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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 2017. Congratulations to these high school, middle school, and elementary teachers who are making a difference for our students thanks to these funds!
Michigan City Education Foundation Grants
The Michigan City Education Foundation awarded a number of small grants to teachers for innovative approaches in the classroom for the 2017-18 school year. 

The Michigan City Education Foundation (MCEF), a component fund of the Unity Foundation of La Porte County, was formed by caring donors in 1994 to encourage and recognize outstanding teacher projects. Earnings from this fund are used to make grants to teachers for generations to come. Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the endowment has awarded more than $235,000 to benefit approximately 37,000 students.

This year’s recipients from MCAS include:

Barker Middle School
Kathleen Gushrowski, Math Meets Art
Lisa Martin, Overcoming Adversity in the Real World
Mariah Pol, Barker Middle School’s History Day Fair
Maria Surma, Microscope Mania!
Kelly Tokoly-Rothermel, The Art of Music

Krueger Middle School
Shirley Allen, Men Sing Out! Part 2
Janine Peo, Analyzing United States History through Biographies

Coolspring Elementary School
Brianne Covington & Rita Cochran, Only One You
Angela Dydo, Reading is for Everyone
Megan Edinger, Igniting our Nonfiction Writing Sparks

Edgewood Elementary School
Teresa Pavloff, Picassos with Pavloff
Julie Pitman, Art History Research and Technology
Sheri Tuesburg & Michelle Sickles, Expository Experts and Biography Wax Museum

Joy Elementary School
Shannon Chavis, Parents and Kids Concert

Lake Hills STEM Magnet School
Candace Archer, Music for All
Diane Grams, Learning Conflict Resolution Training and Art
Cindy LoGreco & Jane Shimala, Poetry is Great
Erin Lozano, Creating Colorful and Creative Writers
Janis Mitchell, DeAnna Munoz, Penny Will, Kids Power
DeAnna Munoz, Janis Mitchell, Penny Will, Cookies and Canvas
Sheri Wagner, Engineers Are On The Move
Penny Will, Where the Brilliant Ideas Are… Writing Begins!!!

Marsh Elementary School
Susan Shell, Can We Read It? Yes, We Can!

Pine Magnet School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Sharon Arndt, Megan Orlando, Amanda Bair, Drip, Drop, Splat! First Graders Paint Like Jackson Pollock
Zachary Taylor & Rachel Palleschi, Green Growing and Learning

Springfield Elementary School
Debra Carpenter, Nancy Porter, Krista Tuholski, Planetarium
Stephanie Klingenmeier & Amber Large, Indoor School Garden
Amber Large, Stephanie Klingenmeier, Jeffrey Russell, Wax Museum Experts
Melissa Wise, Sensational Learning

Teacher Innovation Fund

The Michigan City Area Schools Teacher Innovation Fund has funded 10 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 the 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 $2,821 was awarded this year to the following MCHS Teachers:

Susan Cleveland, Iconic Imprint
Deanna Ehrhardt, Painting Forward
Julie Geyer, Data Analysis of Species at Fedder’s Alley
Catherine Lindgren, Virtual Reality AP Human Geography (Joe Mellen grant winner)
David Harris, Scratch Work
Amy Wojasinski-Labis, A Little Bit Of This And That
Daena Sisk, We Needs Some Books, Bro!
Brian Meyers, Virtual Fieldtrips with Google Cardboard
Stephanie Dege, Bright Minds, Bright Futures
Jennifer Gracyalny, Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha

Barbara A. Carmen Grants

Eight teachers from Michigan City Area Schools received grants from the Barbara A. Carmen Memorial Endowment Fund through the 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 that will enrich curriculum or enhance a teacher’s ability to meet student needs. More than $52,000 has been awarded thus far to finance teacher-directed projects, classroom equipment, and continuing education.

This year's Carmen grant recipients for MCAS include:

Barker Middle School

Valerie Mecklenburg: Student Centered Chemistry

Coolspring Elementary School

Brianne Covington & Luci Mazac: Meeting the Needs of Our Diverse Learners

Edgewood Elementary School

Melissa Glowski & Karen Marfise: Mindfulness

 Knapp Elementary School

Elizabeth Law: TIME for Kids

 Marsh Elementary

Susan Shell & Erin Breen: Making Our Books Come Alive!

Congratulations to these teachers, and thanks to the Unity Foundation!

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