Photo provided -- First row from left are Mae Stevens, Shondra James, Carla Duplechin, Rebecca Muskat and Rebecca Stewart; and second row, Rae Broussard, Kadee Dupuis, Janis Ament and Pam Gautreau. Not pictured is Alice Bourque.

Ten Ascension Parish teachers have received $500 each in grant money from Eatel to support innovative teaching methods that are designed to engage students in their classrooms.

Eatel’s annual “Reach a Kid, Teach a Kid” grants were judged this year by a committee comprised of Beryl Smith and Lyman Abadie, both of Eatel, Angelle Deshautelles, executive director of Ascension Parish Libraries, and Sherry Denig, executive director of Volunteer Ascension.

For more than 17 years, the Eatel Reach a Kid, Teach a Kid grant program has helped fund unique projects in local schools, impacting hundreds of primary, middle and high school students every year, a news release from Eatel said. To date, Eatel has awarded more than $85,000 in teacher grants.

“Eatel is proud to be able to help one of the most valuable resources in our community: our teachers,” said Toby DuBois, Eatel chief marketing officer. “We’re glad that our Reach a Kid, Teach a Kid grants are able to fund creative thinking in local classrooms which supports Ascension Parish schools’ ability to shine.”

Eatel hosted a ceremony Oct. 22 in their lobby to honor this year’s grantees. Attending in support of the winning teachers were their school principals, friends and family members as well as Ascension Superintendent of Schools Patrice Pujol, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Steve Westbrook, Director of Secondary Schools David Alexander, ?Supervisor of Secondary Education Lisa Bacala and Supervisor of Career & Technical Education Ronda Mathews.

“It’s just so exciting to have some of our very best teachers, with their creative ideas and passion for our kids, show their willingness to go that extra mile,” Pujol said. “And we can’t thank Eatel enough for their commitment to continuing the funding of these teacher grants because our students are the ones who profit.”

The 2014 Eatel grant winners are:

  • Janis Ament, St. Theresa Middle School, project: “Service with a Smile from the Heart”

St. John Primary first-through-third graders will adopt nursing and assisted living homes in Gonzales. Students will write and mail letters once a month and present the seniors with art and musical performances. This grant will impact 240 students and approximately 290 seniors.

  • Alice Bourque, St. Amant High School, project: “Real World Success”

Bourque teaches Introduction to Business Computer Applications and Business Computer Applications. The classes teach formatting for professional business documents, emails, memos, newsletters, spreadsheets and databases that students will use in their post-secondary education and careers. The grant will help students become “in-house Microsoft Office specialists” with five clients to service.

  • Rae Broussard, St. Amant High School, project: “Behind the Scenes”

Through this grant, students in G-C-E, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Pro-Start, & B-C-A will collaborate on one large project. Students will create and host a Dine-in Movie Night at St. Amant High School. Students will learn the skills needed for a hands-on business that they create. If successful, students will continue to host this event in the future as a learning experience and fundraiser for Gator Mania, the school-based enterprise.

  • Carla Duplechin, Gonzales Middle School, 6th grade, project: “Crossing Borders While Touching Hearts”

This grant will involve 10 special education students, some of whom are unable to write and listen at the same time, some of whom have difficulty remaining focused on instruction and some of whom have difficulty understanding material when it is presented within the four walls of a classroom. This grant will provide opportunities to engage all learners. Students will choose various landscape border bricks, select patterns or create their own patterns and decorate their pieces. They will enjoy a sense of pride and accomplishment upon seeing their finished products and giving them to their families.

  • Kadee Dupuis, St. Amant High School, project: “Big Fun with Big Books”

This grant is geared toward high school seniors who wish to pursue a profession in education. During their internships, they must teach a lesson, help students one-on-one and learn classroom skills. This grant will make it possible to purchase several “big books” of classic children’s stories. These books will benefit the students by giving them experience reading in front of their peers.

  • Pam Gautreau, The Church Academy, project: “Just What the Doctors Ordered”

This grant recognizes that writing is an essential life skill. Students will learn about empathy through various genres of books, including poems, fiction, nonfiction, riddles/jokes and fables. Students will be instructed to write their own stories with a focus on making a difference in the life of another through compassion. The writing project will be published as a collaborative piece of the entire class. Once the books are published, each student will take home a copy, and several copies will be donated to local nursing homes, widow’s outreach and the children’s hospital. These students will become published authors with empathetic hearts.

  • Shondra James, Donaldsonville Primary School, project: “All I Want To Do Is Read”

Many of the children at Donaldsonville Primary have limited exposure to quality literature. Many of the books available to the teacher are dated and do not include many of the characters that they are familiar with in their daily lives. This grant will allow each student to access hundreds of stories right at their fingertips. Students will engage with the stories for guided reading groups, independent reading and book clubs.

  • Rebecca Muscat, Dutchtown High School, project: “Photography Can Reach a Kid, Videography Can Teach a Kid”

Through this grant, students will be able to use digital camera technology during lab activities. There may also be an opportunity to expand and connect their use of photography and videography into other classes such as advertising, digital media, and other business and art classes. This technology can be used for subsequent years and shared within the biology department, thus benefiting thousands of students.

  • Mae Stevens, Prairieville Primary School, project: “Reading Closely”

Students will be reading several novels within the modules of the Expeditionary Learning Curriculum this year. Students would have the opportunity take the novel home, re-read for understanding and share new learning with their families. Students will learn how to annotate for a variety of purposes when reading. Close Reading is a lifelong learning strategy. If students are able to have their own copy of the novel, they can use it as a reference for the rest of their lives.

  • Rebecca Stewart, Oak Grove Primary School, project: “Number Fun with Rekenreks”

This grant will furnish 6-year-old mathematicians with manipulatives to keep them engaged. With this grant, a classroom set of individual Rekenreks as well as a 100-count Rekenrek for demonstration purposes will be purchased. Rekenreks are specially designed number racks that help children decompose and compose numbers. Using Rekenreks will help ensure that the students have the necessary foundation for their entire math career.