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MCAS Teachers Awarded Grants

Three teacher-grant programs administered by the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County recently announced recipients of small classroom grants for 2016. Congratulations to these high school, middle school, and elementary teachers who are making a difference for our students thanks to these funds!
UPDATE! Michigan City Education Foundation Grants
The Michigan City Education Foundation awarded several small grants to teachers for innovative approaches in the classroom for the 2016-17 school year. 

The Michigan City Education Foundation (MCEF), a component fund of the Unity Foundation of La Porte County, was formed in 1994 to encourage and recognize outstanding teacher projects.  Three groups came together - the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. and Mrs. Burton Ruby, and Mary Lou Linnen.  Each contributed funds to create a permanent endowment of more than $150,000.

This year’s recipients include:

Barker Middle School

Tim Blekeney & Kathleen Gushrowski, Measuring Up, $342.31

Kathleen Gushrowski, Math is a Cake Walk, $128.66

Valerie Mecklenburg , Cell Growth: Identifying Normal & Abnormal Cell Growth, $286.16

Mariah Pol, Historical Explorers Club, $350

Kelly Tokoly-Rothermel, 21st Century Color, $343.44


Krueger Middle School

Shirley Allen, Men sing Out!, $350

Janine Peo, East Asian Immersion the Krueger Way, $347.57

Kathryn Triemstra, Old School Gaming, $269.11


Edgewood Elementary School

Courtney Barber, Seeing Yourself While Reading, $300

Teresa Pavloff, Dream Big Arts and Drama, $350

Sheri Tuesburg & Michelle Sickles, Third Grade Biography Wax Museum and Ambitious Authors, $350


Joy Elementary School

Lauren Stacks, iPads for 5th, $288.89

Samantha White, Amy Bartels & Andrew Dudeck, Family Fun Night, $350


Lake Hills STEM Magnet School

Candace Archer, Instrument Suppliments, $138.90

Kelley Gertner, Early Engineers, $338.92

Diane Grams, Learning Conflict Resolution Through Art, $349.42

Renee Hall, Reaching the Second Step, $350

Erin Lozano, Sizzling Science, $162.23

Janis Mitchell & DeAnna Munoz, Creating Confident Citizens, $350

DeAnna Munoz & Janis Mitchell, Cookies and Canvas, $350

Sheri Wagner, Lap Pad Learning, $350

Penny Will, Cookies and Canvas, $350


Marsh Elementary School

Alisa Carlson, Growth Minded, $341.66

Susan Shell, All Hands on Deck!, $350


Pine Magnet School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Holy Beadles, Gluing Magic, $282.43

Julie Schmidt, Holly Beadles, Samantha Lakin & Samantha Kubik, Acceptance Through Ugly Dolls, $189

Elizabeth Schreeg, Tuning Up with Tablets, $267.25

Teacher Innovation Fund
The Michigan City Area Schools Teacher Innovation Fund has funded 15 applications this year to support innovative classroom projects.

The fund was established with Unity Foundation of La Porte County in 2011 by former Michigan City Mayor Chuck Oberlie and MCAS Superintendent Barbara Eason-Watkins, EdD.  It provides grants of up to $350 to teachers and professionals at Michigan City High School and the La Porte County Career and Technical Education-A.K. Smith Center.  In addition, Horizon Bank generously contributed to help grow the fund and Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce supports one grant each year in memory of A.K. Smith graduate and long-time Horizon Bank employee Joe Mellen.

A total of $4,477.46 was awarded to 15 applications this year. The selection committee under Unity faced a difficult decision in awarding the more than $2,557.51 available in the Teacher Innovation Fund, and recommended selecting eight projects. Unity Foundation Literacy Fund then generously contributed an additional $1,919.95 to support all the applications.

Recipients for 2016-17 include:

Lynne Clinkert, Stand up for learning, $272.73

Deanna Ehrhardt, Footprints Into the Future, $350.00

Laura Daly, Interactive Literature, $194.94

Stephanie Dege, Engaging Students Through Virtual Reality, $346.76*

James Funk, Tablet PC, $350.00

Adam Goebel, Restocking the Chemistry Shelves!!!, $328.25

Jennifer Gracyalny, Teaching La Llorona de Mazatlán, $225.00

Ashley Kohler, Digital Transition Support in Flipping Classroom, $350.00

Michael Livovich, Planning to Succeed: Planners and Support for Early College Students, $350.00

James Newman, Broadening Horizons with Food, $350.00

Rebecca Shaman, Black History Project/Gallery, $341.97

Lucas Snyder, Decades Project, $308.00

Bruce Stahl, Help, I need more brain, $103.00

Cheri Whitler, Don't get in a Rut: Learn and Renew, $334.81

Amy Wojasinski-Labis, Resource Cabinet, $272.00

*Joe Mellen Award Recipient

To support the growing number of teacher grant requests, tax-deductible contributions are welcomed to the Teacher Innovation Fund or Unity Foundation Literacy Fund. Online contributions may be made at, or checks mailed to Unity Foundation, PO Box 527, Michigan City, IN  46361, with Teacher Innovation or Unity Literacy Fund in the memo line. For more information, call the Unity Foundation at 219-879-0327, or email

Barbara A. Carmen Grants

Eight teachers from Michigan City Area Schools received grants from the Barbara A. Carmen Memorial Endowment Fund through Unity Foundation of La Porte County.

The fund was established in 1992 in memory of the late Barbara A. Carmen, a Michigan City Area Schools elementary teacher.  Mrs. Carmen’s family conceived this fund through Unity Foundation to promote excellence in the classroom. Annual grants are awarded to fund special classroom projects and programs which will enrich curriculum or enhance a teacher’s ability to meet student needs. More than $49,500 has been awarded thus far to finance teacher-directed projects, classroom equipment, and continuing education.

This year's grants for MCAS include: 

Barker Middle School

Jill Grabowski: Water Water Everywhere, $350

Coolspring Elementary School

Brianne Covington & Luci Mazac: Promoting Reading Fluency and Fostering Vocabulary Gains Through Auditory Learning, $350.36

Knapp Elementary School

Elizabeth Law: Catch Some Mice, $256.47

Joshua Schultz: IXL Online Math, $400

Pine Magnet School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Tessa Maguire: The Phonics Dance, $187

Theresa Wilkins: Autism Sensory Room, $250

Springfield Elementary School

Debra Carpenter: Buddy Bench, $400 

To help support teacher grants, or other beneficial projects through Unity Foundation’s endowment funds, please call 219-879-0327 or donate online at 

Congratulations to these teachers, and thanks to the Unity Foundation and Barbara A. Carmen Endowment!