From left are Western Governors University representative John Hardin and Anna Junior High School teacher Carolyn Gaddis. Photo provided.

Anna Junior High School teacher receives $1,000 grant from university

Carolyn Gaddis, a 6th grade English language arts teacher at Anna Junior High School in Anna Community School District No. 37, has received a $1,000 grant through Western Governors University’s, WGU, “Fund My Classroom” initiative. 

The funds will be used to purchase materials to create an outdoor classroom for middle school students and their teachers to enjoy. 

Gaddis learned she was selected for the grant in early May when WGU staff surprised her with a check presentation at her school.

As the student council representative at her school, Gaddis tasks student council members with creating and implementing a new service project each year. 

Some projects from previous years include starting a recycling program, hosting a blood drive and raising funds to place multiplication facts in stairways throughout the school. 

With the student council being unable to meet last school year due to social distancing requirements, the group missed out on crucial fund-raising opportunities to help fund their upcoming service project. 

The grant money received from WGU will allow Gaddis and her student council members to fund their service project of creating an outdoor classroom. 

The new space will be available for all classes in grades 3-8 to use and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine while learning subject matter. 

In creating this space, Gaddis hopes to help students and staff heal from the stress of the last several years, caused by the pandemic. 

The innovative classroom project is one of 27 across Illinois chosen by WGU to receive funding. 

The nonprofit, fully online university issued a call in March for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects by April 17 for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its “Fund My Classroom” initiative. 

Gaddis’s proposal was one of more than 80 nominations received statewide. Most grants were awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week, which ran from May 2-6. 

“We received nominations for some amazing classroom projects, and we are happy to bring so many to life through this year’s ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative,” said Dr. Terrance Hopson, regional director of Western Governors University, in a news release. 

“When it comes to expanding classroom curriculum and employing innovative techniques to engage and challenge students, teachers are often limited by costs. 

“This initiative is an opportunity for WGU to give back to teachers, who go above and beyond to educate our students, by providing them with funding they can use to further enhance learning both in and out of the classroom.” 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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