Nov. 17--A Mitchell teacher who made it to the final round of a grant award program was not named one of the top three winners.
Earlier this year, Mitchell High School art teacher/department chairwoman Marica Shannon received a $2,000 grant as part of Voya Financial Inc.'s Unsung Heroes program.
The field of 1,000 candidates for the award was narrowed to 100 nationwide, according to Voya Financial. Shannon was one of two South Dakota winners. She competed with other finalists for one of the top three prizes. Jane Layman and Richard Love, of Southmoreland Middle School in Scottdale, Penn., were the first-place winners. They received an additional $25,000 in grant funds for the classroom. Victoria Chatfield, Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y., won second place, which came with another $10,000; and Timothy Overocker and Eric Schroeter, of LakeView Technology Academy in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., won third place, and another $5,000.
Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya Financial awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and their ability to positively influence the children they teach.
Shannon's teaching idea, "Potters' Plus," is focused on using technology and community outreach to create a blended learning environment where students will learn pottery skills, vocabulary and art history through a combination of channels and with an element of control over their own time and pace. With the grant funds, Shannon said she purchased three iPads and stands for them to use in the classroom.
The funds have also been used for projects like supplies to host Big Friends Little Friends at the high school for a glazing workshop, and to help pay for glaze and clay for the Empty Bowls Event, which was held in conjunction with Dakota Wesleyan University's Hunger Summit. At the Empty Bowls luncheon, participants could donate $10 to receive a bowl of soup, bread and a handmade pottery bowl.
Shannon said more than 150 students from the high school have been involved in the projects.
"We've gotten to do a lot more than we could ever imagine with the grant monies we did receive," Shannon said.
And it's not over. Empty Bowls is typically a popular event, according to Shannon, and she said this year's has raised about $1,600 so far. She said that is fewer than $100 away from setting a record. Proceeds will go to the Mitchell Food Pantry.
"We've got a couple people that really, really look forward to the event every year," she said.
She said there are still bowls available, some made and donated by professional artists in the community. They are $5 apiece, and by this weekend will be available at the South Dakota Gallery downtown. Shannon said people can also contact her at the high school, at 995-3034, to buy a bowl.
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