presnell added, “There were truly so many outstanding applications. We have talented teachers at HCS who want to make classroom learning not only interesting, but fun and applicable. They want our students to be prepared and ready for today’s world.”

Among the teachers awarded were:

Jonathan Barton from Volunteer High School who was awarded “Electricity Discovery Circuit & Magnetism” experiment kits to help teach the concept of electricity and electronics.

Tosha Bean from St. Clair Elementary who received drums, noise makers, symbols, clappers, etc. This will help students learn through a variation of ways using songs and music — to make learning fun.

James Laney from Mooresburg Elementary who received a coding robot that teaches program codes plus translates them into commands.

Melissa Markham from Mount Carmel Elementary who received cardio drumming equipment that is used to boost social emotional learning — making learning interactive and engaging.

Britany Rhoton from Clinch School who received a 3D printer that will be used for advanced design STEM classes for fostering virtual design and then producing a material.

Laura Tipton from Mount Carmel Elementary who received a stand-up desk that helps students who have difficulty staying seated and also assists student collaboration within the classroom.

Christy Waye from Pathways Alternative School who received a camera, portable scanner and drawing tablet that will allow the teacher to engage better with the students.

Misty Williams from Clinch School who received a color- coded human brain model that will be used within the class “Teaching as a Profession” to understand the functions of the brain.

“I congratulate these winners for their zeal and commitment to our students,” said Director of Schools Matt Hixson. “This is an amazing opportunity for our system. We are grateful for ECU’s commitment to our students, teachers and schools.”

Eastman Credit Union president and CEO Kelly Price said ECU appreciates the teachers in our region who give of themselves every day, to make the communities we serve better places to live and raise families.

“They go above and beyond and work selflessly to prepare our children for the future,” Price said. “ECU is honored to support this mini-grant program that provides them with additional resources for the classrooms as they inspire their students, excite their minds, and instill in them the confidence that they, too, can be difference makers.”

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