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MCAS Teachers Awarded Grants

Two teacher-grant programs administered by the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County recently announced recipients of small classroom grants for 2018. 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 2018-19 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 over 40,000 students.

This year’s recipients from MCAS include:

Barker Middle School
Dianne Collins, Refugee Novel Study
Gayle Davis, Stem Ozobots
Erin Frever, Creating Passionate Readers
Kathleen Gushrowski, Measuring Up
Brian Parker, Enhancing Math through Chess Conceptualization
Mariah Pol, Remembering the Legacy of Korean War Veterans in our Community
Brad Sebert, Grenade Novel Study

Krueger Middle School
Alyssa Foltz, Promoting Literacy Through Online Resouces
Daisy Lee, Winter Exploration
Janine Peo, Primary and Secondary Source Analysis as it Relates to the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Kelly Tokoly-Rothermel, Kreuger Digital Art Print Lab & Gallery
Anne Vicari, Community of Readers

Edgewood Elementary School
Ashlyn Combs, For the Love of Learning
Cindy Gesse, Literacy and Game Play - A Winning Combination!
Teresa Pavloff, Picassos with Pavloff
Michelle Sickles, Edgewood's Young Poet's Society
Sheri Tuesburg, Third Grade Biography Wax Museum (Nonfiction Authors)

Lake Hills STEM Magnet School
Candace Archer, Bucket Drum Brigade
Laura Charpentier, Whooo's Reading?!
Diane Grams, Cyanotype Prints
Janis Mitchell, Power Up for UNICEF
DeAnna Munoz, Cookies and Canvas
Jane Shimala, PIG - Poetry is Great

Marsh Elementary School
Alisa Carlson, Book Whispers
Susan Shell, Coding for Kinders!

Knapp Elementary School
Michael Livovich, Embrace the ink! Fifth graders read, strengthen literacy, and get their first tattoos (temporary)!

Pine Magnet School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Sharon Arndt, That's Life!
Robin Krassow, Learning in Color

Springfield Elementary School
Debra Carpenter, Cooldown Corners
Erin Ledyard, Clay Club
Melissa Wise, Learning with Letter Friends!

Teacher Innovation Fund
The Michigan City Area Schools Teacher Innovation Fund has funded 13 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. Additional funding for the program this year was also provided by the John A. and Dorothy Sieb Carstens Fund and the Tuholski & Oberlie Environment & Arts Fund for Youth.

This year’s awards, totaling $3,744, will empower 29 teachers, reaching 2,359 students with innovative projects during the 2018-19 school year.

They include:
Susan Cleveland, Iconic Imprint II
Laura Daly, Audio for Inclusion
Kristen Freitag, Project Preservation and More
Adam Goebel, Open your eyes with Chemistry
Gwen Hudson, Science Fiction Prototyping
Ashley Kohler, Ipads for Innovative Learning
Zoe Lauricella, Mini Whiteboards for Spanish Learning/Practice
Alan Layman, Using Graphing Calculators to Get Ahead on Assessments
Kelly Martin Fargo, Wolves Need the Green
Kelly O’Donnell & Kamryn Walker, Akela Room
Rebecca Shaman, Discovering the Secret of Papyrus
Alexander Uryga, Benjamin Gillman, Michael Megyese, & Brian Richards, Studying the Civil Rights Movement through the graphic novel “March: Book One”
Ashley Zahrt, CRISP-cas9 Genetic Engineering*

*Joe Mellen Award Recipient

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