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All across the United States schools are short on teachers and staff, with Colorado being no different. With lower funding, many Denver metro teachers have been paying for classroom items with their own money and have been devoting time outside of their regular hours to students. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric saw the need to appreciate teachers and wanted to give back through its Caring Community Giveaway.
Nominations received from the community included large and small school districts for teachers from elementary, middle and high schools. From math to music to science and special projects, the Caring Community Giveaway dollars will have an impact in the public and charter schools at all levels.
The 10 teachers to receive this bonus include the following:
Aly Barker/Birnbaum, a teacher at Grant Ranch K-8 School in Littleton, "takes time out of her personal life to support her students with outside school activities," said a parent.
"This award means the world to me because it validates the hard work that I put in here at school," said Blu Bennett from Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton. He plans to use the money for classroom supplies and project materials for the kids.
Teaching in the special education program at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Kathryn Canham shared that she plans to use the money to extend the school's Unified Horticulture program. "My wish is to grow herbs, fruits and other vegetables in a greenhouse and have our Business and Fine Arts departments put on a plant sale or use what we grow in the culinary arts," she said.
"I have worked this year to develop my school's first STEM program. It is incredibly hard to keep up with the cost of materials that students use when creating, so this award means a lot to me," said Kendra DeHay from The Academy Charter School in Castle Rock.
Lucas Denman, who teaches math at Littleton Academy said, "being recognized for my service as a teacher is a great honor and it feels great to know that the hard work I put into teaching is appreciated by the community." Denman plans to use the money to fund fun activities, pay for math programs and purchase more classroom supplies.
An especially notable nomination was Dominic Gosdzinski, as a student in his fifth-grade class at The Studio School in Northglenn sent in the nomination. "Because it is his first year teaching fifth grade, he does not have a lot of supplies and has been buying them with his own money. He works really hard to make our classroom a calm, comfortable and fun place to learn. (He loves the color blue!)," the student said.
A band director at Euclid Middle School in Littelton, Andrew Holcombe said he would use the money to "purchase some mouthpieces, ligatures, a piece of sheet music and a classroom set of egg shakers to use as learning tools to continue to provide kids with the best learning environment I can."
Two teachers from MESA in Thorton are receiving the award with the first being Elyse Houck who a parent noted, "is amazing at bringing science to life. She does many hands-on experiments and projects that engage the students." Kristy Keithline "shares lunch with students so that she can provide extra help if they need it, or just a safe place to talk."
Last, but not least, Jennifer Morris, a teacher at STEM Lab in Northglenn, "loves each and every one of her first graders."
Applewood's Caring Community Giveaway has donated to the community for more than 15 years and this quarter's $5,000 Giveaway is making a difference for the teachers and students in the Denver-metro area. To learn more about Applewood and its community outreach, visit www.ApplewoodFixIt.com.