Education Foundation awards $116K in teacher grants

Continuing its tradition of supporting teachers, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County recently awarded $116,000 in GoTeach! Classroom grants.

On Oct. 8, the foundation’s president and CEO James Gavrilos presented 73 individual grants to Palm Beach County teachers and schools through its virtual ceremony.

Annually, the Education Foundation distributes individual grants up to $1,000 for an individual teacher as well as $1,500 for a team effort. Thanks to a grant from the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, the Education Foundation was able to provide up to $3,000 to each recipient of the new Go Reach! grants

“We understand how critically important our teachers are. Teachers have demonstrated their resilience, dedication and creativity to benefit their students,” Angelika Schlanger, director of the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation said, during the ceremony.

Focused on literacy, STEM, career readiness and increasing graduation rates, the Education Foundation serves as the nexus of Palm Beach County’s public school system, private sector and the community.

Through its Red Apple Supplies program, to date in 2020, students at 53 Palm Beach County elementary and high schools have received $656,505 worth of supplies.

Highlighted by Education Foundation and Palm Beach County board members surprising five teachers live with their grant award, the ceremony took place virtually with pre-production video assistance provided by Seminole Ridge Community High School’s student-driven TV Production Academy and KOMAR Productions. Gavrilos awarded the students and teachers a grant of $3,000 to use for future program development and study.

“Over the last seven months with the coronavirus pandemic, many things have changed but some things haven’t. Teachers are still teaching; students are still learning,” Gavrilos said during the ceremony. “Our incredible teachers of Palm Beach County schools are still showing their innovation and creativity for which they have become famous.”

The first Go Teach! classroom grant was awarded to Jennifer Gironda, of Lake Worth Community High School, for “Recycled Runway-Sustainable Fashion.” Students created one-of-a-kind garments from recycled materials as a visual reminder of the global issue of overflowing landfills. One-hundred student artists directly impacted and created garments resulting in 100% student engagement and excitement. Ninety percent of students demonstrated academic improvement.

Chuck Shaw, school board vice chairman, announced the 2019 Teacher of the Year: Syndie White of Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Wellington.

“I thank every teacher for welcoming the children to your classroom and your heart. We thank our community for their support, and the Education Foundation for bringing our community together to shape the future of our county,” school board chairman Frank Barbieri said.

To conclude the evening, Regions Banks — one of the foundation’s partners — added one more surprise by donating a new cruiser bicycle to one lucky teacher: Joshua Peters of Hidden Oaks Elementary School in Lake Worth.

Other grant winners were Jill Williams, of Royal Palm School in Lantana, and Greenacres Elementary School teacher Deborah Bengston.

“I truly had no idea,” Bengtson said in a statement. “Thank you, for everything you all do to support me and all the teachers and students in Palm Beach County. Without people like you, we couldn’t do what we do.”

Gavrilos said he is inspired by the work teachers do.

“You have risen to the challenge to overcome the pandemic and other hurdles you faced this year. You did it because you are inspired to raise up this young generation of pupils. We thank you, teachers. Let’s go out and change the world!”

Visit for a complete list of winners.


©2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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