Evansville Rotary awards enrichment grants to seven Catholic school teachers

By Megan Erbacher

The Message assistant editor

Seven Diocese of Evansville Catholic school teachers were recently awarded Rotary Club of Evansville Classroom Enrichment grants.

Teachers at the following schools received grants: Holy Rosary Catholic School, Resurrection School, two teachers at Annunciation at Holy Spirit, two teachers at St. John the Baptist Catholic School and Reitz Memorial High School.

Christy Walker, education chair for the Rotary Club of Evansville, said the Classroom Enrichment Grant program was founded in 1987. It became a joint effort with the Public Education Foundation in 1994, according to Walker, and by 2004 the Enrichment Grant fund grew from $5,000 to $21,000. 

In 2004, the Love Foundation joined the efforts, Walker said, and annual awards have ranged from about $36,000 a year for five years, to $27,000 each year since.

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Evansville, Walker thanked the Public Education Foundation and the Love Foundation for their many years of partnership with the grant program. 

“Since 1987, together, we have given over $700,000 in education grants,” Walker said. “Our schools have benefitted from these Classroom Enrichment Grants, our teachers and students have benefitted; our community has benefitted. Working together, we will continue to be Evansville Education Strong!”

Catholic school grant recipients are:

  • Holy Rosary Catholic School Resource teacher Susan Pauli and her co-teacher, Kelsey Peter, received $1,500 to fund Bridges, a K-5 math intervention program to help students get on track with games, activities and interactive learning methods, creating a more positive learning experience for each unique learner.
  • Resurrection School teacher Amy Hassler received $743.49 for “StarBOOKS Café: Constructing Readers’ Comprehension.” Hassler plans to “brew up” student reading success and comprehension while building the necessary literacy skills of her students.
  • Annunciation at Holy Spirit teacher Robyn Page received $714 for “A Love for Literature.” Page plans to provide a new and more diverse selection of novels in her classroom library for literature time.
  • Annunciation at Holy Spirit teacher Jamie Broeker received $741.35 for “Achieving Success for Readers with Decodable Text.” Broeker plans to provide students access to a decodable book library, which is beneficial for beginning and struggling readers so they can transfer newly acquired phonics knowledge to meaningful and engaging texts.
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Newburgh teacher Jenny Copeland received $432.50 for “We Smile the Same Language: Celebrating Diversity.” Copeland will offer multicultural literature and dolls for children to play with in the classroom, which will allow students to gain a strong understanding of different cultures and races.
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Newburgh teacher Mary Rogers received $1,500 for “Blasting into Book Clubs!” Rogers said students will get to select a novel at their reading level and read it with their club and choose activities to complete while reading.
  • Reitz Memorial High School teacher Mary Buedel received $486.55 for “Ready for Anything!” Buedel teaches band for four of Reitz Memorial’s partner schools. Buedel plans to purchase an outdoor speaker and projector so she can maximize instruction even when rehearsal is outdoors.