NEW HAVEN — Four New Haven Elementary School teachers were the recent recipients of awards and grants from the New Haven School Fund, established by the late Dr. Harry Keig.
When Dr. Keig made a gift through his will to create the fund to support his childhood elementary school, he envisioned enriching the education of students far into the future. The projects funded through the most recent grant round brought Dr. Keig’s original vision to fruition.
This year’s recipients included Jacque Richardson and Kira Northup, who were named the “Excellence in Teaching Award” winners. In addition, Kathy Baker and Marla “Dee” Ingels received grants for school projects.
Richardson and Northup received the award for their annual fifth grade project, based on the children’s book, “One Hen.” The book is about a young boy in Africa who, with the help of a small loan, buys a hen. He sells the extra eggs to buy more hens, and eventually employs many people in the village. He also begins giving his own loans to young African children.
As part of the project, the New Haven fifth graders hear guest speakers, and learn about loans and community involvement. They take out their own “loans” to make and sell items to their fellow students at lunchtime. The money earned is then used to buy food for the local Bend Area Food Pantry.
The award came in the form of a $4,000 grant to support professional development opportunities. Richardson and Northup used the money to attend the “Teach Your Heart Out” conference in Atlanta, Ga.
The teachers expressed their appreciation to the late Dr. Keig for giving them the opportunity to attend the event, and said their students will benefit from the conference.
“It was a great experience to meet some well-known teachers, and attend the workshops and keynote speeches they gave,” said Richardson. “Teachers from all over the U.S. came together to learn better teaching practices. We immediately came back and started implementing strategies we learned. I couldn’t wait to get back and try them with our students.
“It was encouraging and made us excited to return to our classes to implement some of the games and practices we learned,” she said. “We attended the sessions that focused on reading and math because we felt they would have the greatest impact on our students.”
Baker’s classroom enrichment grant of $3,340 will be used to purchase large blocks for the Imagination Station Playground project. Children playing with the blocks will enhance their curiosity and motor skills both in the classroom and on the playground, taking children back to the basics of imaginative play.
Ingels received a $2,718.25 grant for the Headphones for All program. The money received will be used to purchase over 500 pairs of headphones in order to continue using school-issued Chromebooks in the classroom while minimizing noise, thus making the classroom less disruptive and improving focus, particularly during testing.
Like many growing up along the banks of the Ohio River, Dr. Keig had his feet, and his heart, in two states. After attending elementary school in Mason, he attended the former Middleport High School in Meigs County. When he passed away in 2003, Dr. Keig left gifts through his will to establish two endowment funds. They are the Forrest Bachtel Scholarship Fund to support scholarships at Meigs High School, as well as the New Haven School Fund to support the elementary school that laid the foundation of his education and provided a strong start for his future career as a doctor.
The purpose of the New Haven fund is twofold: to provide grants that directly enrich the classroom experience of students at the elementary school, and to provide the excellence in teaching awards that support professional development opportunities for teachers engaging in and looking to expand novel classroom techniques.
The New Haven School Fund is a part of the Meigs County Community Fund Family of Funds, a local community fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.
(Portions of this story were provided through a press release from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.)
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.