MOULTRIE, Ga. – After identifying an opportunity to partner with local educators, Colquitt Regional Medical Center established the Teacher Partnership Grant in 2018.
This is part of an initiative set forth by the hospital to bring enhanced learning opportunities to students in science and math. The grant is awarded to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers in Colquitt County.
Local STEM teachers can apply for these funds to aid in a professional development endeavor or a student learning project. The awards are given each year at the Colquitt Regional Medical Foundation Annual Scholarship Luncheon.
“Students need a strong foundation in math and science if they want to pursue a career in healthcare,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “We created this grant to provide teachers with the resources they need to cultivate interest and foster advancement and growth in these specific areas.”
During its inaugural year, grants were awarded to two recipients, Lee Causey of C.A. Gray Junior High School and Vance Hurst of Colquitt County High School.
Seeing the need for exposure to these fields at an earlier age, the hospital expanded eligibility to include elementary and middle school STEM teachers in 2020.
Last year, the grant was awarded to six recipients – Tracy Willis, CCHS, Lee Causey, C.A. Gray, Ashley Pitts, Doerun Elementary School, Michelle Croft, Stringfellow Elementary School, Zana Spells, Sunset Elementary School, and Holly Ray, Colquitt Christian Academy.
Projects from this group included purchasing a 3D printer, dissection equipment, microscopic discover kits, camera equipment, an ID printer, and items to turn an outdoor area into a learning space.
At this year’s scholarship luncheon, more than $15,000 was awarded to a total of 11 recipients.
Representing CCHS, Melissa Culpepper received $2,500 to purchase two lifelike mannequin arms that will be used to train students on how to take blood pressure.
Savannah Plymel, a math teacher at C.A. Gray Junior High School, was awarded $2,500 to help buy drawing tablets that connect to her students’ Chromebooks.
Willie J. Williams Middle School’s Stacey Davenport also received the $2,500 grant, which will allow her to buy a microbiology bacteria growing kit.
Christine Ray, Colquitt Christian Academy science teacher, was awarded $1,000 to help with acquiring a mobile demonstration cart that will travel between classrooms for experiments.
Needing supplies for her students to build an immune system model and to make hand sanitizer, Becky Null, a teacher at Sunset Elementary School, applied and received a grant of $1,000.
At Doerun Elementary School, Ashley Pitts will use her $1,000 award to create an outdoor learning space that will include a garden to teach her students about water collection, soil testing, and composting.
Justin McDowell, who teaches agriculture and STEM at Hamilton Elementary School, received $1,000 to purchase 3D pens for students in his agriculture lab.
The $1,000 grant that was awarded to Norman Park Elementary School teacher Jennifer Merritt will be used to obtain materials for the school’s STEAM day.
Christa Bledsoe will use her $1,000 to help purchase tower gardening kits for her students at R.B. Wright Elementary School and will allow her to educate students on different vegetables and plants.
Similarly, Justin Liles, a teacher at Odom Elementary School, has dedicated his $1,000 grant to acquire a 3D printer to design and work with FarmBot, a robotic farming machine and gardening system.
At GEAR, Hannah Boyd will utilize her $1,000 to purchase virtual reality equipment to increase student motivation and real-world application.
“We have seen firsthand how vital STEM education is to the healthcare industry,” said Hospital Authority Chairman Maureen A. Yearta, Ed.D. “We commend these teachers and are grateful for the investment they are making in their students.”