Ascension Fund awards $50,500 in grants _lowres

Photo provided by The Ascension Fund -- Ascension Fund board member Sherrie Despino, from left, East Ascension High Principal Traci McCorkle, grant recipient Eric Brownfield, grant recipient Nicole Mlynczak, Ascension Fund grant sponsor Martha Wells and Ascension Fund board member Buddy Wells meet in August for a grant presentation.

The Ascension Fund board, sponsors and volunteers managed to surprise teachers at 20 Ascension Parish schools with the news that they have received grant funds to support innovative and creative methods of learning for students.

The Ascension Fund, a nonprofit organization, awarded $50,500 in its latest round of competitive grants.

A total of 41 grants were recently awarded, including eight School Impact Grants for $2,500 each and 33 Teacher Grants ranging between $500 and $1,000.

“Here in Ascension, we get to count our blessings,” said Michael Buturla, Ascension Fund vice president. “We have wonderful, talented teachers who are willing to go the extra mile to enrich the learning experience for their students, and we have local businesses and individuals who appreciate the value of our children’s education and are willing to invest in them.”

The Ascension Fund was established in 1991 as a project of the Rotary Club of Gonzales. Original pledges of $800,000 were placed in an endowment, the income that now pays for the grants. The fund provided its first grant in 1992 and since then has given more 1,100 grants representing $1.3 million in awards to area public schools and teachers.

The Ascension Fund is guided by a board of directors, and the invested funds are overseen by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Serving on the board of directors are President Donald Songy, Vice President Michael Buturla, Secretary Lisa Philippe Dunigan, Treasurer Brad J. Walker, Leana Chatman, Sherrie Despino, Sally Diez, Malcolm J. Dugas Jr., Fritz Englade Sr., Sonny Graugnard, Amy Hathorn-Lambert, Martin McConnell, Dr. Cherron Philippe, Timothy E. Pujol, Paulette Rosamond, Glenda Shaheen, Beryl S. Smith, Peggy Walker and Buddy Wells.

Grant awards included:

APPle Digital Academy: Sherice Palmer, $1,000 from the Randy J. Braud Memorial Endowment.

Central Primary: Erica Kraemer, $1,000 from the AllStar Ford/Lincoln Endowment; and Noelle Graham, a $2,500 School Impact Grant from the AllStar Ford/Lincoln Endowment.

Donaldsonville High: Marc Ward, $1,000 from the Ascension Idol 2015 fundraiser.

Donaldsonville Primary: Vanessa Bartlett, $500 from the Honeywell, Inc. Endowment; and Sara Ward, $1,000 Teacher Grant from the CF Industries Endowment.

Duplessis Primary: Kristi Hebert, $1,000 from the Neese Industries Inc. Endowment.

Dutchtown Middle: Jolie Rousell, $500 from the Turner Industries Endowment and a $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Rubicon Endowment.

Dutchtown Primary: Andy Kling, $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Air Product Endowment.

East Ascension High: Eric Brownfield, $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Roy Stern Memorial Endowment; and Nicole Mlynczak, $1,000 from the Buddy & Martha Wells Endowment.

G.W. Carver Primary: Kara Erickson, $500 from the Play Dirty 2015 Fundraiser; Sheena Prelow, $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Philippe Family Endowment in memory of Raymond Philippe Sr., A. S. “Blue” Philippe and David “Wolfie” Philippe; Tracey Templet, $1,000, from the Chester and Penny Diez Endowment in memory of Chester Diez Sr. and Mildred Diez; Kaylynn Henry Deslatte, $1,000 from the Bill and Pauline Buxton Memorial Endowment; and Louisa Palmer, $1,000 from the Claude and Carolyn Endowment.

Galvez Middle: Cathy Town, $1,000 Teacher Grant and a $2,500 School Impact Grant from the BASF Endowment.

Gonzales Middle: Carla Duplechin, $1,000 from the Viola Philippe Endowment in memory of Ed and Virginia Braud Jr.

Gonzales Primary: Anne Bergeron, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Gonzales Endowment in memory of its deceased members; and Ashley White, $500 from the Have a Steak in Education 2015 fundraiser.

Lakeside Primary: Jennifer Guttery, $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment.

LeBlanc Special Services: Shannon Fields, $1,000 from the Ascension Health and Nutrition Alliance.

Oak Grove Primary: Shannon Rodi, $500 from the Capital One Endowment.

Sorrento Primary: Lauren LaCour, $1,000 from the Terra Mississippi Nitrogen Inc. Endowment.

Spanish Lake Primary: Britt Colon, $1,000 from the InfiniEDGE Software Endowment; Glynis Kimball, $1,000 from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment; and Katye Secrist, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of East Ascension Endowment in memory of Sgt. Jay Ryan Gauthreaux.

St. Amant High: Principal Mia Edwards, $2,500 School Impact Grant from the Eatel Corp. Endowment in memory of Anona C. Banker; Mark Lambert, $1,000 from the Southwest Computer Bureau Endowment; Laney Gautreau, $1,000 from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Endowment; Melissa McCormick, $1,000 from the Oxy Chemical Corp. Endowment; Elizabeth Wallace, $1,000 from the Ascension Idol 2015 fundraiser; Karen Murphy, $1,000 from the Regions Bank Endowment; Holly Eubanks, $1,000 from the Whitney Bank Endowment; Nicole Tanner, $1,000 from the St. Elizabeth Hospital Endowment; and Tara Jones, $1,000 from the Williams-Olefin Endowment.

St. Amant Middle: Misty Lyngaas, $1,000, from the Art and Ruth Scanlan Memorial Endowment; and Kelly Smith, $1,000 from the Vulcan Materials Endowment.

St. Amant Primary: Jessica Paz, $1,000 from the Lion Copolymer Endowment.

For more information or to make a donation to The Ascension Fund, visit www. or call (225) 290-3322.