The Plus Endowment program awarded a total of more than $76,000 to local educators and their projects Monday at its 20th anniversary annual dessert reception at First United Methodist Church.
The program has awarded more than $492,000 in grants to local schools across its two-decade tenure.
This year, Plus Endowment awarded 137 total grants, which included five William Atchison Plus Endowment grants, one Mega grant, and two special grants awarded to others who applied for the Mega grant. $3,000 more was awarded this year than in 2018.
This year’s Mega grant was awarded for “An ‘Ag’ Stravaganza.” This awarded $5,000 to David Kibbler, Flynn Watson and James Bates of Henry School.
Kibbler said after Henry added its agriculture department, an extra class had to be added because of the level of student interest.
Henry has 28 students enrolled in two agriculture classes.
Plus Endowment received three applications for the Mega grant, and with the available funds this year, it was able to give surprise awards to the other two applicants.
“Happy Camper Book Club,” a grant application written by Norma Gerrell, and “Bridging the Gap,” for Leah Howe, were each awarded $1,500.
Both grants are dedicated to summer reading programs for children, intended to help improve early reading skills as well as maintaining literacy over the long school break.
Grants in Atchison’s name were also given out. Atchison, who founded the Plus Endowment program, was present at the event and gave a speech about the history and growth of the program.
The Paris Special School District received one of those grants, for “Full Steam Ahead,” a grant for Todd Latta and Skylar Haley at Inman Middle School. The grant of $2,000 will help improve the new STEAM program.
The Henry County School System received three of the Atchison grants.
The first, for $1,739, was awarded for “I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go!,” for Kevin Price at Henry County High School. The award will assist his personal finance classroom.
Another was awarded for “Turning Ideas into 3D,” for John Anderson at HCHS. The grant is for $1,169 and will help to enable 3D printer education.
A third grant was awarded to the county schools for “Show Me the World — One Trip at a Time,” for $2,000. The grant awarded to Shay Armstrong will allow for Google Expedition use for immersive learning.
A final grant was awarded for blended use between the systems. An $1,150 grant was awarded for “Reality Day,” for county and city counselors. The award will enable a hands-on learning experience about what’s ahead for eighth-grade students in both systems.
Small grants totaled more than $50,000.
Preschool through second-grade levels received grants totaling $10,899 and grants for third- through fifth-grade levels totaled $10,696.
Ten grants awarded at the sixth- through eighth-grade levels totaled $5,184.
Awards to Grove School totaled $4,278 for the ninth-grade level; grants to HCHS projects totaled $7,612.
For a full list of Plus Endowment grants awarded on Monday, see page 4.